Vail Resorts to buy Stevens Pass

DENVER — In yet another local ski resort ownership shake-up, Vail Resorts announced plans to buy Stevens Pass and three other resorts outside Washington.

The ski resort behemoth announced Monday that Stevens Pass will become Vail Resorts' second Pacific Northwest resort, after Whistler-Blackcomb. Vail is slated to pay $67 million to Ski Resort Holdings, LLC.

The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

The move could mean both good and bad things for Washington skiers and snowboarders, said Matt Hansen, the Editor-at-Large at Powder Magazine.

On one hand, Vail has a history of buying up local mountains and improving amenities like lifts, lodging and parking. Vail has committed to spend $35 million over two years to improve the newly purchased resorts, officials said.

Also, Stevens Pass and other acquired resorts will be part of the Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, which opens unlimited skiing or snowboarding to all of the Vail Resorts' 65 mountains for season ticket holders.

But the price of daily lift tickets could go up, Hansen said, as Vail has a history of bumping prices.  With prices already sitting at $89 a day during peak season, this could move the cost over $100.

And what's left of Stevens Pass small-mountain charm and iconic Northwest appeal may disappear as Vail comes to town.

"They upgrade lifts and lodges and those things are great," Hansen said. "But the price that comes with it is you lose some of that old character that really makes a ski area like Stevens what it is."

Vail is also paying the Mueller family $82 million to acquire Triple Peaks LLC, which owns Crested Butte in Colorado, Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire.

Earlier this year, Michigan-based Boyne Resorts bought the Summit at Snoqualmie.