Yesterday, the ski industry’s newly formed heavy weight, i.e. the entity controlled by affiliates of KSL Capital Partners, LLC and Henry Crown and Company—who owns the Aspen Skiing Company—announced that they are acquiring yet another world-class U.S. resort. This time it’s Deer Valley Resort, which brings the entity’s total number of resorts to 13. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The transaction is subject to certain closing conditions and is anticipated to close prior to the upcoming 2017-18 ski season.
Photo: Eric Schramm/Deer Valley Resort
From the Press Release:
“Deer Valley Resort is one of the preeminent mountain resorts in the world and is a tremendous addition to our existing portfolio. Prior to this acquisition, we were able to offer our guests exceptional experiences throughout most of North America’s major ski regions, but we did not have a resort in Utah, a state that is renowned for great skiing and mountain town life. Park City and Salt Lake skiers have always known that powder, blue skies, a huge variety of terrain, and exemplary guest service have always set Deer Valley Resort apart,” said David Perry, president and chief operating officer of the new joint venture. “We could not be more pleased that Deer Valley Resort will be part of our new company, and we look forward to working with the staff and Park City community to carry on the traditions that make it so special,” added Mr. Perry.
“We are thrilled to join this impressive portfolio with 12 other resorts and are excited about the opportunities this transaction will create for our guests, staff, and the community of Park City. Deer Valley is a special place and being part of its growth has been one of the great joys of my life,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager. “Joining this portfolio of resorts will enable Deer Valley to build upon its outstanding traditions and further enhance our ability to provide our guests with a world class skiing experience. I look forward to working with them as we develop our vision for the future of the resort and the new company.”
For the full 2017-2018 winter season, Deer Valley will continue to honor the existing pass products that are currently on sale.
About Deer Valley
Deer Valley Resort revolutionized the ski industry by providing the first-class service one would receive at a five-star hotel. The resort offers 21 chairlifts, 101 ski runs, six bowls, 12 restaurants, 300 annual inches of powder, three elegant day lodges, 2,026 acres of alpine skiing, hundreds of luxury accommodations and a renowned Ski School and Children’s Center.
About Intrawest Resorts, Inc., Mammoth Resorts, Squaw Valley Ski Holdings and the New Joint Venture (new name and identity to be announced before ski season)
The new joint venture is a North American mountain resort and adventure company, delivering distinctive vacation and travel experiences to its customers. Together, Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts and SVSH own and/or operate 12 four-season mountain resorts with approximately 20,000 skiable acres and significant land available for real estate development. The mountain resorts are geographically diversified across most of North America’s major ski regions: Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain in California; Steamboat Ski & Resort and Winter Park Resort in Colorado; Blue Mountain Ski Resort in Ontario; Mont Tremblant Resort in Quebec; Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont; and Snowshoe Mountain Resort in West Virginia. The company’s mountain resorts are geographically diversified across most of North America’s major ski regions, including California, the Eastern United States, the Rocky Mountains, and Canada. The company also operates an adventure travel business, the cornerstone of which is Canadian Mountain Holidays, the world’s leading heli-skiing adventure company. Additionally, the company operates a comprehensive real estate business through which it manages condominium hotel properties and sells and markets residential real estate.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Question: What is the transaction?
Answer: The joint venture that brought Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts and Squaw Valley Ski Holdings together has entered into an agreement to acquire Deer Valley. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Question: When will the transaction close?
Answer: The transaction is expected to close prior to the new ski season.
Question: Is Solitude included in the buy?
Answer: No. Deer Valley partners will maintain ownership of Solitude Mountain Resort
Question: Why are KSL and HCC interested in Deer Valley?
Answer: Deer Valley is one of the preeminent resorts in the world. This transaction allows the new company to reach skiers and vacationers that desire to ski and travel to Utah, one of the premier ski destinations in North America. This acquisition will benefit the skiing public by providing Utah skiers and riders both an option in their state and destination options within a larger portfolio of resorts; it also provides guests at the other 12 resorts another destination with premier skiing.
Question: Why did Deer Valley decide to enter into this agreement?
Answer: Over the last 36 years, Deer Valley has developed into one of the highest quality ski resorts in the country. This transaction puts the resort in a strong position to continue to grow as part of a portfolio of 12 other outstanding resorts. Deer Valley is excited about the new opportunities this will create for the staff, guests and the Park City community.
Question: Is Aspen Snowmass part of the new entity?
Answer: No, there is no inclusion of current Aspen Snowmass resorts in this transaction. Aspen remains independent, and we will explore opportunities to work together when and where it is appropriate.
Question: Who is the appropriate press contact or person to direct questions?
Answer: Please direct all press inquiries and external stakeholder questions to Lis de Roziere LdeRoziere@Intrawest.com at the new entity and Coleen Reardon firstname.lastname@example.org or Emily Summers email@example.com at Deer Valley.
DESCRIPTION OF COMPANIES
Question: Who is Henry Crown and Company?
Answer: Henry Crown and Company dates back to the early 1900’s when Henry Crown and his brothers started Material Service Corporation, which was later merged into General Dynamics. Today, the Crown’s family assets fall into four broadly defined categories, including publicly traded securities, real estate, investment funds, and privately held operating companies, including Aspen Skiing Company.
Question: Who is KSL?
Answer: KSL is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has significant ski industry experience and has owned Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows for the last six years. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado; Stamford, Connecticut; and London, England. Since 2005, KSL has raised approximately $7.5 billion in equity capital commitments. For more information, please visit www.kslcapital.com.
Question: Who is Intrawest?
Answer: Intrawest is a North American mountain resort, adventure, and real estate company. Intrawest’s ski resort portfolio is geographically diverse and includes Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado, Mont-Tremblant and Blue Mountain in eastern Canada, Stratton and Snowshoe in the eastern U.S., and Canadian Mountain Holidays (“CMH”) in British Columbia. Additionally, Intrawest owns more than 1,100 acres of land for real estate development. For more information visit www.intrawest.com.
Question: Who is Squaw Valley Ski Holdings?
Answer: Squaw Valley Ski Holdings (“SVSH”), an affiliate of KSL, is the parent company of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is an internationally renowned mountain resort in North Lake Tahoe that spans over 6,000 skiable acres. The resort features slopeside lodging at The Village at Squaw Valley®, which bustles year round with nonstop events and over 50 bars, restaurants and boutiques. With an annual average of 450 inches of snowfall and 300 sunny days, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows is known as the spring skiing capital as it provides one of the longest ski and snowboard seasons in Lake Tahoe. Skiers and riders of all ability levels are welcomed by over 65 percent beginner and intermediate terrain, 14 easy-to-navigate mountain zones and a custom app to make the most of every visit. For more information visit www.squawalpine.com.
Question: Who is Mammoth Resorts?
Answer: Mammoth Resorts is the leading four-season mountain resort operator in California. The company owns and operates a variety of recreation, hospitality, real estate development, food and beverage and retail enterprises. This includes Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and June Mountain. Mammoth Resorts is also the owner-operator of Tamarack Lodge and Resort, Mammoth Mountain Inn, Juniper Springs Resort, the Village Lodge, Mammoth Mountain Bike Park, Snow Summit Bike Park, Mammoth Snowmobile Adventures, Sierra Star Golf Course, and Bear Mountain Golf Course. For more information visit www.mammothresorts.com.
Question: Who is Aspen?
Answer: Aspen Skiing Company owns and operates the four mountains of Aspen Snowmass – Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk – as well hospitality properties The Little Nell, Residences at The Little Nell, Limelight Aspen, and Limelight Ketchum in Ketchum, Idaho. In addition, Aspen Skiing Company owns and operates numerous retail and rental locations through the resort and the Roaring Fork Valley. For more information, please visit www.aspensnowmass.com.
Question: Will Deer Valley continue with business as usual?
Answer: Operations will continue in ordinary course. For the full 2017-18 winter season, Deer Valley will continue to honor existing season pass and multi-resort products. Future seasonal hiring will remain in the ordinary course.
Question: Will Deer Valley allow snowboarding?
Answer: There are no plans to allow snowboarding at this time.
Question: How about all of the unique services such as limiting the numbers of skiers on the hill, ski valets, complimentary ski storage and host tours, and free parking?
Answer: There are no plans to change Deer Valley’s offerings or programs.
Question: Will staff grooming standards change or remain the same?
Answer: Staff grooming standards will remain the same, as outlined in the Deer Valley staff handbook
Question: What will happen to season passes?
Answer: For the full 2017-18 winter season, we will continue to honor all existing season pass products. Deer Valley will also maintain its current season pass reciprocal program benefits, such as the Wasatch Benefit and Solitude and Steamboat pass exchanges.
Question: Will Intrawest, Mammoth, or SVSH be added to our passes?
Answer: As passes for next year are already being sold, no immediate changes to pass products are planned.
Question: Will Aspen Snowmass be involved in a joint pass in the future?
Answer: This is open to discussion and consideration in the future.
Question: Are there additional acquisition opportunities?
Answer: The Company will continue to explore additional growth opportunities to complement the current resorts.
Question: When will a new pass product be announced? What will that look like?
Answer: There will be no changes in passes for the 2017-18 season. Regarding future new passes, this will be shared at the appropriate time.
Question: Will the current management at Deer Valley remain in place with the new company?
Answer: Yes. Bob Wheaton will maintain his position as General Manager serving in his current Deer Valley role with no anticipated changes for the foreseeable future. Bob will continue to provide guidance and support at Solitude Mountain Resort with Kim Mayhew continuing as General Manager.
Question: Who is running this new company?
Answer: Bryan Traficanti of KSL is serving as interim CEO for the new company while the company runs a search process to hire a CEO. Also, David Perry joined the company from Aspen to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer.
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.