A deal for the Peel
The Vail juggernaut keeps steamrolling through ski country, this week snatching up longtime GDI resort, Crested Butte.
Vail Resorts announced plans this week to buy up CB’s parent company, Triple Peaks, from the Mueller family, for $82 million. In addition to CB, the Muellers also own Okemo Mountain in Vermont and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, which are also part of the deal. Vail also pledged $35 million in improvements over the next few years at the resorts.
As can be imagined, news of the sale was met with mixed reactions in Crested Butte, with some hopeful the sale could lead to more skier traffic while other worried over the Vail-ization of Crested Butte, which prides itself on its extreme terrain and down home appeal.
“Get ready for $30 parking and $150 lift tickets,” bemoaned one local on the Crested Butte News Facebook page.
“Good for economy and capital improvements, bad for crowds and culture,” summed up another.
Since its opening in 1961, Crested Butte has passed through three families, including the Muellers, who bought it in 2004.
The addition of Crested Butte brings Vail’s holdings in Colorado to five. In addition to its namesake resort, Vail also owns Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.
In a separate deal, Vail also announced Monday that it plans to buy Stevens Pass Resort in Washington for $67 million from Ski Resort Holdings.
"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," Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, said in a statement.
The addition of CB may be enough to sweeten the deal for local skiers who’ve been toying with the idea of an Epic Pass. Earlier this year, Vail lured away Telluride, which had been part of the Mountain Collective pass. The cheapest Epic product, the four-day pass, which offers four free days at all Vail resorts, is currently going for $439.
The Epic Pass covers 19 “world class” resorts throughout the country and British Columbia, including Fernie, Kicking Horse, Kirkwood and Park City.