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Parent company touts growth at Mount Snow

DOVER—After a difficult 2016, things are looking up at Mount Snow.Parent company Peak Resorts says season-pass sales and skier visits are up dramatically this season companywide, and the Dover resort is no exception.That news comes just a few months after Mount Snow gained access to $52 million in EB-5 foreign investment funds, which will fuel major construction projects starting in the spring.Both of those developments were mentioned in a mid-season update issued by Peak Resorts President and Chief Executive Officer Timothy Boyd.“We continue to view this season as the catalyst that will drive our future performance, as we remain committed to building a strong foundation and providing long-term, positive results for our shareholders,” Boyd said.Missouri-based Peak operates 14 ski resorts including Mount Snow. The company’s properties took a big hit last ski season, as record warmth drove down traffic.Last summer, Peak reported a net loss of $3.3 million for fiscal year 2016 and a 25 percent drop in skier visits compared with fiscal 2015. The company doesn’t release attendance figures for individual resorts, but Mount Snow administrators said the weak winter caused temporary layoffs last spring.Peak administrators also spent much of 2016 worrying about $52 million in EB-5 money that had been raised for snow-making and lodging improvements at Mount Snow. Due to lengthy delays in the federal approval process, the money remained tied up in escrow, slowing the projects and causing financial issues for Peak Resorts.The money finally was released in mid-December.Mount Snow spokesman Jamie Storrs said EB-5-related work will start this spring.And, in Peak’s Feb. 2 announcement about the 2016/17 ski season, Boyd said the EB-5 approval “will help to fund organic growth through Mount Snow’s West Lake Water Project and the Carinthia Ski Lodge Project, while we remain well-positioned to take advantage of opportunistic and strategic acquisition opportunities.”Boyd also touted a strong season at Peak’s resorts so far: Administrators reported that, from the start of the season through Jan. 29, paid skier visits were up 40 percent compared with the same period in 2015/16.Additionally, season-pass sales are up 28 percent in terms of units sold and 23 percent in terms of dollars when compared with the same period last season.Storrs said he couldn’t comment on Mount Snow’s numbers but said the resort is “having a great season.”Boyd attributed what he called a “welcomed improvement” to colder weather; “pent-up demand” due to last season’s lack of snow; and the success of his company’s new Peak Pass, which offers access to seven resorts including Mount Snow.“Although season-to-date weather trends have still trailed historical average levels, we are very pleased with the strong customer reception of our Peak Pass, which has driven additional traffic to our Hunter Mountain and Mount Snow resorts,” Boyd said.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #395 (Wednesday, February 15, 2017).

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