Dropping temps and cooperative humidity levels enabled snowmakers to light ’em up on both sides of the Continental Divide this morning; that’s a distant view of Loveland’s efforts above, A-Basin below at the end of this report.
Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort Oregon reports that long time resort fixture and patroller Mike Gooderham passed away recently. Gooderham was a founding member of the Anthony Lakes Ski Patrol in 1963, and active in the patrol until about 6 years ago. He was also a past regional director for the National Ski Patrol, as well as a board member of the National Ski Patrol from 2000-2002.
Vail, Peak, and the Opioid Crisis
Unless you live in a cave, you’ve no doubt heard about Vail Resorts Inc. gobbling up Peak Resorts, which was finalized last week. A dark undercurrent in the whole thing is the fact that a major shareholder of Peak was a trust of some sort that represents the Sackler family. I believe they were majority shareholders but not certain of that. Anyway, the Sacklers have been all over the news for their ownership of Purdue Pharmaceuticals, which developed a particularly effective and addictive opioid painkiller marketed under the brand name Oxycontin. Reports say that Purdue, with Sackler members at the helm, allegedly plotted to push a lot of these pills and cover up the fact that they can be addictive. Suffice to say many Peak passholders were upset when word got out, and there are still grumblings about Vail Resorts enriching the Sacklers via their purchase.
Let’s be honest here, there was a lot more good to Peak Resorts than bad. They employed a lot of people, and worked hard to put out a good product. Evil people — and I’m not judging anyone here, including the Sacklers — evil people, drug pushers, sex traffickers, mobsters — can buy stock in anything they want, including Facebook and Google (Alphabet) and even Vail Resorts, and a bull market enriches their pockets. While some are pointing at Vail, are they gonna stop using Google and Facebook?
On the other hand, Purdue isn’t the only manufacturer of addictive painkillers. They’re small potatoes in the scheme of things. Three companies manufactured 88 percent of the opioids: SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt; Actavis Pharma, a subsidiary of Teva; and Par Pharmaceutical, a subsidiary of Endo Pharmaceuticals. Venerable Johnson & Johnson also makes these addictive pills.
If you have a retirement account with any stock funds, you and I are likely part owners of at least two of these companies. Largest shareholder of Johnson & Johnson isn’t the Sacklers, it’s Vanguard. I believe Fidelity is second in line. Largest shareholder of Mallinckrodt is Blackrock. Wellington Funds has a half billion dollars worth of Teva stock and Berkshire Hathaway isn’t far behind. So are we willing to return some of the dividends that have grown our 401k funds?
Not trying to minimize the severity of this problem, in fact I had a nephew die at his kitchen table with a needle in his hand. His kids found him.
What I am saying is that it’s a tangled mess, it’s complicated, and we really don’t need to let the “who owned what” negatively impact our skiing and boarding destinations. Let the courts decide on the Sacklers, and let us focus on more positive stuff.
Back to the Slopes. A-Basin, as Promised…
Mr. Henceroth would probably get a bit perturbed about following that mess, but I can’t think of anything right now that can turn this around better than a photo of A-Basin’s efforts this morning…
…so we got a great season ahead. Back tomorrow with more positive stuff. Meanwhile, take care of the people you can take care of.