As the 2016/17 ski season winds down, Aspen Skiing Company has just cured our post–Highlands Closing case of the Mondays with news of plans to acquire Intrawest Resorts Holdings.
Coming through a newly formed partnership with KSL Capital Partners, SkiCo’s projected $1.5 billion deal includes Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Snowshoe in West Virginia and Stratton in Vermont, along with Canada’s Tremblant, Blue Mountain, and Canadian Mountain Holidays—the world’s largest heliskiing operator. While not a condition to the merger, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings, the parent company of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows resort and a KSL affiliate, will also become part of the entity at closing (slated to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2017), but continue to operate under its current management.
“The enthusiasm that Intrawest’s employees exhibit for the guest experience and for being responsible members of their communities is apparent in all they do. We are excited to be part of the investment group that is going to work hard to help realize the collective potential of Intrawest’s portfolio of resorts,” Mike Kaplan, chief executive officer of SkiCo said in a statement.
Today's news has also sent shockwaves through Colorado's ski industry, with Vail Resorts suddenly facing some new competition. The Denver Post reports, "And suddenly Colorado is ground-zero for what will become the most hawkish rivalry in the U.S. ski resort industry, with Aspen Skiing–KSL vying against the world’s largest resort operator, Vail Resorts, in an escalating battle of consolidation. In the past year Vail Resorts has spent $1.1 billion for three-quarters of Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb ski area and $50 million for Vermont’s Stowe in an aggressive expansion plan anchored in a strategy to sell more of its wildly popular Epic Passes."
For the full 2017–18 winter season, each Intrawest resort will continue to honor the resort’s existing pass products that are currently on sale, including the Rocky Mountain Super Pass and and the M.A.X. Pass. No word yet on how the new roster of resorts will affect the Mountain Collective Pass for next season, but either way, it's going to be more epic than ever.
Updated (April 12, 2017):
Just two days after SkiCo's game-changing announcement, the newly formed dream team has added California to its map with the acquisition of Mammoth Resorts, which includes Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain, and June Mountain. SkiCo and KSL Capital Partners expect to close the deal on the same timeline as Intrawest (slated to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2017).
“Mammoth is a special place. The landscape is spectacular, the mountain is phenomenal, and the place is in constant motion. Whether it’s the vibrant park and pipe scene, the high-quality alpine racing programs, or excellent mountain biking, Mammoth has it all,” Mike Kaplan, chief executive officer of SkiCo, said in a statement. “At the same time, Bear and Snow Summit serve local skiers perhaps better than anyone in the industry with high-quality skiing and riding right on the doorstep of Southern California. We couldn’t be more pleased to work with these extraordinary properties.”
For the full 2017–18 winter season, Mammoth will continue to honor the resort’s existing pass products that are currently on sale, including the Mountain Collective.
Your move, Vail Resorts.