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VIP SKI go into administration

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Sadly another one bites the dust

https://www.vip-chalets.com/
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Heartfelt explanation on the website/blog.

Not really a surprise - must be many indies close to calling it if they have any integrity while unfortunately the more disreputable will soldier on with "guarantees" they they won't pay out on and create more misery.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
reading his blog, looks like he is going to phoenix.
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Very sad. From what I knew, VIP were definitely amongst the good guys.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Truly awful news. A super company and a great product. More will follow fir sure. We at Snowfinders are shocked and devastated.
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Thanks to chocksaway for letting us know.
Especially as VIP ski have not tried to let me know. They accepted my money ( and gave various verbal assurances) only 10 days ago.
I now see that a 'so sorry' statement has just been added to their website. In his goodbye note, Andy S finishes with the following sentence: " After a little break I hope to try and find a way of rebuilding from scratch and making a new home for you all that I can be proud of once more."

I 'd be interested in any comments from more experienced snowheads on that last sentence in particular.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
To be honest I do t think the staff had the faintest idea. Only a couple of days ago I was communicating with them over season 2021/22 feeds for prices. It was a conversation they instigated. Your money is financially protected under ATOL or ABTOT.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So sad to see this reputable company succumb to the ravages of Covid. My son worked for them in Meribel as a driver and guide the season the French banned ski-guiding. They could have sent him home but kept all the staff on even though he and his colleagues had a greatly reduced workload. Have stayed in their chalets many times and were always impressed with the service and accomodation. Very sorry to see them go.
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@peerless ploughman, to be fair, it is the administrators who are in charge not VIP ski so perhaps they will let you know
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I have a good friend and his other half who worked for them and are now stuffed - I feel a bit more sorry for them than tourists who will get their money back.
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Gutted to read another good company has gone. Who’s next in the ski industry I wonder. Really sad state of affairs.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Assuming I get money back via Atol etc - any views on whether I (or other punters) should consider any future booking with whatever phoenix company may arise from the VIP ashes?
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peerless ploughman wrote:
Assuming I get money back via Atol etc - any views on whether I (or other punters) should consider any future booking with whatever phoenix company may arise from the VIP ashes?


Why did you book with them this time?

VIP are a victim of two seasons interrupted by a global pandemic. They had a great reputation, product and track record, built by their owner. He obviously knows his stuff and couldn’t save his life’s work from terrible circumstances. VIP isn’t a bad business because they have gone into administration in 2020.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
We had booked with them to go to Lech in January. We have travelled with them a couple of times and they were probably the best company we have travelled with other than Finlay ski who bit the dust many years ago. They were good to deal with and were super helpful when the chalet were were booked into in Morzine burnt down the summer before we travelled. The chalets were lovely and we really enjoyed our holidays with them


Still hoping that I can take my new Black Pearls some where next year!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mr.Egg wrote:
reading his blog, looks like he is going to phoenix.


Hope they do. They were a great company to holiday with and were relatively unique at that price point.

We were looking forward to staying in their brand new val disere chalet in Feb, had travel been allowed.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
peerless ploughman wrote:
Thanks to chocksaway for letting us know.
Especially as VIP ski have not tried to let me know. They accepted my money ( and gave various verbal assurances) only 10 days ago.
I now see that a 'so sorry' statement has just been added to their website. In his goodbye note, Andy S finishes with the following sentence: " After a little break I hope to try and find a way of rebuilding from scratch and making a new home for you all that I can be proud of once more."

I 'd be interested in any comments from more experienced snowheads on that last sentence in particular.


Doesn't sound exactly like a phoenix job cos they don't usually take a break in buying the prepack.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Extremely sad to see them bite the dust . A super company stayed with them a few times . When the ash cloud grounded my flight back home a coach was organised without fuss .
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Most people (us included) will have paid deposits/balances with a card and Visa/Mastercard should refund it all.
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You’ll be covered by Atol if you bought a package including a flight.
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I don't think it's possible to overstate how massive this news is. One of the most reputable chalet operators with a large portfolio of high end chalets and service/clientele to match.

If VIP cannot survive this crisis then I'm struggling to see how any UK chalet operator will...
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froomie wrote:
I don't think it's possible to overstate how massive this news is. One of the most reputable chalet operators with a large portfolio of high end chalets and service/clientele to match.

If VIP cannot survive this crisis then I'm struggling to see how any UK chalet operator will...


We agents are looking over our shoulders as to who will be next and there will be further casualties in the coming weeks.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
My parents were booked with them for about the 15th time for this season. Booked before Covid was a thing.

They are gutted. Not about the holiday, but for all the staff. They have been very well looked after, year after year.

First of many I expect.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Who would want to do a phoenix job in the current climate? Anyhow, isn't a phoenix job one where the owner effectively rips off a lot of people? I'm open to correction but I don't think this is the case here.
In my view the man has done the honourable thing and admitted defeat. He is not stonewalling the customers in the same way as at least two other operators that feature on Snowheads are doing.
As others have said, ATOL, ABTA and card companies will look after out-of-pocket customers but who will look after the overseas staff with mortgages and other bills to pay + children to feed?
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I've just written on another thread that the first instalment on rented chalets is normally due on 1 Oct. So maybe they could delay no longer as they did not have the income to cover it. Not sure on how the leases work on break clauses, but being in administration will make them more difficult to enforce.

As chalet cos don't generally have many assets with rented chalets, leased vans etc the major asset is management skill and expertise together with key staff. That will mostly still exist in this case, so not too difficult to start again with new contracts. Even next season there is going to be a glut of chalets to rent so owners will not be in a position to be too choosy.
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They are based in Putney. May drop round to see if the door is still open or whether they have really boarded up.
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ciderinsport wrote:
First of many I expect.


I'm not too surprised when they paid in excess of £400k for the season rental of one chalet in 2019 and their son in law a 'consultancy fee' of over £20k. Having said that the owner of the chalet for which they paid that excessive season rental in 2019 did fortunately happen to also be the director of VIP Ski.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Which chalet was that! Their average chalet size was 10 to 12 people and would be circa £1200 p.p per week . At £1500 per week per person, would only bring in 360k over a 20 week season. Couldn't have had many chalets earning more than that!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Not sure, it's called Vita Brevis Charlie. They also paid £120k in sourcing and consultancy fees to another company who's director is also the director of VIP Ski.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I wouldn't feel quite so sorry for them, it seems like the directors are doing pretty well for themselves. It looks like the administrators might (not I didn't say will) be taking some money from VIP Ski to pay back other companies owned by the directors of VIP Ski
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
If these comments are true, I probably won't be looking to book with any phoenix operation where the same individuals are involved. Sad
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I'm not sure the arrangements of privately leasing personally owned assets to the business or paying fees to businesses/individuals they had a connection with automatically make things dodgy. They could, of course been all conducted at ordinary commercial rates. It would be a fair bit trickier if for instance obvious efforts had been made to erode the cash position by paying rents or fees upfront to connected parties ahead of the administration.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Andybag, do you have specialist knowledge about this? (looks like you do)
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Andybag wrote:
Not sure, it's called Vita Brevis Charlie. They also paid £120k in sourcing and consultancy fees to another company who's director is also the director of VIP Ski.


Could be more than one chalet. Not unusal to keep personally owned assets separate from the operating business.

As for paying "Consultancy Fees" its a way of not paying a salary to the owners/principle employees. It's going to be harder to justify come March with the new IR 35 rules, but its not dodgy.

Looking through the accounts what struck me was that there are about 131 employees who are effectively unemployed (many who will be on zero hours contracts); There are some £3m of leases that are owed to chalet owners that will probably not be paid; and some £400k of monies owed to various creditors (not including deposit holders). Its a small business, but I thin it had a fairly large footprint
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Vita Brevis charlie translated from English 'Life is short Charlie' Yep no sympathy, just another screw.
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under a new name wrote:
@Andybag, do you have specialist knowledge about this? (looks like you do)


He appears to know more about them than DG knows about Admin's taxes.
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Wow, gents, this is some kangaroo court. They contracted chalet hotels; perhaps the amount was for one of them? Maybe it was staff digs for the season? Maybe it included renovation works and refurb? They also contracted on blocks such as the aspen lodge that housed many chalets (Lys Martagon building in Val). Certainly they didn’t market a chalet by the name vita brevis Charlie and who’s to say they named it that? Maybe the owner named it that? Lots of jumping to conclusions here which isn’t helpful or fair.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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I’ll start by admitting I know nothing of the specifics but any large business will have elements separated from each other to protect each other from financial impact. Those ‘walls’ need to be jumped somehow to keep the functions going so large sums going to apparently internal people doesn’t necessarily mean chicanery is afoot.

And as a repeated VIP customer I’d be happy to see something rise again.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Andybag wrote:
I wouldn't feel quite so sorry for them, it seems like the directors are doing pretty well for themselves. It looks like the administrators might (not I didn't say will) be taking some money from VIP Ski to pay back other companies owned by the directors of VIP Ski


I cant really comment on the other things that you have posted, but if you actually have some evidence that that this is happening, then I suggest that you do something a little more formal than make a speculative post on Snowheads as there is (more than) a hint of impropriety by the administrators in that post.

Or is this just a bit of kite flying?
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Snowfinders wrote:
Wow, gents, this is some kangaroo court. They contracted chalet hotels; perhaps the amount was for one of them? Maybe it was staff digs for the season? Maybe it included renovation works and refurb? They also contracted on blocks such as the aspen lodge that housed many chalets (Lys Martagon building in Val). Certainly they didn’t market a chalet by the name vita brevis Charlie and who’s to say they named it that? Maybe the owner named it that? Lots of jumping to conclusions here which isn’t helpful or fair.


Totally agree. Just because a business goes to the wall doesn't mean anybody did anything dishonest or even dishonourable.

Also someone asked higher up the page whether a Pheonix business meant people had been ripped off, and no, it doesn't. All it means is that one business is birthed from the ashes of another.
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Very sad news, a sign of the times I’m afraid. I can’t help think they have done the right thing given they clearly saw no way to manage thru the turmoil.
Although lots will be disappointed to be losing a holiday, it’s better to happen now than mid season. Folks will get money back thru institutions and have time to rebook, seasonal staff will not go thru the stress of a mid season crisis.
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