Upstate NY Ski Resort Sparks Controversy with $200K Membership Revamp

Upstate NY Ski Resort Sparks Controversy with $200K Membership Revamp

Catskills Ski Resort’s Transformation Sparks Criticism Over Elite Rebranding

Windham Mountain Club, situated two hours north of NYC, is causing a stir after a massive renovation and rebranding effort aimed at appealing to the elite skiing community.

Led by Sandy Beall, the ownership group invested around $70 million into the project, offering exclusive memberships priced at $200,000 along with annual dues amounting to $9,000.

Rebranding Strategy and Local Reactions

The re-imagined resort aims to attract NYC’s affluent crowd, considering the increased interest in Catskills getaways during the pandemic.

However, Windham locals are wary, expressing concerns through a petition presented to town leaders back in September. The residents fear the resort’s transformation into an exclusive enclave for wealthy out-of-town families, limiting access to locals.

Revamped Amenities and Local Impact

As part of the resort’s transformation, culinary offerings are being overhauled with upscale dining options like sushi and Italian cuisine.

Prices for menu items are notably higher, sparking worries about affordability for both locals and longtime seasonal visitors.

Changing Dynamics and Skepticism

While slope access was previously accessible without a membership, the evolving business model now emphasizes limited public access to manage overcrowding.

Locals remain skeptical about assurances of continued mountain access, fearing the exclusivity might inhibit community access to the mountain, leading to rising prices and fewer visitors frequenting local businesses.

Uncertainty and Differing Perspectives

Local entrepreneurs express concern about the potential impact on their businesses due to the anticipated rise in prices. Some residents doubt the suitability of the resort’s transformation for the clientele it aims to attract, while others are cautiously optimistic, awaiting the actual implementation of the resort’s plans.

Final Thoughts and Future Prospects

The community remains divided, with some apprehensive about the changing dynamics and others hopeful about the resort’s upscale additions.

The ongoing ski season sees some immediate changes in pricing, raising concerns about affordability and community accessibility. Overall, the transformation’s long-term effects on the local economy and visitor demographics remain uncertain.

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