Golf and Tennis housing will benefit Vail Shareholders, and that’s about it.
Grand Teton Lodge Company’s Vice President Alex Klein writes a letter in support of a master plan amendment that, among other things, would increase the size of buildings to be built on Spring Gulch Road within the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Community by five-fold, essentially as a way of supporting the logistics — personnel, supplies and materials — of its operations in the park that have nothing to do with Golf and Tennis.
Let’s peel the onion a bit here. First, Grand Teton Lodge Company is Vail Resorts, a NYSE company with a market cap of over $9 billion. And Vail Resorts owns both Grand Teton Lodge Company and Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis, Inc., the former being the manager of Golf and Tennis and the entity that actually submitted the proposal for the amendment to the master plan.
They are both Vail Resorts; let’s not let cute corporate sub-names get in the way of that reality. And what Vail Resorts is doing is creating corporate synergies — it is simply centralizing its materials and personnel in one place and saving overhead and construction costs. It’s cheaper that way; this is simple corporate cost-cutting.
There is absolutely nothing here that is being done for the Golf and Tennis community, and nothing here that will benefit the Golf and Tennis community. Klein’s letter is a great example of “corporate-speak” — and it’s what Vail Resorts does very well. If, God forbid, they were to take over operations at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, they would probably be arguing that parking snocats in the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis facility would be good for all of us.
Why is the Golf and Tennis community against this? Because we want that facility to be what it was sized and designed to be — a support facility for Golf and Tennis, and not for the corporate affiliates of Golf and Tennis. We have tremendous respect and affection for the employees of Golf and Tennis, and have tried for years to convince Vail Resorts to build decent seasonal housing for those individuals.
Yet Vail doesn’t want to do that — Vail wants to make a profit here and consolidate its operations. It’s wrong, it’s against what Vail itself initially proposed in the master plan, and it’s an affront to the entire community for Vail to argue otherwise.
Vail Resorts made over $300 million in profits last year, and is already enjoying a 15% increase in season ticket sales for the upcoming season.
Can it afford to construct decent housing for seasonal employees at the park facilities it manages? Absolutely.
Would that be better for those employees, the traffic in the Park and the community if they were housed on-site? Absolutely.
Does it need to place off site housing and warehouse facilities at JHG&T? Absolutely not.
Don’t let Vail Resorts pull the wool over our eyes and fashion a blatant corporate synergies effort into something that is “good for the community.” Vail is doing what’s good for its shareholders, not us.