In the latest ski-resort acquisition drama, Vail Resorts announced today, June 4th, 2018, that it will be acquiring Okemo Mountain, Vermont, Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire, Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado, and Stevens Pass, Washington, as part of two separate deals.
In the first of two transactions, Vail Resorts will purchase Triple Peaks, LLC– the parent company to Okemo, Mount Sunapee, and Crested Butte, for $82 million. Upon closing, Triple Peaks, LLC, will then, in turn, pay $155 million to pay off the leases that all three resorts have with Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, with funds provided by Vail Resorts. In the second of two transactions, Vail Resorts will also purchase Stevens Pass from Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, for $67 million. All in all, pending no further closing conditions or regulatory mandates, Vail Resorts will have purchased all four resorts for a whopping $304 million.
"Together, the acquisitions of Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte, and Stevens Pass will significantly enhance the Vail Resorts' network of resort experiences, adding even more variety and choice for all of our pass holders and guests. Okemo and Mount Sunapee are terrific complements to Stowe in the Northeast, as is Crested Butte to our four Colorado resorts, and Stevens Pass for our Whistler Blackcomb and Seattle guests," reports Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
This latest acquisition comes as surprisingly big move on Vail Resorts' behalf, in what has been a seemingly endless string of purchases. Once closed, Crested Butte, Colorado will join Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek, as Vail Resorts' fifth Colorado Mountain. Okemo will join Stowe as the company's second Vermont resort, while Mount Sunapee and Stevens Pass, both join as Vail Resorts' first in New Hampshire and Washington, respectively. Furthermore, the deal closes early enough in the season that Vail Resorts has already announced that all four mountains will be offered with unrestricted access on both the 2018-19 Epic Pass and Epic Local Passes.
While news of this purchase came as a surprise to many, and surely was accompanied with a fair bit of head shaking from others, we must remember that there are also two sides to every coin. Locals at the four resorts are sure to see an inevitable change both on the resort and off, as the vibe will surely slide further in the corporate direction, with homogenized dining options and yellow-clad on-hill speed cops. However, the same acquisition is also sure to benefit many, as the decreased cost of season passes, and unrestricted access to resorts across the country reaches unprecedented levels. If one thing is for sure: we can expect more of the same soon. The battle between Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company is only heating up.