Category Archives: Strategy

Winter is upon us

It has been a busy year for us here at Bramble Ski. 2013 has been a year of further growth and change. This is what we have been up to:

  • Again our portfolio has grown this year. We now operate a fantastic collection of almost 50 luxury chalets and apartments across four of Europe’s finest resorts.
  • We have expanded our operational portfolio to the resorts of Villars in Switzerland and Lech in Austria.
  • We have re-developed and re-branded our website (we hope you like it) focusing on delivering the information our clients need in the most beautiful and efficient manner possible. Every bit of information on our new website is never more than three clicks away.
  • In anticipation of the above, we set out looking for a sales and marketing manager in the spring, and the response to this search was incredible. In the end, we had two equally strong applicants and as a result our sales and marketing team grew from one person to three! Welcome on board Malcolm and Fiona.
  • We’re upping our service levels again this year and recruitment is always a key driver in this. We pride ourselves in being able to pull together a team of professionals who thrive on the satisfaction of providing impeccable service. We have literally received thousands of applications this year and are excited about the team we have in place.

Now, with the first snow storms past and our teams arriving at the end of the week for staff training, it is game-on. As we embark on another winter providing our guests with unrivaled service in the most beautiful properties located in some of the finest European ski resorts, our vision is clear:  to redefine the luxury chalet experience.

Bramble Ski closes Kicking Horse operation

It is with regret that we have decided to close our operation in Kicking Horse.  While we’ve managed to achieve annual growth in this boutique British Columbia resort, we have assessed the current profile of our business there, alongside forecasting future growth, and have reached the conclusion that our business operation there is unsustainable.

We’ve been in Kicking Horse for four years now and coming to this decision was difficult especially when weighing our emotional attachment to the resort and the region, and considering its potential. But a practical outlook and an analysis of the numbers ultimately outweighed our sentimental leanings.

Reflecting visitation numbers to Kicking Horse, our clientele have been heavily weighted on traffic from neighbouring Alberta who generally demand short weekend stays which has a detrimental impact on possible utilisation levels of the properties on our portfolio. With the fragile global economy and strengthening Canadian dollar traffic from the US and abroad has diminshed in the past four years. This is a trend that is apparent across Canada and has only exacerbated tough business conditions in Kicking Horse . The Canadian Tourism Commission’s sales and marketing plan for 2011 makes for some interesting reading and provides more detailed insight on this.

With our brand and product gaining a reputation in Europe as one of the most elite luxury operators in Verbier and St Anton, it makes sense for us to realign our efforts and resources to further stepping up our game in resorts that can support our standard level of service. We’ve recently added two stunning new properties to our Verbier portfolio, with a third to be added later this summer. The two new properties are:

  1. Chalet Sommet. Alpine Luxe Spa. Sleeps 12 and features a cinema, jacuzzi (indoor and outdoor), hammam, sauna and gym
  2. Chalet Jasmine. Alpine Luxe. Sleeps 12 with a cinema, indoor jacuzzi, sauna and wine cave. Chalet Jasmine is also ski-in.

We’ve always been, and will continue to be advocates of Kicking Horse as a phenomenal skiing destination. The accessability to terrain available for advanced skiers is quite simple extraordinary. For beginners and intermediates it is a fantastic learning environment with excellent, passionate instructors working against a backdrop of dramatic mountains landscapes. The key is that skiing is the focal objective of a holiday as the village is still in its infancy in terms of available amenities like nightclubs, coffee shops and shopping. We, unfortunately, have not been able to draw our core clientele of wealthy European families to the BC interior ski resort.

Kicking Horse is located 13km from the town of Golden which has been a hub for adventurous soles for decades. The town has always supported a concentrated number of mountain guides who cut their living from the numerous heli-ski and cat-ski operations in the area as well as private guided trips on mountain traverses and descents that are famous worldwide. Kicking Horse is a great resort as a base to strengthen legs and delve into the numerous back-country options available in the area. 

We’ve had an excellent relationship with the team at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and wish them well in their endeavours of expansion in the future.