The winds of change are blowing through Crested Butte, Colorado. PHOTO: Garrett Grove
The winds of change are blowing through Crested Butte, Colorado. PHOTO: Garrett Grove

Vail Resorts Bought Two of the Last Family-Owned Resorts in Vermont and Colorado

The purchase of four resorts in New England, Colorado, and the Pacific Northwest brings Vail's total to 50

Vail Resorts announced Monday morning it will acquire Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado; now the fifth resort the company owns in the Centennial State.

Vail Resorts purchased Triple Peaks, LLC, from the Mueller family for $82 million and Stevens Pass Resort from Ski Resort Holdings, LLC, for $67 million. Together, these acquisitions are expected to generate incremental annual earnings in excess of $35 million in Vail Resorts' fiscal year ending July 31, 2019, according to Vail Resorts’ statement.

“Please know we have entered into this transaction with the best intentions for the ski area, our fellow employees, and the community,” the Mueller family said in a letter to pass holders Monday morning.

“If we did not think this was going to bring more opportunity for the resort in the years to come, we would not have pursued this sale. Our goal has never been to make Mount Sunapee the biggest, but to make it the best and we feel Vail Resorts is poised to continue Sunapee's excellence. We hope you will be open to their approach and give them the opportunity to prove their good intentions.”

In a separate transaction, Vail Resorts will also acquire Stevens Pass Resort in Washington State and plans to invest $35 million in total capital across the four resorts over the next two years. The addition of these four properties brings Vail Resorts’ collection to a whopping 50 resorts in the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, France, Austria, and Italy.

Read our feature about how Vail Resorts is changing skiing here.

"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," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

"Additionally, each of these resorts will individually offer guests from around the world entirely new and distinctive experiences in extraordinary locations from coast to coast."

Other recent Vail Resorts acquisitions have included the addition of six new Canadian resorts in March 2018, shortly after the official release of the new Ikon Pass from new mega ski conglomerate Alterra Mountain Company. In January of this year, the addition of Telluride to the Epic Pass brought Vail Resort's empire to 46 resorts.

In 2017, the company purchased their first East Coast resort, Stowe Mountain, for $50 million, shortly after their massive $1 billion acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb in 2016. On April 1, 2018, Vail Resorts announced their biggest purchase yet.

When the transactions close, which is expected to be this summer, all four new resorts, including Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte, and Stevens Pass, will be included on the Epic Pass.

An Epic Pass, which costs $899, now includes unlimited and unrestricted access to 19 ski areas including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte Mountain Resort and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Stowe Mountain Resort and Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont; Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire; Afton Alps in Minnesota; Mt. Brighton in Michigan; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Stevens Pass in Washington; Whistler Blackcomb in Canada; and Perisher in Australia.

New for the 2018-19 season, Epic Pass holders will receive seven days of skiing or snowboarding with no blackout dates at Telluride in Colorado; seven days at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, which includes Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta, and Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec; and up to five total consecutive days with no blackout dates at Hakuba Valley's nine ski resorts in Japan.

The Epic Pass also grants limited access to Les 3 Vallées, Paradiski and Tignes-Val D'Isere in France; 4 Vallées in Switzerland; Arlberg in Austria and Skirama Dolomiti in Italy.