Friday, December 19, 2014

Utah Ski Resort Development, Changes Back in Holiday News

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THE NEWS  After a month of relative quiet, revelations of more development and expansion at Utah ski resorts are again in the news, as key executives voice their thoughts.

Bob Wheaton, the president and general manager of Deer Valley, in a briefing for Park City leaders reported by the Park Record, presented his thoughts on ambitious expansions, including the idea of a gondola that would link Deer Valley and Old Town in Park City.  He also discussed a planned development in Wasatch County overlooking the Jordanelle Reservoir, and development of the parking lots outside Snow Park Lodge.

John Loomis, the general manager of Snowbasin, in a wide-ranging interview with KSL.com, mentioned the resort's plans for "a village with boutique hotel, retail stores, residential dwellings and a new portal to the resort."  This is not new news.  Snowbasin published a master plan, which includes a mountain village, a couple of years ago, and recently received the final approvals from Weber and Morgan counties necessary to start the development.  But until the article on KSL.com, no one in authority at Snowbasin had mentioned the development for some time; and there has been a great deal of conjecture about why the resort has not moved forward with the village - particularly in light of the major acquisitions, consolidation, and development plans announced over the past six months by just about every other major Utah resort.

These developments and their effect on the resort real estate market will be reported on in more detail in coming posts of this blog.  But for now, we're going to leave the keyboard early so we can finish Holiday shopping and wish every one of you a...

                                     Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

No Big News for a Month in the Utah Ski Industry is Big News

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THE NEWS The big news is that there is no big news related to new acquisitions, partnerships and development among resorts in the Utah Ski industry since the last posting of this blog a month ago.

In the previous six months there seemed to be an unending stream of major developments involving Vail Resorts purchasing Park City, Deer Valley purchasing Solitude, Powder Mountain starting their resort development, and Nordic Valley (formerly Wolf Mountain) announcing significant development plans.  For this past month - all has been relatively quiet

The most notable news and issue of continued interest, other than the fact that as this is being written it is snowing in Utah, cold, and most of the resorts will be open on or before Thanksgiving - is the brightening prospect of One Wasatch (www.onewasatch.com) becoming a reality.  One Wasatch would be an interconnect of lifts that would connect up to seven resorts in the Park City and Cottonwood canyons areas, and create by far the largest interconnected, lift-served.terrain in North America.  Vail Resorts has already announced plans to move forward with a lift that will connect the Canyons and Park City resorts.  This would be the first link and optimists are now mentioning five years as a possible target date for completion.

The Utah ski industry's landscape has changed dramatically over the past few months, but the completion of One Wasatch would have an additional, huge impact.  Skiers and riders from around the world would be motivated to experience first-hand the Wasatch's incredible snow quality and depths, the wide variety of resort personalities and offerings, and the ease of access to it all.

Once folks come and sample the wonderful lifestyle available, a significant number will inevitably purchase property, either as a vacation home or to live the dream.  The next five to ten years should be an exciting time in the Utah ski resort and mountain real estate market.

Real estate markets at the major Utah resorts have slowed their dramatic comeback somewhat, and there are still bargains to be found, particularly in the Ogden Valley, home to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley.  Both Powder and Nordic are underway with major developments, and speculation is that Snowbasin may be close to starting their long-awaited resort village.   With all the new alliances and development among their competitors, it would seem logical they would want to take advantage of the heightened interest in Utah resorts.  In any case, the good deals are sure to vanish before uch longer.  In the Park City/Deer Valley and Canyons area - it's anybody's guess when and how much the recent major developments will affect the real estate market.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Deer Valley to Purchase Solitude as Utah Ski Resort Acquisitions, Consolidation Continue at a Stunning Pace

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THE NEWS

Major Utah ski resort consolidation and acquisitions are continuing at a stunning pace as Deer Valley announced on October 3 an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort.

According to a press release from Deer Valley, Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort, was quoted as stating, "Solitude is an incredible resort and provided a huge opportunity for us to expand our offerings right here in Utah."

Dave DeSeelhorst, owner and general manager of Solitude Mountain Resort, was also quoted.  "The DeSeelhorst family has enjoyed being a part of Solitude's history for almost 40 years.  We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish at the resort and in our mountain community.  We feel fortunate for the opportunity to have worked with so many amazing people in our industry and most importantly being able to work with our incredible staff at Solitude over the years.  It is exciting to pass on this unique and beautiful resort to one of the best resort operators in the country, Deer Valley."

Deer Valley will begin operating Solitude on May1, 2015.  For the upcoming season, according to the press release, the DeSeelhorst  family will continue to operate the resort.  Select Deer Valley staff will work alongside the Solitude staff during the next six months to evaluate resort operations and gain knowledge about the Solitude brand and culture.

The press release addressed other key issues and questions that many are sure to have related to Deer Valley's acquisition of Solitude Mountain Resort.  Excerpts from the press release are as follows.

How will the purchase change the experience at Solitude?

It will be business as usual, run by the DeSeelhorst family, for the upcoming 2014-15 season.  Deer Valley recognizes Solitude's unique position in both the local and destination markets and acknowledges that we have much to learn about the current operation and brand position.  Consequently, we will have select Deer Valley staff work hand in hand with Solitude staff this winter to share knowledge.

Will it become a mini-Deer Valley?

Although Deer Valley will bring some of our service oriented and operational philosophies to the resort we do not plan to rebrand Solitude as another Deer Valley.

Will snowboarding still be available at Solitude?  How about the Brighton Connection:

Deer Valley plans to continue allowing snowboarding at Solitude and keep the Brighton Connection in place.

Will there be a reciprocal arrangement for skiing benefits between Solitude and Deer Valley?

Season pass holders at both resorts will receive four ski days at each respective resort.  Deer Valley midweek pass holders will be given two passes valid Monday through Friday at Solitude for the upcoming season.  Holiday restrictions will apply December 24, 2014 - January 2, 2015; January 17 - 19, 2015, and February 14 - 18, 20215.

Will lift ticket, locals and season passes increase dramatically due to the purchase of Solitude by Deer Valley?

There will be no changes to the lift and season pass rates announced by Solitude for the 2014-15 season.  Moving forward, Deer Valley Resort will analyze past resort performance, operational expenses and projected revenue potential prior to setting rates.

Will Deer Valley bring more capital and marketing investments to Solitude?

Deer Valley will take the next six months to analyze operational and marketing/brand opportunities prior to announcing any capital investments.  In addition, Deer Valley will begin promoting the great experience and resort jewel Solitude currently is in the spring of 2015.

Will Solitude be added to the Wasatch Benefit program?

Deer Valley anticipates the Wasatch Benefit program will remain as announced in September with shared lift privileges for select season pass holders between Alta, Deer Valley and Snowbird.

It's hard to imagine that Deer Valley's purchase of Solitude will not have some upward pressure on the real estate market in and around Big Cottonwood Canyon...as should Vail's recent purchase of Park City Mountain Resort (reported in earlier posts of this blog) have on the Park City/Deer Valley/Canyon's markets.  Once more, stay tuned!!  Significant changes and trends in Utah's resort real estate market will be announced here as they happen

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Vail Buys Park City - Big Changes for Utah Ski Industry and Property Sales?

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THE NEWS

A headline posted on ParkRecord.com exclaims "Vail Resorts puts Park City Mountain Resort in its Epic lineup."  The article, which appeared on September 12, goes on the explain the basics of the deal and mention some of the anticipated changes that could occur.  And of course there are other possible changes caused by the sale that were not mentioned that could have wide-ranging effects on the Utah Ski Industry, property transactions, and demographics.     

The ParkRecord article states "The Cumming family, which played a major role in establishing Park City's reputation as a world-class destination resort and Olympic venue, has sold its flagship ski area, Park City Mountain Resort, to Vail Resorts, for $182.5 million."  Nan Chalat Noaker, the author of the article, reports that the "agreement includes the base facilities, parking lots, ski terrain and lifts, water rights and snowmaking equipment owned by Greater Park City Company and an independently owned strip of land on the terrain just above the base held by Ian Cumming.  It does not include Powdr's Gorgoza Tubing Park located on Interstate 80 near Kimball Junction."

The sale, anticipated for some time, ends a bitter lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) and Talisker Land Holdings LLC, resulting from PCMR missing a lease renewal date and Talisker subsequently refusing to renew its' lease to operate the resort.  Talisker is aligned with Vail Resorts, and many local residents and ski industry insiders have thought the sale inevitable once Vail Resorts took over the management of The Canyons and PCMR could not renew their lease.

In the article, Vail CEO Rob Katz states that the near future will include a chairlift that will connect the Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort, and he hopes it will be operational for the 2015/2016 season.  When completed this would create the largest ski resort in the United States.

 An immediate benefit to season ticket holders at PCMR and Canyons will be that their season passes will not only be honored, but can be upgraded to the Vail Epic season pass and its' 20 additional resorts.  Holders of the Epic pass in participating areas will also be able to use the passes at PCMR and Canyons.

As for possible and rumored developments related to the sale, there are more than a few.  Will Vail add significant development around the resort and fulfill some locals' fears of more congestion and crowds?  Will this cause a number of residents to move to quieter, less crowded areas (The Ogden Valley and Snowbasin/Powder Mountain?) when the added congestion arrives?  Or will they leave just on the probabilities?  In any case the real estate market in a number of markets might well be affected. Will the Epic Pass cause Salt Lake City and other Wasatch front residents to switch their allegiance to the Park City ski area...or away from it?  Will the availability of the Epic Pass affect the season pass strategy and prices at other Utah ski resorts?  There are hard feelings among some current Park City residents that are not likely to soften quickly.

According to Noaker, Vail's Mountain Division President Blaise Carrig "is serving as interim chief operating officer until a new resort president is named."




"

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Utah Ski News Keeps Coming From Ogden Valley and Park City

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THE NEWS

Expansion and development at the ski resorts in the Ogden Valley and the controversy surrounding Park City Ski Resort continues to unfold and create headlines for Utah's ski industry. 

Ogden Valley

Nordic Valley, formerly Wolf Mountain (after it was Nordic Valley for years) has announced that Denzel  Rowland, formerly the general manager at Snowbasin, has accepted the position of general manager at Nordic Valley.

In an article written by Cathy McKirtrick that appeared recently in the Ogden, Utah, Standard Examiner, Josh Richards, identified as "the mountain's new owner," states that "the runt of Ogden Valley's ski pack is about to become a real head-turner."  McKirtrick quotes Richards as saying, "they'll be cutting new ski trails on Nordic Valley's higher southern slopes that skiers will be able to access this upcoming ski season via snowcat.  For a small additional charge they can take a vehicle and ski some of the best terrain in all Utah.  It will change their opinion about this place forever."

There were other interesting observations conveyed by Richards in the article.  "By opening terrain where winter sets in earlier and lingers longer, Nordic Valley can turn its current lower-altitude weakness  into a strength.  At the end of March, half the family can mountain bike on one side while the other skies on the other."

"We went to France and looked at villages that have been around for 500+ years.  We're trying to combine what has worked for centuries with the style of our valley."

McKirtrick also quotes Roger Steed, Nordic Valley's chief marketing officer.  "Our long-term vision is to use the mountain for a lot more things." He related to McKirtrick that Eden Park Real Estate will start construction next spring on a 54-unit condominium project at Nordic Valley, and that half-a-dozen of these one-to-three bedroom ski-in-ski-out units have already been spoken for. McKirtrick reports that Steed went on to say that the Pine Canyon building will represent the first of what he described as a "very nice, boutique resort."

Richards and Steed intend to have zip lines and a single-rail mountain coaster at the resort by 2017, according to McKirtrick, and she quotes Richards on the single-rail system.  "We would be the first in the U.S."

Nordic Valley will host the Ogden Valley Balloon Festival August 15-17.

On the other side of Ogden Valley, Powder Mountain, now owned by the Summit Group, continues to make news.  At the Tuesday, July 22 meeting of the Cache County Council, Russ Watts, the Summit Group's development team head, urged Cache County to amend its current agreement with Weber County to include 12 36'x36' "nest pads" instead of the five that the Council had earlier agreed to.  Parts of the Powder Mountain Resort are in both Weber and Cache counties.

It has been reported that in a meeting of the Weber County Commission, as the commissioners reviewed the master plan submitted by Powder Mountain, one of the commissioners noted that the master plan was in fact the same master plan that had been approved for Snowbasin.  Apparently, Powder Mountain attempted to use a template of Snowbasin's plan...while neglecting to change the specifics, names, places, etc., to reflect their resort.

Park City

The judge presiding over the PCMR-Talisker/Vail Resorts legal battle signed an order on June 19th that clears the way for Park City Mountain Resort to be evicted from the mountain.  But he granted a reprieve from the eviction until at least August 27, when the court will make a decision related to continuing the reprieve.  The judge also ordered the parties to mediation in the interim.

This blog has reported in a number of earlier posts on the PCMR/Talisker battle.

For the residents of the Park City area, as well as the larger skier and boarder communities, the tension is ratcheting up as a final resolution may be near.  Does Vail Resorts take over the operation of the mountain?  Without access to the lower mountain and with the base lifts removed (as PCMR's owners have threatened)?.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Judge Rules Park City Mountain Resort Will Lose Slopes

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THE NEWS

A judge has ruled that Park City Mountain Resort missed a key deadline to renew its lease with Talisker Holdings, and must give control of the slopes at Park City to Talisker Holdings.  In a ruling handed down from 3rd District Court Judge Ryan Harris,  Harris stated that most of Park City Mountain Resort's claims feel short.

The ruling should act as a major boost for Vail Resorts' efforts and offer to purchase the resort, although Park City Mountain Resort has promised an appeal.  John D. Cumming, CEO of PCMR, issued a statement which read in part - "We respect the Court's decision but at the end of the day it doesn't change the fact that Vail and PCMR can and must resolve this dispute.  For that to happen, both parties will need to sit down at the table, negotiate in good faith, and come to a rational agreement.  We are committed to doing exactly that, which is why we have made repeated offers to buy or lease the disputed property for an amount far in excess of market value.  But let me be clear; we will not walk away and allow a Vail takeover."

The relationship between Talisker Holdings, Vail Resorts and the dispute over the lease with PCMR was detailed in the April post of this blog (right hand toolbar).

The best guess is appeals will take at least a year and no change in the operation of the ski resort will occur until the appeal process is exhausted, or a settlement is reached.  In the absence of an outright sale to Vail Resorts, Talisker would replace PCMR with Vail as its new tenant and operator. Stay tuned for the latest developments on a situation which has huge implications for the Utah ski industry, and likely real estate sales in the Park City, Dear Valley and Canyons area.

More News
 
Statistics continue to point to a gradually shifting real estate market for Utah mountain and ski resort property.  The shift varies in strength depending on the location and resort, but there is little doubt that the deals that buyers have come to expect are fast disappearing.  The shift from a buyer's to seller's market continues to gain strength.

Leading the list of resort areas where property sales or median prices continue to rise, and/or days on the market before a sale takes place continues to drop - is the Ogden Valley and the Ogden bench.  The Ogden Valley is home to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain and Nordic Valley (formerly Wolf Mountain), and development plans by new owners at both Powder and Nordic, detailed in earlier posts of this blog, could well be a big reason for the improving market.  The city of Ogden has also been rated by Powder Magazine and National Geographic near the top of their lists for "best ski towns" or "best recreational opportunities" for the past couple of years.

The Deer Valley/Park City area has seen a steady drop in the average days a property is on the market before it sells.  A similar drop in days on the market is also a continuing trend at the Canyons, as well as an uptick in median price.  The Sundance/Provo Bench area reports a rise in median price and the median price sold to median original listing price was an eye-popping 105%.



Monday, June 16, 2014

Summit Group Posts Powder Mountain Development Plans

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THE NEWS

The Summit Group, which recently purchased Powder Mountain Ski Resort, has launched a website, "Summit Powder Mountain", which depicts a planned development of more than 500 home sites with access to the ski resort and a "village core".

According to the website, much of the development is located around the Hidden Lake area of Powder Mountain, where there is currently a day lodge and restaurant, and where the Hidden Lake chairlift terminates.  This is also the area of Powder Mountain above the infamous poma lift that accesses some of the best tree and glade skiing to be found in the Rockies.  There will be "mountain homesites" known as "The Ridge," which each contain a half-acre of land.

Summit Powder Mountain will also construct a "core village" that, according to the website, will include restaurants and shops.  "The Village" will also play a role in the Summit Series, the group's gatherings of artists, entrepreneurs, tech startups, non-profits and others, now planned as a series of annual events at Powder Mountain.

The development plans, on the south side of the mountain, mirror what Summit Founder Elliot Bisnow said in an interview last year with local Utah station FOX 13.

Some residents of Eden, the small town in the Ogden Valley just below Powder Mountain, have viewed Summit's development plans with a degree of suspicion, while others have praised them for what they are planning.  The Summit Group has done outreach with locals to keep them appraised of their plans, which include modernizing ski lifts and expansion of ski runs at the resort.

More Powder Mountain/Ogden Valley News

In another significant development related to Powder Mountain and the Summit Group's plans for the resort, the Weber School District's Board of Education recently approved an interlocal agreement that will positively affect the development of infrastructure at the resort.

So what does this mean in layman's language?  It means that over the next twenty year period Weber County and the Weber School District will allow 50 percent of the tax increment for the Powder Mountain property to be used for specific components of the development project, including roads, bridges, and sewer.

The thinking of Weber County and the School District is that tax revenue should go up as the property is developed, and the 50 percent allocated for development costs will act as a development incentive, which in turn will create more tax revenue for the school board.  The Board of Education said no to a request in the original proposal that the tax increment could also be used for the development of natural gas and fiber optic services, as the Board stated that those services would not benefit residents of the Ogden Valley.

More Utah Ski Country Real Estate News

In other Utah Ski resort real estate related news, the number of units sold at some resorts jumped dramatically over the past month.  In this month's update of Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics, units sold shot upward in both Big Cottonwood Canyon (home to Brighton and Solitude), Little Cottonwood Canyon (Alta and Snowbird) and the adjacent Salt Lake City benches and areas.   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Long-Time Operator of Park City Mountain Resort Purchases Majority Interest in Snowbird

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THE NEWS

Dramatic developments within the Utah Ski Industry continue to be announced at a sizzling pace, with the latest bombshell the announcement that the family that for years has operated Park City Ski Resort has purchased majority interest in Snowbird.  And in the midst of a legal dispute with Vail Resorts over their continuing right to operate Park City. 

An article by Mike Gorrell in the Salt Lake Tribune reports that "Ian Cummings, a businessman intimately familiar with Utah's ski industry since his family owns Park City Mountain Resort," has purchased majority interest in Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort from Dick Bass, one of the founders and a current owner.  Bass will remain chairman of Snowbird's board.

Gorrell quotes Bass, 84, a Texas oilman and renowned adventurer. "This partnership will enable Snowbird to achieve more rapid growth and even greater benefits for our guests, and will continue to promote our founding philosophy of providing a year-round destination mountain resort for the enhancement of body, mind and spirit - with our ever-present emphasis on environmental protection and sensitivity.".

This blog's April, 14, 2014 post reported the buyout offer from Vail Resorts to purchase Park City Mountain Resort, owned by the Cummings family, and the lawsuit involving PCMR, which is in danger of losing its' lease to operate the Park City ski resort...It is now clear that the Cummings family will continue to operate at least one major Utah ski resort, Snowbird, regardless of the final outcome of the legal action and lease dispute related to their operation of the Park City ski resort.  Adding to the intrigue of the future landscape once all the legal actions and buyout possibilities are settled, is the long-proposed interconnect, recently christened ONE Wasatch, between ski areas in the Park City area (Deer Valley, Park City, The Canyons) and those in Little and Big Cottonwood canyons (Brighton, Solitude, Alta, Snowbird).  Existing animosity between future partners could be an interesting dynamic.

According to the Tribune article and Gorrell, "the management team will remain intact and the company is proceeding with plans to break ground in July on the two-year Hidden Peak project, to build more biking trails on the mountain, and to renovate the Snowbird Center and Cliff Lodge."

Bob Bonar, Snowbird's president and CEO, is quoted by Gorrell. "It will take a little while to digest how the new partnership works.  I have a lot of respect for Mr. Bass and for his family, who really have wanted to keep this a family partnership, a family owned and operated resort."

Development news also continues from the Ogden Valley, as the new owners of Nordic Valley, which had been renamed Wolf Mountain for the years it was a part of Wolf Creek Resort, announced plans for ski-in/ski-out residences, on-mountain expansion, and a major concert series this summer at the resort.  Nordic Valley will also host the revival of the highly popular Ogden Valley Balloon Festival, to be held this August.  You can check out everything that is going on and planned at the Nordic Valley website.

The real estate market at Utah's Ski Resorts and along the east benches of the cities snuggled against the Wasatch continues to heat up, and is shifting, rapidly in certain areas, from a buyer's to a seller's market.  There are good deals to be had, but the ramifications of all the major development news over the past months will surely continue to put upward pressure on prices.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Vail Resorts Offers to Purchase Park City Mountain Resort Amid Lawsuit

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THE NEWS

A buyout offer from Vail Resorts to purchase Park City Mountain Resort amid the ongoing lawsuit between PCMR and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, is dominating Utah's ski industry news.

According to an article in The Park City Record, authored by Jay Hamburger, "Vail Resorts on Tuesday offered to purchase the Park City Mountain Resort base area and parking lots, a buyout option that could settle the lawsuit between PCMR and Talisker Land Holding, LLC."

Talisker owns the land where much of the lower resort area is located, and Park City Mountain Resort, which leases the land, is in jeopardy of losing their lease.  Hence, the lawsuit.  According the the Record article, Vail Resorts is overseeing the Talisker side of the lawsuit due to the firm's agreement to lease and operate the Canyons Resort, also owned by Talisker.

Hamburger states, "the offer was made in a five-page letter from Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz to John Cumming, who is the CEO of PCMR parent Powder Corporation.  The letter was released midday Tuesday.  Katz covered a range of topics in the letter, including the lawsuit, Vail Resorts' desire for negotiations starting last summer, access to the disputed terrain, and the fate of PCMR's employees."

An excerpt from Katz' letter, which illuminates the basics of the dispute and lawsuit between Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker, follows.

"I think it's important to provide some context as to how we both find ourselves here today.  For many years, PCMR leased substantially all of its ski terrain from Talisker Corporation.  The lease provided PCMR a very favorable lease rate (press reports indicated only $150,000 per year.)  The lease was coming due on April 30, 2011, but it allowed PCMR to renew for an additional 20 years if PCMR provided written notice to Talisker by March 1, 2011.  As you know, PCMR did not provide timely written notice to Talisker.  In December 2012, Talisker informed PCMR that PCMR had not appropriately renewed its lease.  PCMR disagreed that the lease had ended.  Talisker offered PCMR a new lease with more expensive terms.  PCMR declined to take Talisker's offer and filed a lawsuit against Talisker.  More than a year after PCMR refused to pay Talikser's new rent request and then sued Talisker, Talisker secured a new tenant and new economic terms for the land, from companies associated with Vail Resorts in conjunction with leasing the Canyons to Vail Resort."

"While there has been much emotion and drama regarding these events, what transpired is relatively simple: a landlord believed that its tenant's lease had expired and wanted higher rent.  The tenant refused to pay and sued the landlord, so the landlord found a new tenant."

Again, there are numerous topics that Katz touches on in the letter to Cummings, but he makes it abundantly clear that under a number of different scenarios, Vail Resorts intends to operate the Park City ski resort.  The implications of this development for the Park City community are numerous and varied...and will also have a significant impact on the overall Utah and western US ski industries. An interconnect between the resorts surrounding Park City and those in Little and Big Cottonwood Canyons is under serious consideration, and connecting the Canyons and Park City would require only one lift.

It's hard to imagine that Vail Resorts' growing role in the Utah ski industry won't have a noticeable impact on resort real estate, particularly in light of the multi-resort season passes that all Vail resorts offer.  More skiers and riders experiencing Utah's relatively uncrowded slopes and bountiful "greatest snow on earth" should mean more property buyers.

Wolf Mountain to name?

In other Utah resort news, the new owners of Wolf Mountain ski resort in the Ogden Valley (sale reported in this blog/March 2014), are rumored to be considering changing the resort's name back to Nordic Valley, which is the name the ski mountain was known by for years.









Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ogden Utah Judged Retirement Paradise, Ski and Recreational Mecca

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THE NEWS

Where to Retire magazine has just anointed Ogden, Utah, "exhilarating" and a top choice as a place to retire.  This comes on the heels of Powder Magazine and National Geographic Online both judging Ogden one of the top ski and recreational towns in the country. 

It seems the favorable publicity for Ogden and the adjacent Ogden Valley is everywhere these days. There have been numerous national articles about the Summit Group's purchase of Powder Mountain, their development plans, and favorable odds for a big jump in real estate prices linked to the development and attendant publicity.  Wolf Mountain, the smallest of the three Ogden Valley ski resorts, was just purchased and a major development is rumored there.  Snowbasin, the spectacular and elegant ski resort that perches above the Ogden Valley and hosted the downhills, super-gs and the combined in the 2002 Winter Olympics, may be ready to act on the base development phase of their master planPowder Magazine recently judged Ogden one of the top two "ski towns" in the US, and there have been similar articles praising the area in a number of national publications.

And now, Where to Retire magazine's current issue pictures recent retirees to Ogden on it's cover next to the statement "Limitless Recreation in Exhilarating Ogden"  The multi-page article inside the publication was written by Jean Arthur.  The heading on the first page states "Statistics report low unemployment and a growing population in this snow-wrapped, mountainous Utah city.  The ski slopes in Ogden are Olympics-worthy, yet the area is affordable and friendly, retirees say."

Arthur interviews a number of recent retirees, among them John Durig, who recently moved to the Ogden Valley.  Durig told the author, "This is where I want to live!  Skiing brought us to Utah.  New friends and new recreational activities have kept us here."  Durig, 60, also states in the article, "Snowbasin is not crowded and it's a great mountain.  The Ogden Valley is very affordable compared to Colorado or Park City, (UT).  In addition, another ski area, Powder Mountain, is 10 miles away.  We live among what we consider two world-class resorts, both within 10 miles from home."

Jan Zehner, whom Arthur reports came to Ogden after a career in the U.S. Diplomatic corps, is also quoted.  "I learned to ski in the Alps.  My first day at Snowbasin Resort, I said I wanted to spend the rest of my life skiing here."  Arthur reports that "Jan not only skis five days a week, he snowshoes, plays pickleball and hikes.  He and his significant other explore the rugged backcountry on snowshoes by winter and hiking boots by summer."

According to the article, there are many reasons that are attracting retirees to Ogden and the Ogden Valley.  The crime rate and cost of living are both low.  Salt Lake International Airport is less than an hour away, and Weber State University, with 26,000 students, offers continuing education and cultural opportunities.  Hill Air Force Base provides military retirees significant amenities, there are numerous parks, a nature center, music festivals and concerts, numerous and affordable golf courses, Pineview Resevoir in the Ogden Valley, and proximity to Utah's 43 state parks, seven national monuments and five national parks.  The economy is vibrant, with full and part time employment opportunities.

And once again, there is the extraordinary variety of recreation.  Arthur quotes Dawn Lowery, who came to Ogden with John Durig, "We absolutely love it here.  When we're not skiing, we are biking and hiking.  A bike path runs right by the house.  The reservoir is five minutes away.  Several hiking trailheads are within a two-minute drive."  The article also includes a statement from Rich Koski, a representative of the visitor's bureau, "Many of us move to Ogden because of the limitless recreational opportunities."  He and his wife, Carol, retired and relocated from Minnesota in 2003.  They both work part-time and told Arthur they enjoy the areas exceptional skiing, hiking, kayaking and fly-fishing.

With all the Ogden area has to offer, the low housing and property prices probably won't last through too much more publicity that bestows such high praise on the available lifestyle. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Utah's Wolf Mountain Ski Resort Sold, Expansion and Base Village Rumored

Click here for the latest Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics for the past six months, including Number of Units Sold, Median Sales Price, % of Original Listing Price, Median Price Per Square Foot, and Median Days on the Market. This data is organized by ski resort area.

Search for Utah Mountain and Ski Resort Real Estate

THE NEWS

Wolf Mountain, one of three ski resorts in Utah's Ogden Valley, has been sold, and a major expansion and development is rumored. 

It seems a month rarely goes by without news of impending ski resort development and related real estate options in the lovely, pristine Ogden Valley, home to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, and Wolf Mountain.

According to an online article January 24th from Ogden's Standard Examiner, a representative of a group of local and European investors confirmed, in a post on a website run by Skyline Mountain Base, that Wolf Mountain ski area is under new ownership. The article, authored by JaNae Francis, quotes the representative, Tessa Harbertson's, post.  "As some of you know, I have been extremely busy with a new 'project' for the past six months.  All of the long hours and hard work has (finally) come to fruition. Skyline Base investors have purchased Wolf Mountain for development."

As the February post of this blog goes online, efforts to obtain additional information about the development plans at Skyline Mountain (Wolf Mountain) from Skyline management or principals have been unsuccessful.  More information will be provided here as soon as it is obtained.

The news about the sale and planned development of Skyline comes on the heels of two other highly important events involving the two other ski resorts in the Ogden Valley.  As reported on by this blog over the past year, The Summit Group purchased Powder Mountain and their planned development of a base village, lodging, and residences, while in the early stages, is underway.  And Snowbasin received final approvals for their extensive and long-range development plans in November, 2013.

The real estate market in the Ogden Valley is a safe bet to explode when the publicity surrounding these developments reaches critical mass...particularly if Snowbasin breaks ground.  Those potential buyers who don't want to miss the appealing part of the curve should think about acting now.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Utah Ski and Mountain Property Sales Trending Toward Last Days of Buyer's Market

Click here for the latest Utah Ski Country Real Estate Comparative Statistics for the past six months, including Number of Units Sold, Median Sales Price, % of Original Listing Price, Median Price Per Square Foot, and Median Days on the Market. This data is organized by ski resort area.

Search for Utah Mountain and Ski Resort Real Estate

THE NEWS

The real estate market in and around Utah's ski resorts and mountain communities continues to rebound, and the best deals are long gone.  It's still technically a buyer's market, but as the median prices increase and days on the market decrease, that designation could soon switch, with the advantage going to the seller.

Peruse this blog's comparative statistics and the trends are obvious.  In the Alta and Snowbird areas, in Little Cottonwood Canyon, the median selling price spiked over $120,000 from November to December and continues a steady upward swing.  Average days on the market dropped by 20%.  Sales in Park City and Deer Valley also saw an increase in median sales price as well as a 10% increase in price per square foot.  Canyons also saw the median sales price and price per square foot rise, while median days on the market dropped by half.  The Ogden bench and Mountain Green area, in close proximity to Snowbasin, Power Mountain and Wolf Mountain, saw increases in median sales price and price per square foot.  The $80.00 per square foot is a high point over quite a few months, but still seems a real bargain considering the area's recreational opportunities, scenery, and 40 minute drive to the Salt Lake International Airport.  In the beautiful Ogden Valley, home to Snowbasin, Powder Mountain, Wolf Mountain and Pineview Reservoir, median sales price and price per square foot are also up, but at $272,000 and $141.00 per square foot are unquestionably still great values.

The 2013/2014 ski season started with good early snowfall in Utah's Wasatch, but mid-late December was dry.  As this blog is being written, resorts along the range have received 1-2ft. over the past three days and another 1-1.5 ft. is predicted through the next two days.  Great conditions combined with still reasonable, but rising property prices - an appealing scenario for anyone who doesn't want to miss the end of what has been a multiple-year buyer's market!