Archive for December, 2012

Beach Boys Rock the Vilar Center!

On Saturday night Kim and I attended the Beach Boys concert in the Vilar Center in Beaver Creek.  It is amazing how, through all the iterations, these guys can still put on a fabulous show.  Only Mike Love from the original band was part of the group but if you closed your eyes, it was still the Beach Boys from the 1960’s.

Of course growing up in the 60’s in Los Angeles and being a would-be surfer, the Beach Boys were my heroes.  How do they still connect 50 years after their peak?  Is their music timeless?  The Vilar Center was packed and everyone was up and dancing throughout the show.  I saw folks from their teens to their 70’s in the audience.  Clearly the Beach Boys music spans several generations.  Kim and I were up with the crowd.  It was a fun night.

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Cordillera Property Owner’s Association to Acquire Community Assets

The assets of the Club at Cordillera were acquired today by Wind Rose Holdings, LLC, the successful bidder at the auction on 10 December 2012.  As contemplated by the global settlement agreement reached by the former Club owner and the community in September, the CPOA will acquire ownership of the Community Assets (Short Course, Summit Athletic Club, and Trailhead) as of Monday, 31 December 2012. Once closing of the assets occurs on Monday, the assets will be owned and operated by CPOA, and will be available for use by all CPOA property owners and residents. Specific use guidelines for the Short Course and Trailhead will be developed over the coming months, in advance of the summer operating season.

Wind Rose has indicated that the Summit Athletic Club will be open, consistent with the past operating schedule for the facility, until closing of CPOA’s acquisition of the assets.  Following CPOA’s acquisition on Monday, 31 December 2012, the Summit Athletic Club will be open to all CPOA members as of Tuesday, 1 January 2013. In general, anticipated seasonal operating hours for the Summit Athletic Club will be 10 hours per day/7 days per week from Labor Day through Memorial Day and 16 hours per day/7 days per week from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Extended operating hours may also be added during other peak times (such as Winter Holidays), as warranted by demand. There will be no additional user fees for CPOA members to access the Summit Athletic Club, as the costs of operation will be covered by CPOA’s base annual assessment.

We look forward to seeing you all at the Summit Athletic Club and thank you for your continued support of Cordillera.


CPOA Board of Directors

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2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 5,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 10 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Vail and Beaver Creek Again to Host Next Summer’s US Pro Challenge Cycling Race

2012-08-23 15.41.56It was announced yesterday that the 2013 US Pro Challenge will stop in both Vail and Beaver Creek.  Two years ago Vail hosted a time trial and last summer Beaver Creek hosted a stage finish in Beaver Creek Village.  I was in Beaver Creek for the finish of that stage and it was amazing how many people were in the Village.  The photo was from last summer’s race.  I’m sure this summer will be just as exciting.

Beaver Creek will host the finish of Stage 4 on Thursday, August 22. The racers start in Steamboat Spring.

The following day, Friday, August 23, Vail will host the time trial.  That race course was lined with spectators the last time the time trial was in Vail.

The cool thing is that the racers will be in Beaver Creek and Vail on Thursday and Friday, making for a great long weekend for visitors. I’m guessing there will be plenty of events scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.  Plan your trip now and come see the races!

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American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin earns 1st World Cup victory by winning slalom in Sweden

By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, December 20, 1:00 PM

ARE, Sweden — American teenager Mikaela Shiffrin won her first World Cup event on Thursday, putting down a perfect second run to win a night slalom ahead of home favorite Frida Hansdotter.

Under the floodlights on Are’s Olympia course, the 17-year-old Shiffrin finished with a combined time of 1 minute, 45.36 seconds.

Hansdotter led after the first run but lost time toward the end of her second and finished 0.29 seconds behind for second place.

Overall World Cup leader Tina Maze of Slovenia was third, 0.52 behind.

Lindsey Vonn skipped the race, having taken a break from the World Cup to fully recover from an intestinal illness.


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Vail Resorts Welcomes Two Family Members!

I received the following message from Vail Resorts through their Employee Newsletter.  Interesting new acquisitions.  I’m wondering how you make these into “feeder” resorts beyond including them in the Epic Pass?  We’ll see.

This time next year, could you be skiing on the same pass as your friends in the Midwest? Last week we welcomed two premier urban ski areas in the Midwest, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, to the Vail Resorts family. Both ski areas serve major snow sports markets in the Midwest with more than 468,000 active skiers and snowboarders in the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit metropolitan areas. Read the full story.

Afton Alps Facts:

  • Located on the St. Croix River south of Afton, MN.
  • Has a 350 feet vertical drop
  • Has 48 trails and 18 chairlifts
  • During the summer runs an 18 hole golf course and a mountain bike trail.

Mt Brighton Facts:

  • The ski area has a 18-hole golf course called The Jackal, added in 2001. 
  • Mt. Brighton made a national appearance in the 1993 feature-length film, “Aspen Extreme.” The movie was filmed on location at Mt. Brighton and also in Aspen, Colorado.
  • Although in the movie it’s indicated that Mt. Brighton was built on top of an existing land fill, it was actually created with excess road debris from the construction of Interstate 96 and US 23.

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A New Housing Boom – CNN/Money

The long-battered housing market is finally starting to get back on its feet. But some experts believe it could soon become another housing boom.

Signs of recovery have been evident in the recent pick ups in home prices, home sales and construction. Foreclosures are also down and the Federal Reserve has acted to push mortgage rates near record lows.

But while many economists believe this emerging housing recovery will produce only slow and modest improvement in home prices, construction and jobs, others believe the rebound will be much stronger.

Barclays Capital put out a report recently forecasting that home prices, which fell by more than a third after the housing bubble burst in 2007, could be back to peak levels as soon as 2015.

“In our view, the housing market had undergone a dramatic over-correction during the prior five years, resulting in pent-up demand for housing purchases that would spark a rapid rise in housing starts,” said Stephen Kim, an analyst with Barclays, in a note to clients.

In addition to what Kim sees as a big rebound in building, he’s bullish on home prices, expecting rises of 5% to 7.5% a year.

Construction is expected to be even stronger, with numerous experts forecasting home construction to grow by at least 20% a year for each of the next two years. Some believe building could be back near the pre-bubble average of about 1.5 million new homes a year by 2016, about double the 750,000 homes expected this year.

“We think the recovery is for real this time around,” said Rick Palacios, senior analyst with John Burns Real Estate Consulting. “If you look across the U.S. economy right now, there are only a handful of industries looking at 20-30% growth over the next 4-5 years, and housing is one of those.”

“That turn in the [housing] market is occurring now and it should become a boom by 2015. It will be powerful enough … to lift the entire U.S. economy,” said Roger Altman, chairman of Evercore Partners and former deputy Treasury secretary, in a column for the Financial Times.

Altman said he expects housing will add 4 million jobs to the economy over the next five years, as pent-up demand for home purchases drives building and and home prices higher.


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Vail Resorts to Acquire Two Ski Areas in Midwest, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan

*  Acquisitions Join Guests of Premier Urban Midwest Ski Areas with Vail
Resorts’ Seven World-Class Mountain Resorts
BROOMFIELD, Colo.—Dec. 6, 2012—Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) announced today that it
has entered into agreements to purchase two premier urban ski areas in the Midwest, Afton Alps
in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, for total cash consideration of $20 million. Both
ski areas serve major snow sports markets in the Midwest with more than 468,000 active skiers
and snowboarders in the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit metropolitan areas. Vail
Resorts plans to upgrade and enhance the experience at each resort and create opportunities to
connect guests from each of these ski areas to its seven world-class resorts in Colorado and Lake
Tahoe through season pass and other lift ticket products.
“We are thrilled to welcome Afton Alps and Mount Brighton to the Vail Resorts family. These
acquisitions are part of a new strategy for Vail Resorts to drive season pass sales and build
broader guest loyalty by looking at premier smaller ski areas located near major urban markets.
We plan to bring state-of-the-art racing, terrain parks, coaching and technology to the guest
experience. We also will connect these urban ski areas to our world-class resorts in Colorado,
California and Nevada with new season pass offerings, providing the chance to experience the
best skiing and riding locally and in the West,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive
officer of Vail Resorts.
“Afton Alps’ great terrain and strong heritage built by the Augustine family make it an ideal ski
area for our entry into the Minneapolis-St. Paul market. Similarly, Mount Brighton is a great
area for beginners and advanced skiers alike in the Detroit, Lansing and Ann Arbor markets
with a strong snow sports tradition built over decades by the Tippett and Bruhn families. We
plan to honor the important legacy of each ski area for their loyal guests while investing to
enhance the experience in the years to come.” Katz added.
Vail Resorts plans to enhance both the on-mountain and base area experience at each ski area.
These enhancements will include redesigned and updated terrain parks, best-in-class coaching
and instruction for all levels of skiers and riders, dedicated racing programs, expanded dining
and entertainment options at the base area, and integrated technology and social media
programs like EpicMix, EpicMix Photo and EpicMix Racing. The Company also will invest in
each ski area’s infrastructure to improve snowmaking, parking and access to provide a more
consistent experience throughout the season. Finally, the Company will be reviewing
opportunities to add new summer activities. The Company will be outlining its plans in the
coming months and meeting with the local communities to seek their input.
Nearing its 50th anniversary, Afton Alps is the largest ski area near a major city in the Midwest
with 48 trails on nearly 300 acres, 18 lifts, four base areas, night skiing and riding, tubing and

an 18-hole golf course. Afton Alps is located 33 miles from more than two million people and
more than 161,000 skiers and snowboarders in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
Open since 1960, Mount Brighton features 26 trails on 130 acres, six lifts, night skiing and
riding and an 18-hole golf course. The ski area is located 43 miles from Detroit and is within
reach of more than four million people and more than 307,000 skiers and snowboarders in the
Detroit, Lansing and Ann Arbor metropolitan areas.
Vail Resorts is planning season pass products for both Afton Alps and Mount Brighton in time
for the 2013-2014 season pass sales period, beginning in March 2013. In the meantime, to
welcome both ski areas into the Vail Resorts family, Afton Alps and Mount Brighton season pass
holders will immediately receive a 25-percent discount off of the window rate on lift tickets at
Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood this season.

For more information, visit and
The Company expects to complete the purchase of both urban ski areas within the next month;
closing is subject to certain conditions.


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KSL Partners Buys 24% of Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler (BC), Canada – Denver-based KSL Partners, the private equity firm that has been quietly snatching up ski resorts across the U.S. and leasing them back to their operators, has entered into an agreement to buy a substantial interest in Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. from Intrawest ULC.

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings owns and operates North America’s largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada. The sale agreement accounts for Intrawest’s 9,092,500 common shares of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, approximately 24% of the corporation’s issued and outstanding common shares, for $12.75 per common share in a transaction totaling nearly $116 million.

The Intrawest disposition is being made in conjunction with an Intrawest refinancing. The transaction is expected to be completed tomorrow.

As a result of the sale by Intrawest, Bill Jensen has tendered his resignation as a director and Chief Executive Officer of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings, and Wes Edens and Jonathan Ashley have each tendered their resignation as a director of the corporation, effective as of the time of closing. Also effective as of the time of closing, Whistler Blackcomb Holdings’ board of directors has appointed Dave Brownlie, the corporation’s current President and Chief Operating Officer, as the corporation’s President and Chief Executive Officer and a director, and appointed Eric Resnick and Peter McDermott, both of KSL, as directors to fill the vacancies created by these resignations.

Resnick is co-founder and Managing Director of KSL and has deep, long-standing ties to the ski industry. McDermott is a partner at KSL.

Concurrently with these appointments, Whistler Blackcomb Holdings’ board of directors has appointed Flora Ferraro, the corporation’s current Vice President of Finance, as Interim Chief Financial Officer. The corporation intends to announce the appointment of a permanent chief financial officer shortly.

“KSL is delighted to be acquiring a 24% interest in a world-class ski area. Whistler Blackcomb is the largest and most visited ski resort in North America and we feel that it complements our portfolio of premier travel and leisure properties,” said Resnick. “Peter and I are looking forward to working with the board to grow the business. Whistler Blackcomb has a very experienced and successful management team and we are enthusiastic to work with them as they continue to deliver a fantastic mountain experience for Whistler Blackcomb’s guests.”

“On behalf of the board of directors, I am very pleased to welcome Eric Resnick and Peter McDermott to the board. We would also like to express our appreciation to Wes Edens and Jonathan Ashley for their contributions to Whistler Blackcomb during their tenure on the board, and especially to Bill Jensen, for his valued service as Chief Executive Officer and as a director,” commented Graham Savage, Chairman of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings’ board of directors. “We are also pleased to appoint Dave Brownlie as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the board of directors. With over 24 years in ski resort management, Dave brings insight and experience to the position and I am looking forward to continuing to work with him to grow the business.”

In a statement to shareholders, KSL indicated that the firm expects to hold the purchased shares for investment purposes. However, they added that KSL and its affiliates expect to evaluate on an ongoing basis the financial condition and prospects of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings and its interest in the corporation, and may from time to time acquire additional common shares of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings or may dispose of all or a part of their shares.

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