Hancock, Mass. (press release) - Brodie Mountain will not operate as a ski area next winter. Instead, according to owner Brian Fairbank, the snowtubing operation at the resort will be expanded and additional winter activities, including snowshoeing, will be added.
The lodging operations at Brodie will continue on a year-round basis, as before.
Fairbank cited several reasons for the cessation of skiing. Plans to bring in a development partner collapsed in May. Early season ticket sales fell 50%, compared to year-ago sales. And a state grant for road improvements is "in limbo."
"When my partner and I purchased BrodieMountain in December 1999, we created it as an independent corporation thathad to survive on its own financially," Fairbank said. "We plan to do everything possible tohave this resort property be an asset to Berkshire County tourism for thelong haul and are going to continue in our effort to see that through.
The Brodie website today contains the following statement:
Why Brodie Mountain is suspending ski operations and expanding tubing for 2002/2003:
In our continuing evaluation of short- and long-term strategies at Brodie Mountain, we have had to do an analysis of what role Brodie Mountain should play this coming winter and for the future. While Brodie will always have a place in the resort community of Northern Berkshire County, its viability as a ski area can not currently be sustained given the competitive nature of the ski industry, the challenges of the weather (especially in recent years) and the lack of capital investment in the resort for many years.
Brodie has an opportunity to provide an amenity not currently available in our region, especially given its prime location on a major thoroughfare, Route 7. We see Brodie Mountain's role focusing on providing non-ski winter recreation for the time being. To that end, we plan to expand the snow tubing operation at the resort for this coming winter to include Matt's Chairlift, which will be used for two new, longer snowtubing runs along with the existing handle tow. We are also adding snow shoeing and are considering other winter activities. The lodging operations at Brodie Mountain will continue on a year-round basis. We will continue to evaluate different options for services at Brodie Mountain as we look at changing recreation trends and demands.
We fully intend to pursue development at Brodie Mountain in the future. Even with tremendous support from the Town of New Ashford and the State, the permitting process has taken longer than expected. The Brodie revitalization plan cannot get underway until at least the summer of 2003. The needed state grant for the construction of a public road through the resort has been delayed for numerous reasons and the timing for approval of various permits just will not make it for this year's construction season. The hoped-for development partner this past spring did not materialize.
James Vandyke will continue as the Vice-President/COO of Brodie Mountain. He and his management team will continue to manage the day-to-day operations as well as the maintenance of the facility, which includes routine upkeep and repairs to the ski lifts, snowmaking and grooming equipment so that Brodie will be able operate as a ski resort again in the future. Vandyke will also take the lead in the continued planning and permitting process.
During the past three winters, Brodie's facilities have required extensive repairs and maintenance, which have created tremendous unforeseen expenses each year. Compliance issues with local and state agencies, which arose as a result of the change in ownership, proved very costly as well. Brodie Mountain season ticket sales this spring have been considerably less than we anticipated. The most fiscally responsible decision that could be made was to put the ski operations at Brodie in hiatus for the coming season. This reduces the risk of continued negative cash flows and preserves tthe potential for development in Brodie's future. When Brodie was purchased in November 1999, it was created as a stand-alone corporation that had to function as an independent entity responsible for itself fiscally; it is not a subsidiary of Jiminy Peak.
Thank you for your support of Brodie Mountain these past few years. We are looking forward to a future where Brodie can continue to grow and provide year-round entertainment for families in the Berkshires while remaining viable as a company. We hope that you are able to join us to snowtube or snowshoe this winter at Brodie Mountain and ski or snowboard at Jiminy Peak.