Ski Blandford may be purchased by Butternut

NELSAPNELSAP advanced
edited July 1 in NELSAP Forum Posts: 150
NELSAP sources suggest the Blandford, MA may have been sold - which would keep the area open, obviously good news. Can't say more at this time. But it would be a good outcome. Will post more once public. 

Comments

  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    Great news.
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 502
    The area is very cool for 400 feet. I would imagine any new operator will look at lift consolidation. Those 3 old lifts are a lot to maintain for an area like that.
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 150
    I should amend my post - vertical is actually closer to 500'. For those who haven't skied here before, the terrain is surprisingly varied - quite a few narrow runs, quick twists/turns, some cliffs and chutes. The steep terrain is quite short but fun. I've always had fun skiing there.
  • skipro77skipro77 intermediate
    Posts: 47
    Good news for everyone concerned.  I read in an article that the Springfield Ski Club was not planning on re-opening next season.  Their membership has dropped from a high of 5,000 members to around 1,500.  I'm seeing this trend in most ski clubs now.  Many have become "social" clubs that don't even ski.
  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 187
    The cities of Holyoke and Springfield don't have the skiing-type of people living there that they did years ago. 200,000 people living so close, yet very few have an interest in snow sports.
  • skizillaskizilla novice
    Posts: 2
    Great little area i agree hope it stays open.  It is kind of a pain to get to and lack of reliable snow hurts.  What would be great is if the state opened an exit at the mcdonalds on the pike there.  The ski area literally backs up to that mcdonalds across a field maybe a quarter mile long.  Or hell just let people off the unofficial exit there.
  • bubblecufferbubblecuffer advanced
    edited June 2 Posts: 262
    skizilla said:

    Great little area i agree hope it stays open.  It is kind of a pain to get to and lack of reliable snow hurts.  What would be great is if the state opened an exit at the mcdonalds on the pike there.  The ski area literally backs up to that mcdonalds across a field maybe a quarter mile long.  Or hell just let people off the unofficial exit there.

    Is opening the rest area exit something that is on the table?  I have some family in Otis and there is *no* good way to get there.
  • thebigothebigo novice
    Posts: 3
    Any chance the buyer is Peaks? Would fit their history of low purchase price along with their mid-west model of small feeder areas near population centers. Would presumably also drive vacation traffic to Mount Snow from passholders. 
  • newmannewman advanced
    Posts: 187
    I've never been there. I wonder how well maintained the place has been. I guess that makes a person wonder what kind of profitability this place even has in the future. I can't remember if they ski at night or not. I guess if Powder Ridge figured out a way to come back from the dead, this area could make a go of it.
  • SP5SP5 novice
    Posts: 10
    The drop in skiers is as much from poor maintance, poor to no snow making, run down lodges, and poor management of the area. Everyone has been taking there money to the cheaper Otis, or butternut which is cleaner, has more trails, and better coverage.
  • MrMagicMrMagic advanced
    Posts: 119
    SP5 said:

    The drop in skiers is as much from poor maintance, poor to no snow making, run down lodges, and poor management of the area. Everyone has been taking there money to the cheaper Otis, or butternut which is cleaner, has more trails, and better coverage.

    Unfortunately I agree with you I have skied there a half dozen times in a half dozen years.
    Place needs a good facelift, invest in repainting the chairs, add a magic carpet and 100 percent snowmaking and at least 80 percent of lights need to be added/ up graded to the slopes.
    Then I would worry about fixing/upgrading the two lodges
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    edited June 7 Posts: 502
    SP5 said:

    The drop in skiers is as much from poor maintance, poor to no snow making, run down lodges, and poor management of the area. Everyone has been taking there money to the cheaper Otis, or butternut which is cleaner, has more trails, and better coverage.


    Unfortunately I agree with you I have skied there a half dozen times in a half dozen years.
    Place needs a good facelift, invest in repainting the chairs, add a magic carpet and 100 percent snowmaking and at least 80 percent of lights need to be added/ up graded to the slopes.
    Then I would worry about fixing/upgrading the two lodges


    Where is the money going to come from to cover 100% of that place with snow? Both the build out and operating costs. It is very unrealistic. The key for a place like this is to cover core routes
    consistently until the client base can be built back up, if that is what is costing them visits.
  • SP5SP5 novice
    Posts: 10
    Agreed, but they could not or would not do that, instead focusing their efforts on the one race trail which is the largest, longest, and widest trail their.
  • MrMagicMrMagic advanced
    Posts: 119


    Where is the money going to come from to cover 100% of that place with snow? Both the build out and operating costs. It is very unrealistic. The key for a place like this is to cover core routes consistently until the client base can be built back up, if that is what is costing them visits.

    Maybe the new owners have that capital. You can not operate in southern new England with a marginal snow making system. Covering a few routes down seems to have been their operating procedures in the past and clearly it has not worked your not going to build a customer base by offering 4 routes down when everyone else in the region has close too or 100 percent snowmaking coverage with all their slopes and trails open
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 502
    If they HAVE to offer 100% to compete then the future is likely bleak. There is no business case for that much investment for that hill. However, as I mentioned, offering core routes having good coverage on a consistent basis will go a lot further than you think. Dependability is not something I have heard has been happening down there. 

    They also need to cut costs. 3 chairs for a hill that size is astronomical to operate, staff, and maintain.
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 150
    I haven't heard any more news as of yet - as soon as I hear anything, I'll let you all know.

    The area probably could get by with one chairlift to the summit (higher capacity than a double), and a beginner lift to save on costs.

    JD
  • MrMagicMrMagic advanced
    Posts: 119
    newpylong said:

    If they HAVE to offer 100% to compete then the future is likely bleak. There is no business case for that much investment for that hill. However, as I mentioned, offering core routes having good coverage on a consistent basis will go a lot further than you think. Dependability is not something I have heard has been happening down there. 


    They also need to cut costs. 3 chairs for a hill that size is astronomical to operate, staff, and maintain.
    Yes definitely maybe keep one or two of those doubles and just the handle tow (which they call something strange) or maybe just use one lift for the summit, but like NELSAP suggest one with higher capacity

  • SP5SP5 novice
    Posts: 10
    The issue has been while they have a few trails open everyone else around them has every trail or close to that open at the same time. When they are closed do to no coverage everyone else finds a way to be open. Lifts are a problem. Since three service the same terrain there is not a real need for them all. The issue though is the constant break downs of those lifts and the mechanical issues from deferred maintance or incorrect repairs. Add to that the groomers are always breaking down along with the very old snow making system and money will need to be spent to get to the level of the surrounding areas. The other issue is the snow making doesn't even cover some the best terrain there.
  • NELSAPNELSAP advanced
    Posts: 150
    So the latest I can now share is the mystery buyer is Butternut (I can now share it as it is public). I think this would be a good fit. There's a lot of potential at Blandford, and Butternut knows how to upgrade a mountain. Look at the improvements there-new quads, great snowmaking, often opening 100% earlier than other mountains. Let's hope this all goes through.
  • lotsoskiinglotsoskiing expert
    Posts: 666
    That would be a good move for Blandford, but how deep are Butternut's pockets?
  • newpylongnewpylong expert
    Posts: 502
    As long as a Brodie and Jimmy repeat is avoided it's probably a good deal.
  • obienickobienick expert
    Posts: 853
    MrMagic said:



    Where is the money going to come from to cover 100% of that place with snow? Both the build out and operating costs. It is very unrealistic. The key for a place like this is to cover core routes consistently until the client base can be built back up, if that is what is costing them visits.

    Maybe the new owners have that capital. You can not operate in southern new England with a marginal snow making system. Covering a few routes down seems to have been their operating procedures in the past and clearly it has not worked your not going to build a customer base by offering 4 routes down when everyone else in the region has close too or 100 percent snowmaking coverage with all their slopes and trails open


    AKA "the Magic problem"
  • podunk77podunk77 intermediate
    Posts: 25
    Looks like July 18th will be an important date.  If 2/3 of the membership don't vote to sell to Butternut, Blandford may close.  Butternut may not be the most challenging mountain, but they do a good job of covering it with snow and providing a consistent product, something that Blandford skiers can probably appreciate after the past couple years.

    http://www.newenglandskiindustry.com/viewstory.php?storyid=585
  • podunk77podunk77 intermediate
    Posts: 25
    Thanks, shpride, for that link.  On a related note, I heard a news story that Massachusetts is considering adding an exit to the Mass Pike, possibly at what is now the Blandford rest area.  Blandford will never be a destination area, but an exit would at least make the ski area more accessible to those beyond the immediate vicinity.
  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,653
    Perception is everything I guess. It's 2:04 from here to the ski area. It's 1:46 from here to a spot closest on the Pike to the area. So can't see where it would save all that much
    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,061
    podunk77 said:Thanks, shpride, for that link.  On a related note, I heard a news story that Massachusetts is considering adding an exit to the Mass Pike, possibly at what is now the Blandford rest area.  Blandford will never be a destination area, but an exit would at least make the ski area more accessible to those beyond the immediate vicinity.


    that's one thing about the Mass Pike, it's better at getting people
    out of the commonwealth than it is at getting them somewhere within the commonwealth   ;))
  • Posts: 1,927
    http://unofficialnetworks.com/2017/07/20/this-western-mass-ski-area-is-currently-for-sale/

    Check out the video attached to this article; the ski area footage is from Berkshire East and they still refer to Butternut as Butternut Basin.
    - Sam
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