As I muse over what we’ve learned and what is yet to be gleaned from operating Baldy, I have these thoughts.
The Good Stuff.
- Yeoman-like efforts by our staff and contractors to open and deliver at the highest level possible.
- Our guest satisfaction numbers are right on target.
- The snow. It truly is amazing.
- Equally, the terrain is among the best for skiing and snowboarding I have seen anywhere.
- Tremendous support and thanks from almost everyone for opening the resort.
- Fabulous support by the investment team for our efforts.
- Great support from the receiver as we transition away from the final details of the receivership.
- Season pass sales are fantastic. 75% of our guests are trading in their day tickets and applying these funds to buy a pass.
- Sales are strong. In fact, we’re on target to have greater sales by the end of December than any total year in Baldy’s history.
- The three local highways contractors are delivering miracles when it comes to road maintenance and snow removal. Baldy Bobcats, Encom and Argo – thanks for your awesome efforts.
- Our Social Media team is killing it. Millions of impressions are being generated at a reasonable cost with everything being right on target and on brand.
- Our ski and snowboard rentals. We were later than the normal booking cycle, and the reps through to the National Presidents of Burton and Head got us the gear we needed. Except we were given much higher quality than the normal rentals. I put a level 1 candidate on our rentals, and he immediately went from failing to passing. They are that good.
The Surprising, Still-Needs-More-Work Stuff.
- The number of car accidents on our access roads. Slow down folks until you learn where the surprise corners are. (We are working at approaching the local decision makers in highways to put up signs at these corners.)
- We’re blown away with the demand for snow school programs. Some programs are full. We’ll host another CSIA level 1 course ASAP to certify more instructors. My goal is to have and need 125 instructors, but we’re far from this now. But we could use another dozen, now! (Hint: teaching skiing and snowboarding is one heck of a fun job. If you were once certified, I am hosting a professional development session that will re-certify you, and then you could enjoy the fun again *wink*)
- Internally, we are working on all the systems and programs to allow for the staff to seamlessly do their jobs – but this is a work in progress.
- How some locals don’t like the fact that operating a successful resort requires some changes from the ways things were done in the past.
- My research on the total number of skiers and snowboarders in the two-hour circle was bang on – we are focused to grow this to 20,000 core customers in 3 years.
- The headache surrounding how delivery companies don’t want to deliver anything up here. Sysco is the only one, and THANK you for this. But rest of you, this is not the edge of the world! Special thanks to the folks at OK Tire in Oliver for stepping up and being our remote drop off location.
- I was not anticipating the demand for housing and real estate up here. We are being approached daily asking for land and building programs. We have just approved 100-bed units for rental next year as well as the launching of the McKinney subdivision. I guess that people want to invest here before things take off.
- The number of individuals who thought it was a pipe dream when we identified December 1st as the opening date. It wasn’t as if we were landing on Mars.
- We need to develop a culture here around working. I knew it would be a challenge to build right off the start. But when individual departments have eight staff announce that they won’t be coming in to work today for various reasons, wow does that tax the department heads. Good work coping, guys
Lastly, to all the folks who make an effort to thank me for opening the resort personally. While it is tremendously gratifying, I wish I had the whole team of prime creditor, receiver, investment team, permitting folks, contractors and staff standing in front of me so they could get this first hand. ‘Cause they deserve it.
Photo: Backwoods Mama