Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What a charming first day

I finally made it out on the snow on Tuesday, Dec 9 for my first day of the year. What a great first day on the snow. Okemo had some new snow from Monday, which made for some wonderful conditions. I needed to get out on the snow so I could take part in the first week of the Okemo Innkeepers' Race Series. On my third run of the season, I was racing down Wardance. I succeeded at my goal of making it to the bottom in once piece. And my team is not in last place!

If' you've never done any racing, I highly recommend trying to find a race league near you, that you can join with some friend. What a fun time. You get to go out an slide on the snow, then like most recreation race leagues, there's an apres ski party each week. Yesterday our apres party was hosted by Killarney's Irish Restaurant right at the bottom of the mountain road. Killarney's sponsors a team and they also host 1-2 apres parties each winter. Each week a different pub or restaurant hosts the apres party. The apres parties give the racers a chance to catch up after a day on the snow. It's a perfect opportunity to give someone a good ribbing about going slowly and to compliment people on how they did.

If you happen to live and work near Okemo, and you'd like to take part in the Okemo Innkeeper's race series, you can learn more about it at

See you out there!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Almost time to get on the bus!

From concept to completion - the AMP Bus will be ready to rock by the weekend. Right now it sits in a heated garage and is being wrapped with AMP and Okemo logos. From the 32 foot roof ride, to the scooped out quarter, to the flat box hood, to the detachable box off of the front bumper this thing is quite impressive. It would look cool in my backyard jib park, but my wife would kill me. Every year there is one feature in the park that just seems to have my number. Last year it was the Cota & Cota Propane Tank. That thing had it out for me - I swear! I even switched to ordering propane from Irving Oil this summer because of that tank. I have a funny feeling that this bus will be the feature to recon with this year. Am I already psyching myself out? We'll see. Bus rides start soon - either you're in or you're out! GravityHound

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Okemo sold...True. Tim & Diane lease it back...

True… there’s been many rumors flying around the mountain. True… Okemo has been sold. BUT this is not your traditional sale of a ski resort. This a sale-leaseback which means that The Muellers remain owners of the companies that operate Okemo and Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. CNL Lifestyle Properties owns just the underlying resort assets.

CNL Lifestyle Properties, the purchaser, is what is known as a real estate investment trust, or REIT. By law, a REIT cannot be involved in the operation of their holdings, or in this case the ski resorts.

In a recent letter, Tim and Diane wrote: “everything will stay the same from the guest’s perspective and the employee’s perspective. CNL cannot get involved in the operations of the resorts. They are strictly a landlord and financing entity. This is a great move for us and our resorts. In this time of economic instability, for CNL to commit sizable dollars to our resorts is a testament to their confidence in us and our entire Team. As you know, Triple Peaks’ resorts are recognized for operational excellence and success within the ski industry. In today’s environment, there are not a lot of companies able to complete transactions of this nature. This is also indicative of CNL’s financial strength and confidence in our management team and in the ski industry. They are a well capitalized, stable company and we are pleased to be associated with them.”

The three resorts of Triple Peaks are each growing companies that require sustained capital infusion. As you can imagine in this financial environment, short-term loans are very risky, and there’s not a lot of funding available. A sale-leaseback partnership with CNL allows for stable, long-term capital. This is a creative way to finance this growth without taking on operating partners or attempting to finance through banks at this challenging time. Only because of The Mueller’s vision, and Okemo's strong operating history and reputation is this arrangement with CNL even possible today.

As for the past 26 years, Tim & Diane remain committed to the future success of each resort and their surrounding communities.