Ski Area Redevelopment Planned for Bear Valley
Bear Valley, CA (Saturday, October 29, 2005) - Just months following its July acquisition by Avon, Colo.-based Dundee Realty USA, operator of Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, redevelopment plans are being generated for central California's Bear Valley ski and snowboard resort.
Resort officials have merged accommodation, real estate and ski area operations, which previously functioned as disjointed entities. The new vision for Bear Valley is to improve and redevelop the ski area, build a lift that connects the Village to the Mountain and construct new condominiums and retail space in the village at the base of the lift.
The ski resort was previously owned by the Bottomley family, which purchased it in 1991. Bear Valley, first called Mt. Reba, became a ski resort in the late 1960s. Dundee Realty USA is a branch of Toronto-based Dundee Realty Corp.
Bear Valley Mountain Resort’s new COO, Jim Gentling, who served for eight years as A-Basin's GM, says revitalization plans are already underway. "In just 90 days we've spent over a half-million dollars on the sunroom remodel, new snow cats, new buses and other maintenance programs," Gentling noted. "In addition, ski area departments managers are participating in intensive training and orientation programs to lead a seasonal staff with a fresh commitment to superior customer service."
In addition to new carpet, paint, furniture and cozy décor accents, Bear Valley has chosen a historical preservation and pictorial theme to don the sunroom walls. Staff has reached out to the greater Bear Valley community to search through personal archives and contribute to the new interior design direction with photos, news clippings, paintings or artwork from Bear Valley (or Mt. Reba), vintage 1979 or earlier. The goal is to inspire patrons of the mountain with images of the past, while creating a permanent tribute to Bear Valley’s early development.
These initial upgrades are just the beginning of a broad master plan to redevelop the area to transition from a day use area to a destination resort via development of residential and commercial properties in the Village. The land was zoned accordingly under the Master Plan of 1978 that includes 500 motel and condominium units, a second commercial center and a chairlift from the village to the ski resort, and has been waiting for the right circumstances and the right people ever since. Dundee will be partnering with local landowner, Chuck Toeniskoetter who stated, “I have been looking for the right team to develop the land I own in the Village for many years. What makes this work is a common vision to improve the ski area in concert with the development in the Village. The first and very important aspect of this will be to construct a lift from the Valley floor in the Village to the ski mountain. We could never get this done when the ski area and the land were held in different hands.”
“We see the ski area benefiting from future planned improvements much like Arapahoe Basin did when we bought it," stated Greg Finch, Executive Vice President, Dundee Realty USA. "We believe we have the capital, a plan and the people in place to continue to improve and grow the operation. Although the ski area does have approved expansion plans, our first order will be to re-organize and re-fit the existing organization and facilities."
Bear Valley is located in the Stanislaus National Forest, approximately 180 miles due east of San Jose in the central Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of California. The area boasts 1,280 acres of mostly intermediate and advanced, open bowl skiing and snowboarding. Ten lifts serve 67 trails with a vertical drop of 1,900 feet, and the ski area attracts an average of about 160,000 skiers and snowboarders each year.
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