Monthly Archives: November 2010

Squaw Valley ski resort sold

It was announced today that the ski resort founded in 1949 by the legendary Alexander Cushing will be acquired by KSL Capital Partners, a Colorado-based private equity firm with holdings in the travel and leisure business.

Recently appointed Squaw Valley President Andy Wirth will stay on. He called the purchase by KSL great news.

“The KSL team has already committed more than $50 million in capital improvements over the next three-to-five years here at Squaw,” said Wirth.

Winter weather expected to create havoc for holiday travelers

Storm watches and warnings blanketed several northern tier states and U.S. mountain areas on Monday as a frigid air mass spills south from Canada into the west and central U.S.

Freezing rain was noted across several states, while several inches of snow were forecast for the Dakotas, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, threatening some vacation ski areas. Avalanche warnings were in effect for some areas. Northern California also was under a winter weather advisory.

“Winter is here, just in time to screw up the holiday,” said National Weather Service spokesman Pat Slattery.

Sub-zero conditions will make conditions particularly harsh, Slattery said.

“We’re looking at a good part of the northern central Plains where temperatures are going to have a hard time getting above zero,” he said. “We’ve got the cold air just pouring in.”

In Grand Forks, North Dakota, the winter storm was already well underway. Six inches of snow fell over the weekend and more was falling Monday. A second storm moving in on Thanksgiving Day should drop another 3 or 4 inches of snow.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport also already has felt the winter weather impact with runway closures over the weekend.

Up to 24 inches of snow were seen falling in western Wyoming mountain areas this week. And in Des Moines, Iowa, freezing rain was forecast to turn roads into skating rinks.

China predicted to overtake U.S. as the world's largest hotel market

InterContinental Hotels Group PLC Tuesday said it plans to more than double the size of its operations in the key emerging markets of China, India and the Middle East in the next few years as it takes advantage of growing traveller numbers and global economic trends.

InterContinental, the world’s largest hotel operator by number of rooms, also said it believes China will overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest hotel market by 2025 and will become twice the size of the current U.S. market by 2039.

The company, which runs more than 4,500 hotels worldwide and counts Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Crowne Plaza among its brands, aims to open 38 new hotels across the Middle East in the next four to five years, to total 190 by 2020, up from 76 currently. In addition, it will open 150 hotels in India by 2020, up from 12 at present.

Former Hospital Transformed Into Hotel

After a $21 million renovation, a former psychiatric and rail-yard hospital has been transformed into a posh downtown hotel.

During an economic downturn, developers hope that the Hotel Parq Central can give an economic boost to the East Downtown District.

The hotel is in a historic building. The structure once housed the old Santa Fe Rail Hospital and Memorial Hospital. Memorial Hospital was a psychiatric hospital for children.

There are several rumors about ghosts roaming the halls, but developers said nothing unusual has been reported in the remodeled space.

Restaurants, shops, hair salons and housing developments are popping up around the East Downtown District.

The remodeling created 200 jobs, and the hotel currently employs 52 people. The hotel hopes to be an anchor for the community by encouraging nearby development.

The Hotel Parq Central has been open for about five weeks, but the official grand opening will be held this weekend.

Thanksgiving travel expected to be a crowded affair

Your Thanksgiving trip promises to be a crowded one with about 42.2 million people traveling at least 50 miles from home. That’s an increase of 11% from last year, when about 37.9 million Americans traveled during the holiday.

The travel group defines the 2010 Thanksgiving travel period as Wednesday, Nov. 24 to Sunday, Nov. 28.

The uptick in travel indicates people are feeling at least a bit better about their budgets than they were last year, when many families stayed home for the holiday as a way to save money. Improvements in disposable personal income, household net worth and a decrease in consumer debt have also helped.

The predicted double-digit jump in Thanksgiving is a notable upturn from last year’s nearly flat growth and a stunning decline of 25% in 2008. While the expected 11.4% increase this year is substantial, the 4.3 million additional travelers it represents account for less than half of the volume lost from 2007 through 2009. The Thanksgiving travel peak was 58.6 million in 2005.