We’re here to tell you, the birthplace of competitive snowboarding is not dead. Rumors are just that. Rumors, and the individuals in the snowsports community appear to be a speculative bunch. In addition to rumor, allegations were swirling around that Cannonsburg Ski Area was snatching up Pando Winter Sports Park in order to make a play on part of Cannonsburg to clean up the local competiton. As Michigan Ski Report, interested in the truth, not rumor, read some news circulating the Internet and went directly to the source to sort out truth from speculation.
Pando Winter Sports Park Up For Sale
Somewhere toward the end of the 2015 ski season, Pando went on the market, but under the radar. The owner family, many members in their 60’s and 70’s had expressed interest in getting out of the business. With no true succession plan in place, an aging owner group, facilities, and an ever changing landscape with the future of the snowsports industry, the property went on the chopping block. Sources tell us that the property and facilities were shopped around pretty quietly. With major players in the area not finding out until late in the game. Certainly, from an outsiders perspective, things looked dismal for the future of Pando.
Cannonsburg’s Motivation to Buy Pando Winter Sports Park
As of this writing (11/13/15), Cannonsburg has officially purchased Pando Sports Park for an undisclosed amount. An official spokesperson for Cannonsburg told us that the options were to step in and purchase Pando, or it might vanish as a ski/snowboard area. With many of Cannonsburg’s owner group having grown up or learning to ski/ride at Pando, the decision was simple – purchase Pando and continue the legacy, ensuring that the area would not be another line added to the abandoned ski area list. In our opinion this is a logical fit. Already operating a successful ski area, Cannonsburg has the knowledge and experience to get Pando operational and moving forward.
The Future of Pando
Unfortunately due to the logistics of the deal taking longer than anticipated, Pando will not be opening this season (’15/’16 season); this does not mean it is closed indefinitely. So what does the future hold for Pando? That’s a great question and one that was asked of the Cannonsburg team by Michigan Ski Report. Currently there are many unknowns that we will seek to answer in the coming months. What we do know is that the intent of Cannonsburg is genuine. Through our discussions with their team it is obvious that we should hold a positive outlook with the purchase of Pando.
They are committed to absorbing a lot of Pando’s key employees and management who will work alongside the Cannonsburg family to help shape the future of the area. Aside from its strong following within the snowboarding community, Pando had made the investment early on in a tubing park and is well known for their cross-country trail system in the region. Something that Cannonsburg recognizes as a valuable asset to the region.
To some we can see how this might be a negative. Most of us at Michigan Ski Report are not into all the glitz and glam that comes with large resorts and would rather simply get out and ride. We encourage you to avoid looking at this as the corporation bringing you down. It’s far from that or the likes of Vail Resorts acquisition of Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps that we have seen previously. To put it simply, this is a local ski area purchasing another local ski area for the betterment of the snowsports community. We encourage you to post your ideas and feelings on how Pando can be made great again. What would you do?