Caberfae Peaks with Pete Meyer - Making Skiing a Family Affordable Adventure
Episode 973rd March 2023 • Total Michigan • Cliff Duvernois
00:00:00 00:26:04

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I love skiing. And so do many other Michiganders. So having the chance to sit and talk with Pete Meyer, Co-Owner of Caberfae Peaks, was a real treat. Learning the history and philosophy behind this wonderful Michigan Ski Resort was a real blessing. I do believe that culture flows downhill. And listening to Pete, I now understand why Caberfae Peaks is such a wonderful place to enjoy the day!

In this episode, Pete shares:

  • The history of Caberfae Peaks
  • The unique approach Caberfae Peaks takes to Families
  • What the future holds for Caberfae Peaks

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Transcripts

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And during the winter months, we do stay laser

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

focused on skiing and snowboarding.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There's a lot of other resorts that put in other attractions like zip lines

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and alpine slides and mountain biking.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Things like that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We don't.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We refer to those as distractions.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We want to be the best skiing, snowboard resort that we can possibly be.

Cliff Duvernois:

Hello everyone.

Cliff Duvernois:

Welcome back to Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things.

Cliff Duvernois:

I am your host Cliff Duvernois.

Cliff Duvernois:

Right now it is ski season and I love to ski.

Cliff Duvernois:

So imagine my surprise to find a ski resort in Northern part of the lower

Cliff Duvernois:

Peninsula that's got a real focus on being the family affordable option.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I'm talking about Caberfae Peaks.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today I'm joined with one of the co-owners of Caberfae Peaks.

Cliff Duvernois:

And that would be Pete Meyer.

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete, how are you?

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: I'm doing very well, thank you.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I didn't know that, I didn't know that was the name of the podcast, but

Cliff Duvernois:

I'm definitely a very ordinary person.

Cliff Duvernois:

So this, this will fit well.

Cliff Duvernois:

Great.

Cliff Duvernois:

Why don't you tell us a little bit about where you're from and where you grew up.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So I grew up in the town of Cadillac here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I'm currently employed in at Caberfae Ski Resort.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's a family business.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

My dad and my uncle got into it back in the early eighties.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There's a tremendous amount of history with Caberfae.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Caberfae was one of the first ski resorts to open in not only the

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Midwest, but the entire nation.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So there's a tremendous amount of history.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It opened in, uh, 19 37, 38.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And operated for a long time as a non-profit entity.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Um, and it started under the combination of the Civilian Conservation Corps,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the, uh, US Forest Service and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So they opened it, cut the first ski trails in, put the first rope toes

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

in, and then ran it for a long time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then in the seventies, they, I should say the late, the mid to late

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

sixties, they wanted to raise some funds to put in a couple chairlifts.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And, and they did that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They sold stock to some individual members and ski club members and

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

ended up buying the chairlifts and weren't able to, uh, pay for it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So it ultimately ended up filing for bankruptcy.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So that's when it went from public to private.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then my family got involved after that point in time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So they, they had ended up buying it from the bank in the early eighties.

Cliff Duvernois:

So this was your, this was your father

Cliff Duvernois:

and your uncle who bought it?

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: That's correct, yeah.

Cliff Duvernois:

You grew up practically in the ski business?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I did, I grew up, as, you know, grew

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

up on the, on the hill skiing.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I grew up, uh, working here pretty much every department helping wherever

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I could, just because I had to.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then when I graduate, yeah, exactly.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

When you grew up in it, you can't really get away from it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So then when I, when I graduated high school, I couldn't get to,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I couldn't wait to get away.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, not only from here, but the town of Cadillac as well.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And, uh, is the last thing on my mind was coming back here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But as you move away, I went to, went to school at University of Notre Dame

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and, uh, head of accounting degree.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So I'm a certified public accountant.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Practiced public accounting for three years in Chicago and then a couple

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

years out in Denver after that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So that was great experience.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I got exposed to a lot of different businesses in a very short period of time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

After that point in time, I just started communicating with my dad

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and he was recruiting me pretty heavily to come back and ended up,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

uh, moving back here in, in 2000.

Cliff Duvernois:

So what was it that made you move back?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

My dad actually was going through some,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

some health problems at that time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

He was having a knee replacement.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They had, uh, a couple of key personnel leave here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And so he just wanted to look into some kind of transition or exit strategy

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

for him and, and was recruiting.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Recruiting pretty hard.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I ended up, had a lot of discussions with my wife and we.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We ended up coming back.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And subsequently had a lot of conversations with my cousin Tim, who

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

at that time was uh, working at Winter Park, Colorado as a ski patroller.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And he had been out there for 10 years.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And I knew it would be a little bit better if we, we came back and did it together.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So, in communications with him, he ended up moving back.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Six months after, after I came back here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And so he now runs the mountain operations, everything on the hill.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

He'll, he overlooks the, uh, snow making, the grooming, the ski patrol the

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

maintenance of, of, of all that as well.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

The chair lifts and I pretty much have everything else or the more the base

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

area and the business end of things.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So I'll oversee the, the ticket office the rental operations, the ski shop,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

all the food and beverage outlets, the hotel, the housekeeping accounting,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and all the marketing and HR.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now, one of the things that initially attracted me to come to

Cliff Duvernois:

Caberfae was the fact that you guys have the tallest hill in the lower peninsula.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We do.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We do.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we actually have the highest lifts serve peak in the in, in all of Michigan.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So there are higher points in Michigan, but they don't

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

have a, a lift on top of 'em.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And there's also some ski resorts with more vertical.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But our top is higher than, than those other elevations.

Cliff Duvernois:

One of the things I would like to explore with you is

Cliff Duvernois:

this family affordability that you have with your particular ski result.

Cliff Duvernois:

And, and I say that because what brought really brought it to my

Cliff Duvernois:

attention was when I took a break from skiing and I went over to grab a meal.

Cliff Duvernois:

I was shocked that I could get burger fries and a soda for $10, which,

Cliff Duvernois:

put you on competition with the king, the clown, and the colonel.

Cliff Duvernois:

You know?

Cliff Duvernois:

Right.

Cliff Duvernois:

It's like going to McDonald's, you know.

Cliff Duvernois:

So talk to us a little bit about, keeping those prices that way.

Cliff Duvernois:

Cuz on, and I ask that question because a lot of ski resorts are expensive.

Cliff Duvernois:

But it seems like you are a very family affordable option.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You hit the nail on the head right there for us.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And that kind of defines who we are and what we wanna be.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

A we want to provide value.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We want people to come here and walk away from here saying, Hey, that was, that was

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

a really good time and that was worth it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I, I want to do that again.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we do that in a number of different ways.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

One, we try to provide a good on hill experience with the

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

snow making and the grooming.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Two, we try to provide value with the, with the food and

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

other things when we're here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But more importantly, we started with some of the lift ticket value.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We came out with a $99 weekend season pass that, that we started doing in 2007.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's a little bit higher now.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But it really created value for families.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So you could have a family of four could spend less than $400 and then

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

they can recreate all winter long on weekends, Saturdays, and Sundays

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and days that they can recreate.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, it really made it a family friendly place.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

On top of that, we I think are one of the best ski resorts in

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the area that allow people to bring in their own picnic lunches.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we have quite a, a crockpot scene here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's pretty neat.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We used to allow them into our main lodge, the big red building here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We had crockpots on the lower level and then the cafeteria on the upper level.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Two summers ago we renovated an, an old dilapidated lodge

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

called the Skyview Lodge.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

That was built in the early sixties and had a lot of had

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

a lot of issues structurally.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It had been leaking ever since I could remember.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

The roof always leaked since, ever since I've been alive.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we, we had a structural engineer come out and assessed that and

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

then ended up renovating that extensively, uh, last summer.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And now that whole lodge and that entire square footage is, is dedicated

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

to, uh, to crockpots or, or those families packing picnic lunches.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So now to this day, you know, we wanna be very family friendly.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We want to be very welcoming.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We want to know your name.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We have a lot of longtime employees that, that know a lot of the customers and

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

it's, and it's neat to build that rapport and welcome 'em back year after year

Cliff Duvernois:

So with running a ski resort, what would you say are some of the

Cliff Duvernois:

biggest challenges that you have to face?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Well, I think number one is, is weather.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, we, we battle the ever-changing weather in, in

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Michigan and Northern Michigan.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And number two is staff.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, we have over almost 225 to 230 employees here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it, it is just a lot to manage with, with the staff.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

A lot of 'em are part-time seasonal.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

A lot of 'em are high school kids, college kids.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So between those two things, those are probably the most aspects

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

of, of operating a ski resort.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I know as far as the weather goes, you can kind

Cliff Duvernois:

of stack the deck a little bit in your favor cuz like you said before,

Cliff Duvernois:

you've got the snow machines out there on the mountain to produce snow.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We, we did, and we didn't always have that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

When Tim and I moved back, it was, we had a lot of deferred maintenance.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, my dad and my uncle had just done a phenomenal job of, of

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

redeveloping the ski ski resort.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They had put in a couple chairlifts, redeveloped the hills, added vertical

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

to the hills built a big day lodge, added the golf course, built a rental,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

rental, building this ticket office, the pool out in front of the hotel.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So they did a lot of just really good things.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then we just, you know, we became very focused on um, just refining those things.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And also,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We had one year, it was 2006.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Tim and I still talk about it to this day.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's it was a really marginal year and we barely could make enough snow to get open.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we had one run open during the whole holiday week and we survived on one run.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we're looking at each other afterwards, and we're thinking,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

you know, that's, that's a little too close for, for comfort.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So really since that year, we have invested very heavily in

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

snow making year and year out.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And, uh, right now we have a completely different snow making than we did snow

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

making system than we did 15 years ago.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So now we can make a tremendous amount of snow in a very short period of time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We're going through more freeze thaw cycles, where we have good weather

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and then it, and then it warms up 40 degrees or it might, rain,

Cliff Duvernois:

Which we just went through.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Right?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then the temperature dropped.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And thankfully today we received five inches of natural snow overnight.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So that does the same thing that our snow making will do, is it will

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

refresh that snow service and bring it back to a good skiing condition.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But had we not got that, we would've been making snow to do the same

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

thing that that natural snow did.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we, and we have snow gun towers, fixed towers everywhere throughout the hill.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, so we can turn on, turn the guns on, run 'em, run 'em at night.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Mix it in to the existing base and then ski on it the next day.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's and it's been good.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's been a nice process.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And with that I think our customers are learning to be

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

more confident in ski conditions.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, not just with us, but other, other resorts in

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

northern Michigan as well.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They, they also have very good snowmaking systems and it's, and it's

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

been a good thing for the industry.

Cliff Duvernois:

Yeah, cuz sometimes you gotta help mother Nature along.

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: We absolutely do.

Cliff Duvernois:

When you're talking about installing like all

Cliff Duvernois:

these machines and, and everything in else that's, that's in there.

Cliff Duvernois:

The question I'm, I'm kind of curious about is the recovery of that cost.

Cliff Duvernois:

Cause I know that it's not cheap to get those machines.

Cliff Duvernois:

And it's, it's, got 'em all up and down the mountainside cuz it's not,

Cliff Duvernois:

you just can't put snow in one area.

Cliff Duvernois:

You gotta have it from the top of the hill all the way down to the bottom.

Cliff Duvernois:

So what kind of balance do you do between, yeah, we've gotta get

Cliff Duvernois:

some new equipment in here versus keeping this family affordable?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So it's a great question cuz cuz the answer to

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the snowmaking question isn't, isn't just about buying some snow guns.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, it's way more complicated than that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So not only do you need the, the snow guns, but you also need the the source

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

water capacity, which would be the wells the coming, the pumping capacity, which is

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the pumps from the pumphouse, the piping capacity, which is make sure your, your

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

pipe's not undersized and you have enough piping underground to, to handle the flow.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then the, the electrical capacity, cuz you, you have an underground

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

of, you know, electrical web of all, 440 volts run into each snow gun.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Water lines running into each snow gun.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You gotta keep everything in a balance and it's not just an easy

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

answer of buying a couple snow guns and putting 'em here, right.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

For us, you know, we only had a a very few number of portable guns back then.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And now, , we have over 150 snow guns and a lot of 'em are on fixed towers.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Which, which makes it, it makes it a lot easier cuz with the portable,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

you have to, the nice thing about portable is you can use it to make snow

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

in, in several different locations.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But you al you also have to, you know, manually dig out that gun,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

move that gun, get it outta the way, push the snow, groom it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So with towers, it makes it quite a bit easier to do that process.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You just need more of 'em.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But so we continue to.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

That process and, and you know, we can't really put a price on, on snow making.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's just so important.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Without getting the snow made and some runs open.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We, we can't sell a lift ticket.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We can't sell a cheeseburger, can't rent any equipment, can't sell any lessons.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So everything starts with the snow.

Cliff Duvernois:

And with that, we are going to take a quick

Cliff Duvernois:

break to thank our sponsors.

Cliff Duvernois:

When we come back, Pete's gonna share with us how Caberfae wants you to keep enjoying

Cliff Duvernois:

the ski sport, how parents can overcome that sting of always buying new equipment

Cliff Duvernois:

for growing children, and what the future holds for all of us at Caberfae Peaks.

Cliff Duvernois:

See you after the break.

Cliff Duvernois:

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Welcome back to Ordinary People, extraordinary Things.

Cliff Duvernois:

Today I'm chatting with Pete Meyer, co-owner of Caberfae Peaks.

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete, you mentioned before that you have a ski school.

Cliff Duvernois:

If you would share with us why beginners, and actually almost

Cliff Duvernois:

anyone for that matter, should attend ski school at least once.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, ski school is such an important

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

part of, of every ski resort, cuz a, when people come here, uh, we want

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

'em to learn and have a good time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

If they can learn the fundamentals and learn how to stop and learn how

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

to turn and ski under control, this sport becomes really, really enjoyable.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

it does.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Right.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's also about safety too.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You don't want to go up there when you can't do that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we put in a large emphasis on that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Our ski school does a great job of teaching.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They teach all kinds of of levels, but the majority of which are beginner levels.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's great to continue to introduce people to the sport

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

of skiing and snowboarding.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And the ultimate goal with these instructors is to have

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

this person want to come back.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Right?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I always tell the instructors they're the only employee that gets to spend a

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

whole hour with one customer at a time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, customer might call, you get a phone call, you get the quick interaction

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

at the ticket window or quick interaction in the cafeteria and the rental.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But get they get a whole one hour or maybe two or whatever

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

they've booked with this person.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So they'll have the most significant impact, whether that person's gonna

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

come back and ski, you know, not just at Caberfae but anywhere to convert

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

them into more of a, a skier for life instead of a one-time skier.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So they can have a profound impact.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's very, very, important.

Cliff Duvernois:

What do ,What do you look for in a ski instructor?

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: You know, it's, it's, uh, it's

Cliff Duvernois:

interesting cuz we can our staff will teach them how to teach.

Cliff Duvernois:

They really just need to be able to identify and relate with the person.

Cliff Duvernois:

They have to understand what they wanna get out of the lesson.

Cliff Duvernois:

Uh, cuz once you get beyond a beginner level, lesson.

Cliff Duvernois:

They, people want different things.

Cliff Duvernois:

You have to be able to understand that and give it to 'em.

Cliff Duvernois:

And you have to be able to identify with them and, and give 'em what they want.

Cliff Duvernois:

Make 'em feel comfortable, and at ease, and ultimately be safe.

Cliff Duvernois:

And have a good time.

Cliff Duvernois:

And have fun.

Cliff Duvernois:

It's all about the, it's all.

Cliff Duvernois:

about fun.

Cliff Duvernois:

It definitely is.

Cliff Duvernois:

And then another aspect of your business that you have is actually

Cliff Duvernois:

selling the ski equipment as well.

Cliff Duvernois:

What are some things that people should think about if they're

Cliff Duvernois:

saying, you know what, I'd like to get this season pass to Caberfae.

Cliff Duvernois:

And equipment rental is a part of that equation as well.

Cliff Duvernois:

You could, you definitely rent equipment here, but I know it's, for

Cliff Duvernois:

some people out there, it's a little bit better to buy their own equipment.

Cliff Duvernois:

So what are some things that people should be thinking about

Cliff Duvernois:

if they're looking at equipment?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, it's always better to buy it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's just easier to have it every day so you don't have to

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

go through the rental process.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Our pass prices were so low.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We did have a lot of pass holders that would come and rent.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, you know, just trying that out each time they came up.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Um, and then ultimately once they get into their own equipment, it's better,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

it's better for them and it's better for us and their experience here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We don't have a retail ski shop, but we do have a, a demo center in shop

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

where we'll buy some of the brand new and latest and greatest skis from

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

some of the leading manufacturers.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And what's neat about our, our program is, is skiers can try before they buy.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So that's one thing you can't do in a retail ski shop.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Cuz different, all ski, ski different ways.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, some one person might really like this ski.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Who's a really good skier and not like another ski.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And the other person would come in and have the exact opposite

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

opinion just because they feel different underneath your, your foot.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So it's nice to be able to, to go out and try it and then they

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

can, and then they can buy it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And so we'll sell off that demo fleet at the end of the season.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, they're on sale now and then, uh, we'll buy another,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

another set next season.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But a lot of times, we'll, we'll partner with other retail ski

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

shops cuz we'll carry the same skis that they have in the shop.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So early season, if they would come out, Hey, I really like to ski.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Okay, hey, you can head into, head into town at the local

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

ski shop and, and get it there.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Or, or other ski shops in areas like Grand Rapids or in other popular areas.

Cliff Duvernois:

And with regards to the ski equipment, from what you're saying

Cliff Duvernois:

is it's better to actually try the skiing first before you get the equipment?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Well, I think so for two different

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

way, two different reasons.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

One, at the beginner level, you, somebody might not wanna make the

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

investment in ski equipment, right?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And they'll come out and they can rent.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Okay?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Once you know you like it and you wanna buy a pair and you don't,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and you're looking to buy a new pair, it's really nice to be

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

able to try it before you buy it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Absolutely.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Just because you, you're gonna pick the right ski for you.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You're not gonna walk outta the store with one that looks nice,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

but then you don't, don't really like it when you're on the hill.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And if you're looking for affordable options there's a list

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

of ski swaps, around the entire state that all happen pre-season.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They usually happen September, October, and November.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, we always have a list of those that we refer out to

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

people looking for equipment too.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Cuz that's a way to get it a little bit more economic.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Um, you're looking for used equipment and that just at least gets you in your

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

own, your own boots and your own skis.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

That really helps.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There's also ski shops that have some really good kids trade-in programs like

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Bill and Paul's down in Grand Rapids has a great program where kids grow outta

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

their boots pretty quickly and they grow outta their skis pretty quickly.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So not all families wanna make an investment in that when they're

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

gonna have to, buy a new pair in the next year or two years later.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So these are really nice programs that allow you to to K get your kid outfitted

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

throughout the growing years and not have to buy a new pair every year.

Cliff Duvernois:

You've also made a really heavy investment

Cliff Duvernois:

into leveraging social media to connect with your online community.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It's part of the industry here, like, one thing

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

that's neat is we get different weather than even where our main market comes

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

from, which is the greater Grand Rapids area or the Lansing area or

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the Midland, Bay City, Saginaw area where people are driving up from.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It might not be snowing there, right?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But we're getting snow.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's really important to be able to, to show them that

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and show 'em the updates.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Also, it's important to be able to show that our ability to

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

make snow and hey, we have snow.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Cuz there's a lot of cases they're sitting in their home downstate

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and there's no snow on the ground.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They're not thinking about it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's important to hey, to let them know.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Yes, yes, we're open.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Two, we have plenty of snow.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And three, the conditions are pretty good.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So come on up and, uh, and here's some looks into our social media to see.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then we also work with, you know, we'll do a lot of posts locally here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Just a lot of the timely stuff.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But then we have a, a guy by the name of Jeff Boss, who

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

owns and runs Montage Media.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And he does some of the higher end videos and some of that work.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we have a nice relationship with him.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

He started out just dabbling in some videos.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

This is a great story too.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

He was, he was, selling cars here in town and always had an interest

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

in doing some video production.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we had a Facebook contest way back then.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And he actually won it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Okay.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

It was a one minute video and he put together this really neat video just

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

with his iPhone and, and it was neat.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And so we started communicating.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I'm like, Hey Jeff, we should do a little bit more of this.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then, so I, we hired him to do a few more videos and he really, it

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

was his passion, it was his love.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then he, and he came in and sat down.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We worked out an arrangement to, for the whole winter to work.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then that gave him enough to quit his job.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And then he had enough business booked in the summer.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And so now, now he's blown up and doing fantastic and doing

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

a really good job on his own.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And probably doesn't need cabret as much as he did back then,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

but we certainly sure need him.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And hopefully hopefully he sticks around.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, I hope he does too because your guys' facebook page is,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

first off, it's really active.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

A lot of people engage with it.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And second off, I gotta give you compliments cuz your, your content

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

on there is just extraordinary.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

I mean, I find myself evangelizing

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Well, well thank you.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Thank you.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Thank you.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Appreciate that.

Cliff Duvernois:

As far as like activities go, i, is it just

Cliff Duvernois:

wintertime for Caberfae Peaks?

Cliff Duvernois:

Are, is it also open in the summertime?

Cliff Duvernois:

Do you do biking?

Cliff Duvernois:

Cause I know some places do that.

Cliff Duvernois:

Like they, they take the bikes up to the top of the hill and bikes down.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we're, we are yes, we are a year-round business.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But at the same time we're very seasonal.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Probably, um, 85% of our business in the winter months.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Okay.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And during the winter months, we do stay laser focused on skiing and snowboarding.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There's a lot of other resorts that put in other attractions like

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

zip lines and alpine slides and mountain biking, Things like that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We don't.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We refer to those as distractions.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We want to be the best skiing, snowboard resort that we can possibly be.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And those take resources away from that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we're gonna continue to do that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We're gonna continue to expand our skiing, continue to improve

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the base area, continue to improve the lift infrastructure.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Uh, we put in a new chair lift in 2016.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We just put one in, in in 2022 this past summer.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We have plans to do even more.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we just want to continue to stay focused on that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

As far as the off season we have a nine hole golf course.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We have a 39 room hotel, and our main summer business

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

is, is the banquet business.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we'll do a significant number of weddings from mid-April

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

through early November.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And those are really neat because we have such a unique setting.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

You know, since we're primarily a ski resort there's not much

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

happening in the summer other than some walk up golf traffic.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So a bride and groom could come and book the lodge.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But not only that, they could book the entire hotel.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They can do their rehearsal dinner here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They can have a gift opening brunch.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They can do the wedding ceremony here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So really, we have a lot of drive to destination weddings.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And a lot of our bride and grooms come from downstate just to get away.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And it's kind of neat cuz they can take over the entire resort and have a really

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

intimate setting and not have to leave.

Cliff Duvernois:

Was the hotel original to this property, or was that something

Cliff Duvernois:

that your dad and uncle added?

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: No, that was original.

Cliff Duvernois:

That, that was built in the late sixties.

Cliff Duvernois:

So it was built in 1968.

Cliff Duvernois:

And that too was in really rough shape.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we've completely renovated the inside, renovated the exterior.

Cliff Duvernois:

You know, and we got here, we had dial when I 2001, we had dial TVs in the rooms.

Cliff Duvernois:

We had no phones in the rooms.

Cliff Duvernois:

And we had duct tape on carpet.

Cliff Duvernois:

I mean, it was, it was not a place that many people wanted to stay.

Cliff Duvernois:

Believe it or not, we've we've outlived the need for phones in the rooms.

Cliff Duvernois:

Now.

Cliff Duvernois:

We don't even, before it was a big deal and now, now it doesn't even matter.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we are ahead of our time, I like to say.

Cliff Duvernois:

I gotta give you credit for that because if you,

Cliff Duvernois:

if you would've told me that these buildings were 1962 from the outside,

Cliff Duvernois:

I would've told you you were crazy.

Cliff Duvernois:

Cuz that I asked about the hotel because that over there seems like it's maybe

Cliff Duvernois:

built like within the last 10 years.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Yeah.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Thanks.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Thanks for saying that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we, we had, like I said, we had really focused on all of the, um, like

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the deferred maintenance and snow making for the first 15 years we are here.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So those are things that you really can't put in the cover of the brochure.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Nobody really cares if you fix plumbing leaks in the hotel

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

or you're fixing snow making.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Basically they just expect it to work and they want it to work.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we got to about 2015 and we renovated the Blackmer Lodge, which

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

is the big red building in 2016.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We added in 2017.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We completely redid the hotel, built new balconies and, and changed the,

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

the facade of that while working on the inside the whole time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

2017, we renovated the courtyard.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There used to be a broken down parking lot in between the two buildings.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Now it's a really nice outdoor wedding site and a nice ski to drop off.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we mentioned the, the Skyview Lodge a couple years ago.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So we just continue to, to do the things that, that, that are much more noticeable

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

to the skier when they drive in.

Cliff Duvernois:

What's next for Caberfae?

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: It's a great question.

Cliff Duvernois:

We have some good plans this summer.

Cliff Duvernois:

We're gonna continue some renovations on the backside of the Skyview Lodge.

Cliff Duvernois:

We didn't get to that.

Cliff Duvernois:

We ran out of time.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we're gonna extend that, make that a little bit larger.

Cliff Duvernois:

And then we're gonna add over a hundred seasonal lockers as part of that.

Cliff Duvernois:

So we have a huge demand for that, uh, with skiers that

Cliff Duvernois:

are seasoned pass holders, but hauling their gear back and forth.

Cliff Duvernois:

This will give 'em a place to store their lockers and not

Cliff Duvernois:

have to haul it back and forth.

Cliff Duvernois:

So that's on the docket.

Cliff Duvernois:

We're gonna continue with some hotel renovations, and we're gonna continue to

Cliff Duvernois:

expand our skiing and work on that slowly.

Cliff Duvernois:

And I also noticed tier two that you have

Cliff Duvernois:

a building for ski club members.

Cliff Duvernois:

Talk to us a little bit about that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So that's a, that's a private ski club.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We don't own that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

That's, uh, that's owned by the members, so.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Oh, okay.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They're landlocked around us.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They have, obviously have access through us but they're all pass holders.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They all support cab.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

They're our greatest fans and sometimes also our greatest critics at the time.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

But we have a great relationship with them.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We enjoy them and, uh, a lot of 'em are personal friends of Tim and mine

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

and, and And it's a, and it's a, a really nice benefit to this resort.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There's a waiting list to get in.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So, you know, it's, it's a, there's a parking lot right there.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

There's lockers in there, there's a, a little cafeteria in there.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So it's a really nice benefit for those people that are members.

Cliff Duvernois:

If somebody's listening to this broadcast and they want to

Cliff Duvernois:

check you out, maybe come on up here.

Cliff Duvernois:

What would be the best way for them to find you online?

Cliff Duvernois:

What would be the best way for them to go?

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Oh, no doubt.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

Just Google Caberfae or Caberfae Peaks.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And we should be the number one search result and click on that.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And I think the website's the best source of information.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

We have a lot of information on there.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And as far as looking into pricing, we have a lot of, we do use dynamic

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

pricing for our lift tickets.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

So generally the further you book in advance, the greater the savings.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

If you buy a couple weeks in advance, you can get, you know, as

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

much as 40% off your lift ticket.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

If you're gonna commit to us that far in advance where we don't know

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

what the weather's gonna be like, we're gonna give you a good deal

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

for committing that far in advance.

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

And so that tends to work pretty well for us as well, and a way

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks:

for people to continue to ski affordably and get a good deal.

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete, it's been awesome having you on the show today.

Cliff Duvernois:

Thank you very much.

Cliff Duvernois:

Pete Meyer, Caberfae Peaks: I appreciate your interest.

Cliff Duvernois:

Thank you.

Cliff Duvernois:

And for our audience, you can go to total michigan.com,

Cliff Duvernois:

click on Pete's interview and see all the links for this show.

Cliff Duvernois:

While you're there, take a quick second to sign up for our newsletter, which

Cliff Duvernois:

was filled with all kinds of goodies.

Cliff Duvernois:

Great behind the scenes stuff and upcoming events.

Cliff Duvernois:

You definitely don't want to miss out.

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