Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Province Article - thanks for the link Skippy.

Many smaller ski resorts in B.C. face huge business challenges

By Sam Cooper, The Province April 16, 2014 11:33 AM



Many smaller ski resorts in B.C. face huge business challenges

Skiers glide down a run at Apex ski resort near Penticton. Although the resort is up for sale, a representative and part-owner says visits were actually up more than five per cent last year.

Photograph by: Submitted , PNG files

Amid challenging trends, smaller ski resorts in B.C. are looking like an endangered species.
But the industry will consolidate and grow with the provincial government’s new relaxed environmental assessment procedures, industry players say.
It was a spotty ski season, especially up to February, with revenues falling for many of B.C.’s resorts.
Mount Washington Alpine Resort’s owners were already quietly looking to sell last year, before a delayed season opening in January.
In Oliver, Mount Baldy’s Idaho owners tried to raise cash to open this season but failed.
Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton has been put up for sale as well, management confirmed Tuesday.
However Ted Garnett, president and one of the owners at Apex, said in an interview Wednesday that unlike some other resorts in B.C., Apex actually had a strong year, and the owners are not selling because of any business concerns.
“Our owners are getting older and we just feel it’s time,” Garnett, 73, said. “Our (ski visits) are up 5.3 per cent (over last year) ... we are financially secure.”
The challenges in B.C. are common in North America, ski industry analyst Ken Shapiro says, citing stagnation in the number of people skiing and snowboarding.
Shapiro said there has been on average 55 million ski days per year in the U.S. for the past decade with little change.
“It’s a very tough industry dominated by the big players,” Shapiro said. “So the big players get bigger, and the small get smaller. Small ones continue to die.”
Canada West Ski Areas Association CEO David Lynn acknowledges it was a tough year.
In the long term, climate change will probably eliminate some of the smaller, lower elevation B.C. resorts, he said in an interview. And as baby boomers in B.C. age, some resorts could struggle to attract new visitors. But, Lynn said, reports of the demise of skiing in B.C. are greatly exaggerated.
“You can look at those three cases (Mount Washington, Mount Baldy and Apex) and say they indicate the ski industry is in trouble, and my response is ‘no’ — each one has its own circumstances and reasons,” Lynn said. “For the smaller resorts, it is more challenging, because for the bigger ones you have huge economies of scale in business.”
Lynn says that a number of factors favour growth of skiing in B.C., including the Canadian dollar’s recent fall and industry-friendly policies from the provincial government.
He points to changes taking effect in January 2015, for which his association advocated. New development proposals and expansion plans for existing resorts will skip the old, convoluted “environmental assessment” process and instead work with industry-friendly bureaucrats in the Mountain Resources Branch, Lynn says.
“The previous (environmental assessment) program was hindering investment and resort development ... The government recognizes the challenge we face,” Lynn said.
B.C.’s ski industry generates about $600 million in annual revenues and has 10,000 full-time equivalent employees. So the relevant ministers were very attentive to the industry’s concerns in meetings last year, Lynn said.
“They are trying to drive growth in the industry and jobs,” he said.
Wolf Richter, proponent for a new Squamish resort proposal that has been tied up in environmental assessments, said he’s not sure how new rules will affect his plans.
“I think (streamlined environmental assessment) is a trend going in the right direction, because the old rules were literally starting to fester,” Richter said. “There are lots of eyes on you when you are trying to build a resort, so you can pretty much regulate yourself. You will get market share by doing it right.”
“You can talk about aging baby boomers, but it is hardly that the ski industry is dying in any way,” Richter added. “I think the challenges are temporary. We are definitely a major global market, and I think the industry on (B.C.’s) coast will do very well.”
Not everyone is applauding the government’s new resort approval process.
“The province is exchanging ecological integrity for expedient development,” said David Reid of the West Kootenay EcoSociety. Reid’s group is against Jumbo Glacier, a $900-million all-season resort proposed near Invermere in the Purcell Mountains.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ella's Adventures with Mike and Manny

To see a better quality, HD video, click on the link in the body of the post.
I miss having Ella in the cabin next door. She went to Apex to further her ski racing career.
Here is a little update from Mom.
We had a busy season with lots of travel.  The U16 Provincials were held in Prince George at Purden Mountain.  Purden is a small ski area that reminded me so much of Baldy right down to the old double chair!  We were there for 9 days as a test event for the Canada Winter Games that will be held there in 2015.  The other big event was the Fidelity Can Am Race that we hosted at Apex.  Hosting a race at your home mountain means no travel but tons of work for parents!  We are still recovering.

Ella's ski season was filled with many ups and downs.  It was a challenging one for her.  However, sometimes it is the challenges and not the successes that really define an athlete and a person.

I wanted to pass along this amazing video.  Please follow the link to vimeo  Ella was chosen to attend the 2014 Mike and Manny Camp. Olympic and World Cup Racers, Mike Janyk and Manny Osbourne-Paradis host this camp for 10 kids from BC and 5 from the rest of Canada.  They cover all expenses of travel, training, food, and accommodation for 5 days in Whistler.  The kids are coached by Mike and Manny as well as Conrad and Morgan Pritty, BC Team Coaches, and BC Team Athletes.  Talk about inspiration!  This experience is once-in-lifetime opportunity that Ella will remember for the rest of her life thanks to Mike and Manny.

Ski racing is a tough sport!  Despite the successes and the disappointments of the season, we are so thankful to the sport and the amazing opportunities that it has brought to our family!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Operator in training...........

Generally when I post that Argo has a grader on McKinney road, it is a good thing. If you were on the road today, I wouldn't have to tell you that it is a new operator................

Web Security

Announcement today re shutdown of CRA website - interesting article - changes have to be made by affected sites - after that, we are advised to change passwords.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Dummy Downhill

Groomer John is entering "Snoopy" in the Apex Dummy Downhill on Sunday - Snoopy is looking for challengers.

meet u sliders at the heavens for last call.
J Fleming

Missing something?

This board has been sitting there for a couple of days.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Screening Comments

I do screen your comments before posting to the blog. When I first started the blog, it wasn't necessary. The blogger spam filter catches most of the garbage - I cleaned out 147 spam comments today covering all subjects under the sun including drugs for all manner of ailments, and advice according to Dr. Oz. Many are written in poor English, and some are written in foreign languages. The odd one slips through, but I am able to catch it by screening comments.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Triple Closed at Apex for the rest of the Season - From Castanet News

Chairlift fire at Apex

Photo: Contributed to Castanet - Orian Hartviksen
Twelve people were evacuated from a chairlift at Apex Mountain Resort on Monday, as a result of a fire.
General Manager James Shalman said the ski area experienced an engine fire at the top of the Triple Chair at 12:15 p.m.
They did a lift evacuation with a chair and a harness, and everyone was OK following the incident, he said.
"There were no injuries or issues and everyone skied the rest of the day," he said.
The Triple Chair will now be closed for the rest of the season, which is only for six more days.
Shalman said during the time he has been at Apex, there has never been an incident on that chair before.
People will not be inconvenienced on the remaining days because Apex's high speed detachable quad accesses more than 80 percent of the terrain at the ski area, he added.
Apex will also offer 25 per cent off lift tickets until closing day, April 6.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Friday, March 28, 2014

"It Sucks!"

A quote from a cabin owner I talked to today - about this winter without a ski season. The community got together with events, people hiked and found other things to do, but the bottom line is - we love to ski Baldy, and we are not happy to have missed a season.

We bought property/cabins on a ski hill. The impact is not just on the cabin owners, it is wide reaching - the staff, family, friends, the community at large.

It was August when the first concerns came up about the early season pass sales not happening.
Here we are at the end of March, and we don't really have any information on our future on the mountain.

I've tried to keep the blog up and generally positive this winter, but I have to agree - it sucks.

I will keep posting in the off season, as I have done before - mostly for the regular readers and cabin owners who follow the snow melt and summer conditions I post.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break in the "Good Old Days"

Going back 20 plus years, spring break was the same week province wide. The mountain was able to stay open for the whole week, and the village was busy with cabin owner families and the extra families from Roberts Creek.

The Dummy Downhill was on the weekend at the end of the spring break - with families working on their dummies during the week and testing them in the dark.

Those were busy times, and lots of fun. One year Melanie Mitchell set up a T-shirt making class in the lodge - complete with a silk screen and lots of creative ideas from the kids.

There have been some families here off and on this spring break - I know there are at least 4 kids on my street having fun tonight - "Knocky, Knocky, Nine Doors". If they come to your place, the remote key fob works wonders for startling them and  sending them shrieking and giggling down the road.