“Vail Resorts saw excellence and inquired about a possible purchase. We took a long time to think about how we wanted to proceed.”
Ownership of Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is soon to change. Vail Resorts has entered into an agreement to purchase CBMR and its two sister ski area operating companies owned by the Mueller family.
According to a statement from Vail Resorts issued early Monday, the company will pay $82 million to acquire the Mueller family’s Triple Peaks LLC. That includes Okemo Mountain in Vermont, Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire and CBMR.
Vail Resorts also will pay the $155 million lease owed by Triple Peaks to Ski Resort Holdings LLC at closing.
In an e-mail early Monday to employees, the Muellers indicated that the decision to sell “was the hardest decision we have ever made, especially as we begin to transition through this deal and say goodbye to each of you.”
The statement indicates that Vail Resorts recently approached the Muellers about buying out leases and the operating companies for all three mountains.
“Vail Resorts saw excellence and inquired about a possible purchase,” according to the letter. “We took a long time to think about how we wanted to proceed.”
Vail Resorts also announced Monday that it is acquiring Stavens Pass in Washington state for $67 million as part of a separate transaction. The acquisition of Crested Butte will make the mountain Vail Resorts’ fifth Colorado ski resort along with Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone.
“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.”
The Muellers purchased CBMR in 2004, following their 1982 acquisition of Okemo and 1998 purchase of Mount Sunapee.
Earlier this year, CBMR leaders announced a partnership in Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass that would give holders of the Epic Pass seven days of skiing this coming season at CBMR. However, upon closing of the recently announced purchases, Vail’s Epic line of pass products will now include unlimited access to CBMR.
After closing of the two transactions, Vail Resorts plans to invest $35 million over the next two years across the four resorts to continue to elevate the guest experience.
The Mueller family noted that multiple questions still surround the acquisition and path forward for CBMR.
“What does this mean for us? For our teams? What does this mean for our communities and the mountains that we have poured decades worth of passion into? We were not naïve in realizing this would mean changes as the future unfolds,” they wrote. “We spent a lot of time contemplating all of this, and decided that moving forward with the sale was in the best interest for the future of the mountains, our employees, communities and our loyal guests. As we look 10, 20, 30 years down the road, we ultimately decided that now would be the right time.”
Look for more on the announcement in Thursday’s edition of the Times.