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Tim Cohee Lays Out His Vision for Bear Valley

Many thanks to Tim Cohee of California Mountain Resort Company (one of Bear Valley Resort and Lodge’s new owners; read the Cub Reporter interview) and to the 60+ community members who joined BVRI’s Zoom meeting on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023!

Tim was VERY candid, funny, and inspiring β€” and left us with a lot of food for thought. If you missed the meeting, here are some ways to catch up:

Read the just-the-facts minutes by BVRI Secretary Eric Jung

Watch the Zoom recording of Tim’s session (featuring a not-very-accurate auto-transcript):

A few highlights

⛷️ Why they’re intent on keeping Grizzly Bowl open (15 min): “Skyline had the false impression that it’s the intermediate skier that makes the day. And that’s simply not true…The best skier or rider drives where people go; everybody else follows.”

🎨 On first steps (19 min): “The day lodge is being cleaned up. You may have noticed all the colors were gross in that lodge. So, colors matter. Music matters, speed matters, being able to get a drink or something to eat matters, music on the mountain matters, having a fun facility on top of the mountain matters, having all the restaurants, Creekside, Grizzly, Sky High, the general store [open] matters.”

❌ On the all-season gondola idea (22 min): “The plan that Skyline put forward is never going to happen.”

βœ… Why they’re considering a two-stage lift from the village (in which homeowners possibly pay for the first leg) to Sunrise Bowl (24 min): “So the lift that comes out of the village is really a community lift. It doesn’t really change the ski area at all. It doesn’t drive business for us.”

❌ On the Forever Pass (42 min): “The worst marketing idea I’ve ever heard in my entire life….that is costing the company an unbelievable amount of money. And we, as new owners, purchasing a resort that has zero net income, cannot afford that.”

πŸ’° On pricing and the half-day pass (52 min): “We don’t have a half day pass… the logic was, Skyline said that if somebody was going to show up to go skiing regardless of time of day, that they were willing to pay anything. And I said, ‘Yeah, you’re the only guy in America that thinks that.’ So that’s super lame, so that’ll change…I think pricing was a little aggressive.”

🦸🏻 On retaining the management team (53 min): “One of the things that was very impressive to us was the quality of the management team there… lot of talent, a lot of education, lot of experience just simply, insanely frustrated by the ownership. [A]nybody on this call who’s been part of a bad organization, underfunded absentee ownership… knows what I’m talking about. It’s an unpleasant experience. I mean, I would never have stuck around in that environment, not in a million years.”

πŸš™ On siphoning off Bay Area traffic from Tahoe (59 min): “If we can just get Bear Valley on track β€” it’s the closest, easiest move for somebody to vacate Lake Tahoe. So that’s where we think that the win is here, is that we run a good ski area. We do some good things, we create some social value, we give it experience, we give it life. And people are gonna say, ‘You know what? I’m just over [Tahoe]. I’m just over it.’ And you’re gonna see us be very aggressive in the marketing front on that front.”

Next BVRI Board Meeting:

Date: Aug. 31

Time: 4pm

Location: In person in Bear Valley, possibly hybrid/Zoom. Details to follow.

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