Monday, May 28, 2018

Compagnie des Alpes Reports Half-year 2017-2018 Results

Compagnie des Alpes reports consolidated sales of €491.2 M for the 1 st half of FY 2017/2018, an increase of 7.1% on an actual scope basis (3.2% on a comparable scope basis) compared with the 1 st half of the previous financial year.
Commenting on the results for the first half, Dominique Marcel, Chairman and Chief executive officer, said: "We had a good first half, driven by growth in the Group's historical activities. In the Ski Area Division, we posted new growth in sales and managed to cope with extreme operating conditions, especially in January, thanks to the expertise of our teams on site. In Leisure Destinations, higher sales reflect our ability to further boost our park operations during the Halloween period and increase spending per visitor. The first half of this year was also marked by the acquisition of Travelfactory, which has enabled the Group to become the leading distributor of ski holidays in France. Lastly, in a year marked by an increase in our investments in growth and attractiveness, the sale of two of our Grévin museums abroad, combined with a decrease in our cost of debt following the refinancing operations carried out last year, has led to an improvement in our financial performance".
Ski Area sales reached €372.1M for the 1 st half, an increase of +2.8% versus the same period of the previous financial year (+2.9% for lift sales alone). Sales for the period were driven by an increase in the number of skier days (up 1.5%) and revenue per skier day up +1.4%, in spite of the adverse impacts caused by weather conditions, which are often extreme during the month of January (wind, cold and precipitation) and which disrupted operations for most of the Group's ski resorts. The number of skiers is expected to be higher for the year as a whole for the third consecutive year despite a more competitive environment nationwide this season due to good snowfall levels across the board, including at mid-altitude facilities. Divisional EBITDA (which is the sum total of Ski Area EBITDA and Leisure Destination EBITDA) reached €175.9M for the period, an increase of 4.1%. On a comparable scope basis, the increase was +3.5%.
For the Ski Area Division, the increase in EBITDA fell short of the increase in sales, due in particular to a negative base effect related to the hiring of seasonal employees (which was delayed due to the lack of snow at the start of the season in 2016/2017) but also to the costs incurred to improve ski slope safety. In fact, weather conditions disrupted the operation of some sites and the consequences of Storm Eleanor generated additional expenses for slope grooming, controlled avalanche triggering, and general maintenance work. EBITDA was €187.7M, compared with €184.8M for the same period last year, which is therefore 50.5% of sales compared with 51.0% for the first half of 2016/2017.

Since it was founded in 1989, Compagnie des Alpes has established itself as an uncontested leader in the leisure industry. At the helm of 11 of the world’s most prestigious ski resorts (Tignes, Val d’Isère, Les Arcs, La Plagne, Les Menuires, Les 2Alpes, Méribel, Serre-Chevalier, etc.) and13 renowned leisure destinations (Parc Astérix, Grévin, Walibi, Futuroscope, etc.), the company is steadily expanding in Europe (France, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc.) and, more recently, at the international level (Grévin Montréal in April 2013, Grévin Prague in May 2014, Grévin Seoul in July 2015 and engineering and management assistance contracts (Russia, Morocco, Japan)). CDA also owns stakes in 4 ski areas, including Chamonix. During the financial year ended September 30, 2017, CDA facilities welcomed nearly 23 million visitors and generated consolidated sales of €762.3 million. With nearly 5,000 employees, Compagnie des Alpes works with its partners to build projects that generate unique experiences, the opposite of a standardized concept. Exceptional leisure activities for everyone.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Courchevel-Méribel To Host FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2023

Following a vote at the 51st FIS Congress in Costa Navarino (GRE), the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships were awarded to the organizers from Courchevel-Méribel (FRA). In a highly anticipated presentation on Thursday evening, the joint bid from the French resorts slighted edged out Saalbach (AUT) by a Council vote of nine to six.
Both organizers put forth first-time bids, and it is the first time since 2009 that France will host the FIS Alpine World Championships, last held in Val d’Isere. Courchevel and Méribel are Olympic sites that regularly host men’s and ladies’ Audi FIS World Cup races.
"The bid of Courchevel-Méribel was very appealing with two top-level resorts offering essentially men’s and ladies’ venues, which is sure to facilitate scheduling and logistics. The French Organizers are sure to put on an excellent show for the athletes, media, and fans", said FIS President Gian Franco Kasper of the French success.
The battle between the two venues was on a very high level, and even if tonight they are disappointed, the Austrians are already looking ahead to 2025. "Lots of work and passion went into that bid, but with Courchevel-Meribel we had a very strong contender. We are now supporting our friends from France and cross fingers for great events in Courchevel-Méribel in 2023. On our side, we are not giving up: we will be candidate for the 2025 FIS World Ski Championships and hope to bring the event to Saalbach", said Bartl Gensbichler, president of the Salzburger Ski Association.

The French Ski Federation and the linked Olympic ski resorts of Courchevel and Méribel are working together to make the 2023 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships a great sporting and cultural success that will leave a lasting legacy for all skiers.
Courchevel and Méribel’s long tradition of competitive skiing and hosting major international events has given them vast experience in welcoming spectators and VIPs. As a result, they already have the top-quality facilities and expertise needed to stage the prestigious FIS World Championships.
Easily accessible, both resorts are part of the “3 Vallées”, one of the world’s largest ski areas. They offer a wide range of accommodation, with 130,000 beds covering all budget categories. In addition to Olympic competitions, both resorts have already hosted several FIS Ski World Cups.
Courchevel Méribel 2023 will place the athletes at the heart of the event by providing two top-class international competition slopes.
Courchevel Méribel 2023’s aim is to offer the world an outstandingly friendly Event that brings together people from all horizons. As part of this concept, the organizers will provide free access to all the competitions and a great Alpine Ski Festival.
Courchevel Méribel 2023 will make its slogan, "Together for 2023", come true by showcasing the joys of skiing and the excitement of ski racing, especially to young people.
Given the need to organize an environmentally responsible event, the Courchevel Méribel 2023 Bid Committee has signed a "Charter of Environmentally Responsible Commitments for Organisers of Major Sports Events", drawn up in conjunction with the WWF.

Monday, May 14, 2018

NSAA Announces Top Ski Area Marketing Programs for 2017-2018

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) has given seven ski areas top honors for their 2017-18 marketing programs. NSAA announced the winners at its National Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Marco Island, Fla. The awards are sponsored by Inntopia, a strategic marketing, commerce, and business intelligence firm based in Stowe, Vt.

Best Use of Mobile Technology
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, California

Best Social Media Campaign
Alyeska Resort, Alaska

Best Use of Video Marketing
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada

Best Learn to Ski & Snowboard/Bring a Friend Campaign
Killington Resort, Vermont.

Most Unique Campaign
Aspen Snowmass, Colorado

Best Overall Marketing Campaign
(Under 500,000 visits)
Mount Snow, Vermont.

Best Overall Marketing Campaign
(500,000 or more visits)
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort, Utah
Judges for the awards were Mike Bisner, vice president sales/East for AXESS NORTH AMERICA; Ryan Davis, art director of Portland, Oregon-based branding agency Nemo Design; and Matt Neren, founder and partner of Boulder, Colorado-based Cultivator Advertising & Design.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

NSAA Announces 2017-18 Safety Award Winners

The National Ski Areas Association announced the seven winners of the organization’s annual Safety Awards during the NSAA National Convention and Tradeshow, being held this week in Marco Island, Fla.
The awards, sponsored by Safehold Special Risk, recognize exceptional resort initiatives to educate guests and employees about skiing and snowboarding responsibly.
Here are the winners of the NSAA 2017-18 National Safety Awards: 
Best Overall Safety Program
(500,000 or more visits)
Mammoth Mountain, California

Best Overall Safety Program
(Under 500,000 visits)
Snowbasin Resort, Utah

Best Employee Safety Program
Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows, California

Best Guest Safety Program
Gore Mountain, NY

Safety Impact Award
California Ski Industry Association

Best Ride Another Day Program
Copper Mountain, Colorado

Safety Champion
Katherine Schifani, Vail Mountain

Friday, May 11, 2018

Bear Valley, Boreal Mountain, and Crystal Mountain Win SKI Magazine Golden Eagle Awards

SKI Magazine has honored three ski areas—Bear Valley Mountain, California; Crystal Mountain, Michigan, and Boreal Mountain, California—with 2018 Golden Eagle Awards. In addition, SKI named Sha Miklas of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colorado, as the "Hero of Sustainability" honoree for 2018.
The Golden Eagle Awards, overseen in a partnership between SKI and the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), are the ski industry’s most prestigious honor for recognizing resort environmental initiatives. 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the Golden Eagle Awards, "a momentous occasion to be celebrated by all of the award recipients over the past two-and-a-half decades and the entire ski industry", said Andy Hawk, managing director of Active Interest Media’s Mountain Group. Added Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president/CEO, "NSAA thanks SKI Magazine for its longstanding commitment to these awards and for shining a spotlight on exemplary resort sustainability efforts".
New this year, the Innovation in Sustainability Award went to Bear Valley Mountain for its renewable energy-powered “eco-glamping” experience for guests. Bear Valley created a unique and educational glamping experience for guests in canvas tents overlooking the Mokelumne River Canyon on National Forest lands. Each tent was equipped with an off-grid Nature Power 1800 watt solar and wind energy-generating system to power CFL lamps or recharge cell phones, and portable restrooms in the “glampground” had a solar-powered low-wattage LED light for nighttime. Guests received rechargeable fluorescent lanterns for walking around, and access to free shuttles to the Village and nearby Alpine Lake along with solar-powered rechargeable “eco-bikes” to tour the area.
Also new this year, the Climate Change Impact Award went to Crystal Mountain for its leadership on climate change advocacy and action. Crystal’s Jim and Chris MacInnes have worked with their utility to have 56 percent of the resort’s power sourced from clean energy sources; installed public EV charging stations; constructed a LEED-certified spa building; and most recently constructed a closed loop geothermal heating and cooling project as part of an $11 million expansion of the Inn at the Mountain. Their leadership on climate advocacy and mitigation is exemplary in the tourism industry and beyond.
Boreal Mountain earned the 2018 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence for its Tahoe Solar initiative and outreach and long-standing climate solutions work. Boreal has always set the bar high on environmental performance, reducing 790 tons of carbon annually since 2008. A founding member of the NSAA Climate Challenge, Boreal offsets 100 percent of its energy use with RECs, and most recently installed 715 solar panels on its Woodward Tahoe facility. This 235-kilowatt system is the largest rooftop array in the California ski industry and the equivalent of removing 52 cars from the road. As Boreal and Woodward Tahoe are youth-centric brands, the resort’s outreach and branding of this “Tahoe Solar” project is helping influence younger generations on their role in sustainability. 
Sha Miklas is this year’s Hero of Sustainability for bringing sustainability practices and environmental responsibility to the forefront at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado Miklas has created a culture of sustainability that permeates from upper management all the way down to first-year, line-level employees, which has helped make A-Basin the leader in sustainability that it is today. As a result of Miklas’ hard work, 75 percent of the ski area’s guests report that they are familiar with A-Basin’s sustainability efforts and are drawn to the resort because of them. She also serves as president of the board of trustees for the High Country Conservation Center, enhancing her influence on waste reduction and resource conservation beyond the ski area and throughout Summit County.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Snowbasin Resort Wins NSAA 2018 Conversion Cup Award

Snowbasin Resort in Utah is the winner of the 2018 National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) Conversion Cup Challenge, sponsored by HEAD Wintersports. This annual award recognizes resorts across the country that have developed outstanding programs to convert new skiers and snowboarders into lifelong enthusiasts.
Snowbasin was selected among a strong field of ski areas from across the US. The other two finalists were Boreal Mountain Resort in California and Les Sommets in Quebec, Canada.
NSAA launched the initiative in 2010 as a way to pique competition among member ski areas and recognize those who make significant strides to boost conversion rates. The winner is chosen based upon proven results, creative ideas, consistent execution, and long-term commitment to the conversion effort. Several key metrics are used in the judging process, including beginner lesson volumes; quantifiable success of beginner lesson packages; season-to-date sales and repeat sales data collection; and marketing ingenuity and use of new media.
Snowbasin won the honor largely based on the success of its Learn & Earn Program, which is focused on instilling a sense of inclusivity among newcomers and creating lifelong participants in snowboarding and skiing. The three-year program, introduced in 2016-17, provides a roadmap and incentives along the way to becoming a core participant.
Year one of Learn & Earn includes three all-day group lessons, seasonal rental of ski or snowboard equipment, and a season pass upon completion of the third lesson. In the fall, guests are invited to the resort to get fitted for equipment, meet the instructor staff, become familiar with the resort, and get answers to any questions they may have. One hundred percent of last season’s Learn & Earn participants finished all three lessons, while this season’s results show an 81 percent completion rate as of mid-February 2018, when the resort submitted its award application.
Graduates of the year one Learn & Earn program are eligible for the year two program—Learn, Earn & Return—which consists of three additional group lessons, a season pass, and purchase of their own equipment—all for $499 (youth price) or $599 (adult price). A remarkable 71 percent of last season’s never-evers purchased the Learn, Earn & Return program or bought their own season pass this past winter.
Year three of the program (the 2018-19 season) will continue the momentum with a premier season pass, a private lesson, and numerous other special perks.
One unique component of Snowbasin’s application is that the youth Learn & Earn program is offered in partnership with the Davis County Education Foundation, which provides financial support to the public school district in nearby Davis County. A portion of the profits from Learn & Earn are donated to the Foundation.
"It’s fantastic to see the energy and enthusiasm for growing skiing and riding from all the resorts across the country", said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president/CEO. "The success of Snowbasin’s program is impressive and, along with the other winners of the Conversion Cup, provides a model for areas to consider as they develop and refine their own programs. Congratulations to Snowbasin!".

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Skier Visits Hit 53.3 Million in 2017-18 Winter Season

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced last Friday that US ski areas tallied an estimated 53.3 million skier and snowboarder visits during the 2017-18 season, down 2.8 percent from last season’s 54.8 million total. The annual skier visit count, an important industry metric, was released on Friday at the NSAA Convention and Tradeshow being held this week in Marco Island, Fla.
This past season, ski areas in the Midwest experienced an impressive rebound, as skier visits grew by 17 percent in this region to 6.4 million visits. In addition, the Southeast region had a strong season, up 3.6 percent to 4.3 million visits from 2016-17. The Northeast region held steady at 11.8 million visits, less than 1 percent down from the previous season. The Rocky Mountain, Pacific Northwest, and Pacific Southwest regions were down slightly more, ranging between -5 and -14 percent.
Visitation was up more than 52 percent in October and November and up 18 percent in March, due to a strong start and finish to the season. Resorts in several states set records for skier visits, including Whitefish and Bridger Bowl in Montana; Stevens Pass in Washington; Jackson Hole in Wyoming; and Schweitzer Mountain in Idaho. Resorts were open an average of five additional days this season over the prior season—a testament to the investments in efficient snowmaking infrastructure and a commitment to providing an outstanding experience to guests. Thanks to abundant snowfall totals late in the year, two resorts in Michigan—Boyne Mountain and Mount Bohemia—have been competing since mid-April to see which can stay open the longest this season.
Notably, the share of visits that included a lesson at US ski areas increased this season, indicative of the growing appetite to learn to ski and snowboard. These activities provide terrific opportunities to get outside in the winter and spend time with family and friends.
"I am pleased that the 2017-18 season was right in line with our 40-season average, with Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest performing above the 40-year average", said Kelly Pawlak, NSAA president and CEO. "Ending on a positive note with many spring records will help drive season pass sales".
NSAA will release a final report of the Kottke End of Season Survey this summer.

The National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), headquartered in Lakewood, Colorado, is the trade association for ski area owners and operators. Formed in 1962, NSAA today represents 313 alpine resorts that account for more than 90 percent of the skier/snowboarder visits nationwide. Additionally, it has 414 supplier members who provide equipment, goods, and services to the mountain resort industry.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Boyne Resorts Completes Purchase of 6 Ski Resorts

Boyne Resorts today announced the closing of a purchase transaction with Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, an affiliate of Oz Real Estate, to acquire six mountain resorts and a scenic chairlift attraction previously leased by the resort company. Boyne Resorts has been the long-term operator of the seven newly acquired assets and also owns three resorts in northern Michigan and Big Sky Resort in Montana. As third largest based on skier visits, Boyne Resorts' portfolio of mountain properties is the most geographically diverse among all North American ski resort companies.
"Having focused for several years on regaining and acquiring ownership of these resorts, today is exceptionally gratifying", said Stephen Kircher, president and chief executive officer of Boyne Resorts. "We are proud of the achievements reflected in these acquisitions and excited about the opportunities ahead at all of our properties, as well as for our team members, guests and the communities we are part of".
Included in the transaction with Oz Real Estate are Brighton Ski Resort, in Big Cottonwood Canyon near Salt Lake City, Utah; Cypress Mountain in Vancouver, British Columbia; Gatlinburg SkyLift in Gatlinburg, Tennessee; Loon Mountain Resort in New Hampshire; Sugarloaf and Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine; and The Summit at Snoqualmie near Seattle, Washington.
"We have valued our relationship with Oz Real Estate and look forward to working with them in the future on new opportunities", said Roland Andreasson, Chief financial officer of Boyne Resorts. 
For nearly 70 years, Boyne Resorts has maintained a heritage of innovative firsts including a recent announcement to install an eight-seat, high-speed chairlift—the first in North America at its Big Sky Resort in Montana. Development of patented and proprietary snowmaking systems, installation of the world's first triple and quad chairlifts plus America's first high-speed six-place chairlift, and being one of the first to transform ski areas into four-season resorts are highlights from a history of this pioneering spirit that remains very much alive throughout the company's operations today.

Boyne Resorts, founded in 1947 by Everett Kircher, is the third largest mountain resort company in North America. A Michigan-based corporation, Boyne Resorts owns award-winning mountain and golf resorts and attractions throughout the United States and Canada including Cypress Mountain near Vancouver, B.C., official freestyle skiing and snowboard venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games; Sugarloaf and Sunday River Resort in Maine; Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands, Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection and Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark in Michigan; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Loon Mountain Resort in New Hampshire; Gatlinburg SkyLift in Tennessee; Brighton Resort in Utah; and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington.

Friday, May 4, 2018

MAGNETIC - A Whistler Blackcomb Movie

Filmed in Whistler Blackcomb ski area

Presented by: Whistler Blackcomb and TELUS
Directed and Produced by Jeff Thomas, Darren Rayner, Graeme Meiklejohn; Origin Design and Communications 
Starring: Stan Rey, Justin Lamoureux, Jesse Millen, James Heim, Craig McMorris, Eric Hjorleifson, Evan McEachran, Helen Schettini, Ian Morrison, KC Deane, Teal Harle, Robin Van Gyn, Dean Bercivitch, Mikey Ciccarelli, Logan Pehota, Matty Richard, Devun Walsh, Annie Boulanger PY LeBlanc, Mike Douglas, Marcus Culver, Mikey Nixon, Alexi Godbout and Friends.