Four more days till the $99 season pass sale ends….we’ve had the same goal for the past 6 ski seasons. Sell enough season passes in March to cover next winters liability and workers comp insurance or we cant open….your check does not get deposited till July 15th and if we dont sell enough passes all of the checks get returned. As of today we are short of the goal.
At the Wisconsin Restaurant Association convention in Milwaukee when a chocolate cup cake named Chuck stopped me to ask about our $99 Season Pass Sale
SIX MORE DAYS TILL THE $99 SEASON PASS SALE ENDS. APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD FROM OUR WEB PAGE AT CAMP10SKIANDSNOWBOARD.COM
So what were the take aways and what can we expect next winter ? We wont be overextending resources and time…doing what we did last fall puts a lot of that behind us. The goal completion targets for next winter are:(1) Complete the rebuild of the Large Groomer which now only needs the addition of two foam filled track tires and some minor electrical work (wiring the windshield wipers, installing the new tachometer) plus getting the brake linings replaced- we already have the new linings(2) Complete the installation of three pole mounted snowmaking machines on Snowdallion Run- these were placed in position during the winter ops and are now 90% complete. (3) get some more of the snowmaking machines purchased last summer “on Stream” – we have three more machines with only relatively minor repairs and parts replacements needed. (4) complete the work on the Blue T Bar so we can open up three additional runs. This work is very close to being completed and we should be able to do lift tests by mid summer. This is good for everyone and a tremendously lighter project load than we were looking at last fall. These goals are very very realistic and reachable. Now the only question is will we sell enough season passes to address the big jump we experienced in insurance costs ? Our March Sale has 10 days to go and we are at 35% of needed pass sales.
The Achillies Heal….and what couldnt get worse did. Time turned out to be our biggest enemy…not time itself just the part about not having enough of it. The installation of new track belts on the small groomer- took f o r e v e r! The installation time was bad enough but that delayed even further because the supplier incorrectly drilled 4 of the 8 belts (the high strength rubber belts are predrilled for the over 2000 nuts and bolts used to bolt them onto the track grousers). Finally in the first week of December the track belt project was completed….why was this so critical? The small groomer is needed to move and position snowmaking machines. Finally , the belts came back, we got them installed, and were able to turn the snowmaking machines on. Then 2 days into snowmaking we blew all of the fuses in our main 400 amp fusebox….we were so enthusiastic about our vastly improved water supply and the addition of more snowguns to the fleet that we neglected to monitor power consumption and for the only time in 15 years we blew the fuses.Now these little puppies arnt the kind of fuses you can run into Menards and pick up. So a hasty round trip to Milwaukee was required and 3 fuses plus a spare was purchased at an Electrical Supply House for $125 each…yep $475 for a set of fuses. Then it was playing cat and mouse with the weather waiting for 26 degree and colder temperatures…..Dec 17 was getting closer and closer…finally we get the temps and start cranking out more snow. The tower mounted recently purchased SMI320’s were sending out beautiful plumes of snow…except as we learned later the plumes were too high in moisture content…remember though we had used SMI320’s for years they were ground units on carriages with the snowgun actually about 8 feet above the ground. The tower units were the same guns except mounted on poles with the snowgun about 30 feet above the ground. Greater height-more hang time for the water particales-greater snow production, right? We were running out of time so an executive decision was made to push the through put……wrong decision, the setting was too open and as a result we generated some spectacular piles of snow that was similar to concrete except white. I wont name names but the exec was a short white haired guy. Achilies heel number 3 not enough time to go through a proper learning curve. The big groomer wasnt ready to go (Time …or not enough of it), which meant that even if we could push the piles there wasn’t enough time to use the pulverize attachments to break up the chunks which would have resulted in some really challenging skiing. We did pick up some fresh snow and this was machine packed on top of the man made stuff and lo and behold we opened on Dec 17th…a really nice day with a bit of sun and moderate temperatures and a very small turnout. Then on Dec 18th we got bit again as the temp really dropped and we knew it would be foolish to open. But Christmas week was only 7 days away…the forcast was great and some we knew cash flow would improve…..or would it? Though the forecast for the critcal Christmas week looked pretty good on the 10 day forcast (we use a paid forecasting service) it rapidly changed on Dec 24th and 25th with warm temperatures and rain. Dec 26th and Dec 27th were terrible operating days and the Christmas week sales were off by 50%. The oft postponed purchase of the foam filled $650 Large Groomer tires couldnt be made…we were now in survival mode. The weather for the rest of the ski season was like a yo yo….up and down through the whole winter. Cash flow was certainly effected as the skiing public just wasnt that exited about skiing (this was a problem in many areas of the Midwest). Two very sever thaws hit us in January….fortunately the man made base was deep enough to easily get us through the first thaw. The second thaw got dicey with big bare spots showing up at the ottom of a key run. We were able to use the big groomer and push enough snow..
The Achilles Heal(s) of last winter….and what can be done about them moving forward. We started out behind the 8 ball with not enough preseason time-purchase of the snownaking machine package was great for us (and the future) but almost buried us with the amount of time it took for obtaining, evaluating, preparing, and partially installing. It also made it necessary to really improve our power control center for the entire snowmaking system. And then we, as part of the snowmaking system upgrade, undertook a time intensive and expensive complete replacement of our pipeline from the river pump station to the high capacity high pressure vertical pump station. Running 400 feet of 6 inch pipe line required roughing out a new pathway with excavation equipment before the installation even could begin then trailering the 400 feet of pipe, expansion joints, and fittings up from Milwaukee. As rough as this total package was to complete we immediately saw results this past winter and can expect more next winter as more of the machines come on stream. But the financial and time requirements pushed us to the edge. In the bigger picture it is all good. We also, as we pointed out earlier, undertook a complete replacement of all of the track belts, mounting hardware, and track guided rebuilding on our small groomer-had to be done no choice. But again the time and financial drain had us at the edge. In between all of that we also had to complete a very detailed 7 year “load test” on our chair lift. And this prompted the decision to add 18 more chairs to the chair lift (you have to do the load test in with the chair set up that you actually plan to run). This in turn required special welding and set up of a number of additional chairs as well as acquisition and testing of the up to date grips to hold the chairs on the cable. Again more time and money that got us closer to the edge. But all great stuff for now and future. And in between all of that we kept working on our large grooming machine. Our large grooming machine had extensive engine and transmission work the previous year in what amounted to a complete rebuild by Driveable Performance. But we still had cooling system problems and secondary electrical system issues. Solving the cooling system was a technical nightmare but finally was completed. The electrical work entailed a replacement of almost all gages and switches. The first Achilles heal struck in late November. Our insurance underwriter decide to exit the ski area underwriting market and informed us of this about a week before our policy expiration date. After a mad scramble and some creative financial work ( a credit card) we found another underwriter …an unbudgeted unexpected double the premium cost underwriter. We were now “broke” and running on fumes. The last and very critical step with the Large Groomer called for the replacement of the two front track guide tires with foam filled tires. The roughly $650 expenditure may as well have been $65000 as we were out funds and the credit card was groaning. But we were opening on Dec 17 and Christmas week was a week later…the forecast looked good. The $650 short fall and what happend next….see our next post.
March is flying by….we have reached 20% of goal. For the past six years we have established our reopening decisions based on sufficient season pass sales in March to cover required insurances. Checks should be dated July 15th and the policy is either to deposit them (ie we had sufficient pass sales) or return the checks. We have always met goal by the end of March but this year after the Midwest had an up and down winter its a hard call.
How well did last summer/fall projects work out ? Snowmaking- the new low pressure river pipe line was a resounding success. All of the problems related to the old dual line 4 inch system were totally eliminated and river pump reliability/efficiency improved tremendously. Installation of the snowmaking guns acquired in the fall was only partially successful because we just had too much to do and too little time to do it. The completely installed 3 tower units gave us a learning experience and verified that this is definitely going to be a major plus factor for us. As we get the other nine units installed and running we can expect even better coverage and more consistent base build. Upgrading the two primary 480 volt 3 phase electrical lines (these power the snowmaking machines) from 100 amp each to 200amp each gave us the ability to run a lot more snowmaking machines. Having more water available due to the river pipe line upgrade, having more electricity available due to the electric upgrade, and haveing more snowmaking capability via the machine components purchased last fall did increase our capability this winter…and will increase it even more as more of the machines are brought on line. Lift Operations: Adding the 18 additional chairs got us back to almost a zero lift line situation which was a nice plus. We did our special 7 year l load test after installing the additional chairs to maintain our in code status. Rope tow tension terminal modifications brought our rope twist/wear control into limits and improved the overall function. Red T Bar safety circuit improvements removed some past headaches. Overall for lift operations ? No down time or breakdowns and increased lift capacity. Grooming- ouch-we did make some terrific strides with our workhorse “small groomer” with brand new track belting. The prior winter we were actually splicing in some belting band aids to keep the machine running and even those were very unreliable. So we made a $4000 investment in all new belts and mounting hardware. We had zero belt problems all winter so this was definitely a success. Our large groomer got a lot of work on the electrical system and the compactor bar unit was brought up to full function…but there were still issues to resolve. Great strides but still not the level of performance that we are after. We’ll go over the Achilies heel problems and what we will be doing about them in the next post. Only 15 more days till the end of the $99 season pass sale.
Last years overoptimistic projects will really start to bear fruit this year. We actually spent more money out of pocket than the total gross receipts of the business. We spent those dollars because some unexpected opportunities made it a no brainier. We also spent dollars on things that had to be addressed These dollars did not go to labor or contractors but went to the actual acquisition of pieces and parts. Result ? Brand new tracks on our small groomer, extensive electrical rework of the large groomer, a brand new higher capacity low pressure feed pipe line for our snowmaking system, acquisition of a snowmaker and snowmaker parts package that will more than double the size of our snowmaking capablity when fully utilized, pipe line extensions-control valve replacements to enable snowmaking on “Snowdallion”, full installation of 3 tower mounted snowmakers and partial installation of 3 more,and the of addition of 18 chairs to our chairlift significantly increasing its capacity, modifications to our rope tow which dramatically improved performance, minor but critical improvements to out Red T Bar to improve safety circuit reliability. In our next two posts we’ll talk about how well these things worked out, what remains tp be done, and what was the Achilles heel of this winter. And a season pass is only $99 till March 31st…..we’re doing our part to keep a local community ski area going.
Sure…..we spend the weekend taking down our T Bar lift, spooling up the rope tow rope and putting it away, getting the chairlift mothballed because our ski season is over THEN driving home through a blizzard ! Just another crazy episode in this winters unpredictable weather. Had lunch at the hill with a couple of visitors on Saturday and a mini party lunch with about another 20 on Sunday….they had big appetites and helped reduce the food inventory – yeah team! A few more season pass sales took place but we’ve still got a long way to go and only 18 days left to do it, will we make it?
Well we survived major thaws in January and February with great snow conditions but the March thaw did us in. Snow conditions deteriorated very rapidly resulting in our closure. We thank all of our customers, season pass holders, staff, and ski patrol for having fun with us this winter. We will have the cafeteria open this weekend from noon till 1:30 Saturday and Sunday….come out and buy a lunch, share some smiles! We’ll also be taking season pass renewals and new pass sales for those inclined…the Pass Sale of $99 is in progress
A big mistake we made last fall was in starting a number of good projects that we couldn’t quite get finished….but we did manage to keep working on those projects through the winter so we would be in even better shape for next winter. On March 3rd we had Portable Welding Company come in to weld up the tower modification on the Blue T Bar. This should be the last major hurdle to bringing the West T Bar back in operation for next ski season and it will open up 3 advanced runs.
Scout Troop 400 Having a Fun Day at Camp 10 Ski Area March 4th
March Madness- Great Snow Conditions- $20 lift ticket March 4th and 5th….wear a smile and have a blast.
The 2017-2018 $99 Season Pass Sale is Underway. Buy now and pay for it in July….sort of. Did you know that our season pass holders get 50% discounts on lift tickets at some of the best ski areas in the Midwest …like Powderhorn, Tyrol Basin, Mnt LaCross, Norway Mnt, Sunburst and Porcupine Mnt . Did you know that our season pass holders get great discounts in the Dells? Did you know that there are 30 ski areas in Wisconsin and we are the ninth largest ? Did you know that typically we have some of the best snow conditions in the State thanks to our being on the southern edge of the Lake Superior snow belt – and thats on top of the snow that we make. Did you know that we serve the best Turkey Chili in the State….dont know what that has to do with season passes but what the heck.
Saturday Feb 25th…Happy Faces …Great Snow Conditions…Hard to believe this is two days after the Great February Thaw…..all of that early snowmaking paid off…especially when we just got about 9 inches of fresh stuff…better put a trip to Camp 10 Ski Area on your agenda for next weekend.
We had six days with above freezing temps and a number of those days reached 50+….but its amazing what 6 inches of fresh snow can do over our man made snow base. Plus we are supposed to get more snow this afternoon and tonight. Lets welcome back winter with $20 lift tickets this weekends.
6 inches of new snow overnight, initial grooming this morning, then at 2pm….come ski with us on Saturday and Sunday
We were in the running but just learned that our asking price was too high. Vail Resorts just purchased Mt.Snow Ski Area for $50 million dollars…..I knew we should have lowered our asking price.
Just received photo updates on the snow condition after last nights heavy rainfall….the snow looked much better than anticipated….we are still in the running….today and Wed will still be warm temps but the forecast is for 9 plus inches of new snow Thursday evening through all day Friday.
Snowdallion Ski Run at Camp 10 Ski Area picture taken just before opening on Sunday 2-19-2017…..yes we have snow!
Saturday Feb 17- we had a great day of skiing while all of the boo birds stayed home thinking there wasnt any snow or tried to go snowmobiling with water wings. Yep it got warm, really warm! Temps hit 57 degrees, snow softened up but our snow cover was in great shape. We are open Sunday from 9:30 till 4 pm and expect another great day. Come join us, enjoy the spring skiing in February cause its going to get cold again soon.
We’ve been getting a number of phone calls from Chicago are folks planning on coming to Camp 10 Ski Area in the Northwoods this weekend. They had planned snowmobiling and skiing and were very glad to hear that we had made a lot of snow earlier in the season.
January 30 2015
West Side Blue T Bar Opens This Weekend.
The Blue T Bar will resume alternate operations to open up 4 additional runs and trails. The addition of the West side runs to the Chair Lift runs, beginner area tow, and East Side T Bar provides a wide variety of great runs.
January 05 2015
Saturday was a boomer as everyone was anticipating a cold day on Sunday. Well, Sunday was cold
(it would have been ok but the wind made it a bit tough)
Even at that we had a number of season pass holders out and some new visitors.
So it eas still a good close out of Christmas Week.
Temperature Monday morning at 7 am was minus 23 with a minus 45 wind chill.
We now go to our weekend operation where we will be open weekends (Sat & Sun) from 9:30- 4:00 pm.
January 02 2015
A family group that has been part of the Camp 10 fabric since 1979. They represent part of what I really love about owning the place… watching families grow up and being a small part of their lives. Every year they come out from Washington DC and share some laughs and good times.
January 01 2015
Jan 1st started off the year for us with a good turnout and some really good ski conditions.
December 31 2014
At Camp 10 Ski Area our customers come first in everything we do yet as this year winds down I’d also like to acknowledge another very important group that helps make this whole thing possible….our employees. Each year I’ve been blessed with a good crew and its happened once again this year. We all enjoy helping all of you have a great day.
Happy New Year and come ski (or snowboard ) with us again in 2015.
Wishing you the best in 2015
December 29 2014
December 29 2014
This means that you want to add an extra layer (several thin layers are better than one extra thick one) ditto on the socks….sometimes folks try to wear two layers of extra thick socks and that can actually make you colder by restricting circulation in your feet when stuffed into a ski boot. How’s that for a bunch of pleasant info? We should be seeing a tad more sunshine and minimal winds today which always makes the day a bit more special. Hay Packer fans….we won a bye…lets hope the extra time helps Rogers leg and the rest of the Packers crew gets all rested and ready
December 27 2014
Wow, we’re two days into holiday week and really having fun greeting old friends and making new ones! We’ve had families in from as far south as Naples FL, as far east as Washington DC, and scads of places in between. We are seeing Pass Perks families from some of our “sister” ski areas. Plus we are meeting a number of locals for the first time at Camp 10. The snow conditions received a nice boost with about 7 inches of snow in the past 18 hours (this was on top of our 9 to 30 inch base). Brad, Jason and Gren teamed up for some patrol stuff when needed (all ended well) and in general its been a great way to start holiday week
December 24 2014
Wishing you and yours a very joyful Merry Christmas and happy holidays. I hope all of you are able to relax and just enjoy this special time.
December 13 2014
Picked up replacement kitchen deep fryer, ordered a ring and pinion gear for the Spryte Groomer from California, the oil leak in the LMC2100 required a bit of gymnastics and about 8 hrs. work but its done, and we did get some more snow so keep up the snow base. Oh yeah, also ordered a new intercom for one of the ski lifts. All in all, it was a good day!
December 22 2014
Lets see, we need to get a new kitchen deep fryer, a ring and pinion gear for the Spryte Groomer, fix an oil leak on the LMC2100, get a new intercome set for one of the lifts, and of course we need to continue the snow dances. We ran training sessions for the new lift operators Sunday afternoon where they rotated through all the lift stations which will be a big help for the busy Christmas week.
We are going to be open daily Dec 26 through Jan 4th.
The refurbished wood burning furnace is working great (thanks Chris) and does a good job of supplementing our high efficiency LP furnace.
All in all a wonderful start to what looks like a fun season for all of us.
December 16 2014
December 13 2014
December 11 2014
Sunday the 14th is looking very questionable.
The forecast for Sunday is 38-40 degrees with rain throughout the day.
Skiing in those conditions would result in quite a bit of iceing as the Sunday night temps dropped below freezing.
December 10 2014
We will be wrapping up some of the smaller things this week like the final tweeks on the rope tow, chair lift brake tests, another grooming session, and clearing up the last of the things to make the lodge look more like a ski lodge than a maintenance building (it will happen!).
Thanks to members of the King family the wood burning furnace will be back in use to supplement our high efficiency LP Furnace for a bit more lodge comfort. Corry and Keiths work on the small groomer has made a major improvement (this is stuff above and beyond the major transmission rebuild) so all is looking well. We’ve got some new employees this year and they had the first phase of training last Friday with another training session planned for Friday the 12th.
The overwhelming reason that we are here is to provide you, our guests, a fun enjoyable day whether your out at the area on your own, with friends, or with family, we want you to have a great time.
Our mission statement has always been quite simple ” We take care of our customers and they will take care of us.” we have certainly seen this demonstrated more than ever over the past year where we have had our biggest growth in season pass holders and an unbelievable amount of project help from many passholders and community members.
Kudos to all- we’ll do our best to help make you proud of Wisconsins biggest little ski area.
December 5 2014
After much weeping and wailing and pacing the floor we have decided to stay with the original plan of opening on Saturday Dec 13.
With the snowmaking of the past two days and what’s happening tonight it would be a very difficult time crunch to have every thing as it should be by Dec 6th.
We tried hard but close only counts in horseshoes and we want all of our loyal customers to have the best experience possible, so start planning for Dec 13th.
December 4 2014
Our new snowmaking crew did very well and the system ran without a hitch.
Couple more things to do and we’ll be able to kick off the season.
Still shooting for Saturday.
November 2014- Season Pass Holder Update
Each Camp 10 Season Pass Holder may use a 50% discount coupon for Granite Peak.
The coupon may be used anytime after Jan 1st and must be presented with the Camp 10 current season laminated photo id pass. The Granite Peak ticket personnel will also punch a designated area on your season pass. This perk is a one time perk whereas all of the other perks are multiple usage.
The current season pass sale price is now $160 . The regular season pass price of $185 goes into effect on December 1st
We’ve discovered that using Facebook is a very quick way of getting information out to our skiers and snowboarders.
Find us by going to Facebook/camp10skiarea. Once you’ve found us click on a “Like” button and that automatically gets you the updates and news as we post them.
Thanks again to the wonderful help and support from our Season Pass Holders!
All of our customers are important to us but the season pass holders are that extra special group that makes much of what we do possible.
July 2014 Season Pass Holder Newsletter
Wow, the year of strange weather continues- was up at the ski area a week or so back and it almost got cold enough (38F Tomahawk) one night to make snow.
We’ve started depositing all of your wonderful season pass checks and that reminds me to once again thank all of you for your fine support. You don’t know how much of a stress relief it is to know that we have enough funds in July to cover those big insurance bills that come due in November/December. It puts me in the position to concentrate on making things better instead of worrying about can we or how will we. Can’t thank all of you enough and we’ll certainly do our best to show it with actions.
And as for actions- we did have a surplus of about $5000 from last winter- and that was a very pleasant surprise considering the extreme cold. Those monies plus an additional $2000 from a tax refund all went back into the operation: About $2500 into a completely refurbished Ford 391 engine for our heavy duty Packmaster Groomer, $1500 into a snowmaking machine motor rebuild by L&S Electric, $1000 into a transmission rebuild for our smaller Spryte Groomer, and $1500 for new wiring/new main motor shaft bearing/new rollback detector Morse clutch/, new e brake hydraulic cylinder/new service brake pads/new emergency brake pads, and $500 for concrete repairs on our red T Bar. All of the monies spent went for the purchase of parts and materials…my labor was donated and the labor from our mechanic & electrician gets paid out of cash flow this winter.
We feel that the work on the groomers was particularly important: the grooming technique continued to improve but then in mid February we lost both grooming machines so the actions/expenditures now are to correct those problems and give us better equipment than we had to begin with. Most of the work in the Chair Lift drive terminal was to improve reliability (which has been good) and complete some key maintenance items. The chair lift work also allowed us to eliminate some idiosyncrasies and get our new maintenance (Matt) really up to snuff on the fairly complex safety circuit system.
We are also doing selective logging with Packaging Corporation of America. (Dean and his crew are paying particular attention to the aesthetics of the ski area). The funds from this work is going towards paying off some heavy credit card funding we had to use in the two winters before this one (not losses on operations but expenditures for upgrades and improvements that couldn’t be funded from operations). All of this puts us in a stronger position going forward.
The ski patrol has been busy with some fund raising stuff and as a result we hope to be in the position of having four fully equipped rescue toboggan strategically located by each lift and in their own weatherized containers. The toboggans were donated by the Olympia Patrol last fall but we have to provide backboards and trauma kits plus build the shelters.
A few of our season pass holders suggested setting up a volunteer day where volunteers could lend a hand with some things like painting and lodge prep. We will pick a date in September and let everyone know for those that might want to help.
Speaking of help…we will be looking for some ski instructors. Ski Instructors actually get paid of all things! I’m thinking that if we could have a half dozen instructors we could have a fairly loose informal schedule that gives us coverage and isn’t burdensome for anyone. We currently have three of our high school gals who are going to be doing a tiny tots program, plus one employee who also pinch hits as an instructor. When there is a lesson the pay ranges from $9 to $20 for the lesson. Qualifications – should be a good intermediate level skier with good communication skills. We’ve got some teaching videos, we’ll have an on snow teaching clinic or two, plus this year we have a Level 3 PSIA instructor who has volunteered to meet with the instructor group for some instructor coaching.
National Ski Patrol: If anyone has an interest- will be running a course this winter at Camp 10 most likely from 3-4:30 each Saturday during ski season, plus there would be some at home studying and some over the internet assignments. Costs (to NSP are about $150 for the course fee (NSP), books and materials. Contact Gren if interested/need more info etc. This year Patrick Cork has transferred to our patrol from Bruel, and Barb Young should have completed her summer course and received qualifications bringing our patrol up to eleven patrollers. We can take up to four more.
Employees: We will be needing approximately 10 ski lift operators – so if you know of anyone have them contact Gren(they need to be 17+ years of age).
Hope you are all having a G r e a t summer!
Pres/GM Camp 10 Ski Area