In The News: Crested Butte Owners Pen Letter To The Community After Vail Resorts Purchase

Vail Resorts is at it again, this time purchasing Triple Peaks LLC, the parent company of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire, and Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. In a separate transaction, they have purchased Stevens Pass Resort in Washington State.

This marks good news for Epic Pass holders, who will now have access to four additional resorts for the 2018-2019 season. With the purchase, Vail Resorts plans to invest $35 million at the four resorts over the next two years.

Significant in this purchase is that 3 family owned ski resorts (Okemo, Sunapee, and Crested Butte) are now joining the Vail Resorts family. Of chief concern in many towns with companies like Vail and Ikon’s rabid purchasing is the loss of each town’s uniqueness, and what effect it will have on their local economy–fair enough. What makes each mountain town special, and each traveller want to explore these places is that the mountains themselves, as well as the locals, have their own personality.

With a promise to spend $35 million over the next two years between the three new resorts , let’s hope some of that money goes to preserving the soul of these iconic ski areas and their accompanying towns. Without each town’s unique culture, our greater community is lesser.

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Putting charm to the test. Photo: Chris Segal

Triple Peaks LLC, a family owned business that runs the 3 resorts, wrote a letter to the community of Crested Butte to address the changes, and the future of the resort. Anyone who has visited Crested Butte, along with Mount Sunapee and Okemo has experienced the vibe that makes them all special places that deserve to be preserved. Check out the letter below and let us know what you think in the comments. -ML

From Crested Butte:

To Our Community: 

As many of you have recently learned, our family has made the decision to sell Crested Butte Mountain Resort to Vail Resorts. While we realize this may come as a surprise to some, we want you all to know this was a very hard decision.  We started in the resort business in 1972, and then got started in the ski resort business at Okemo in 1982.  Growing up in the ski industry created a foundation for our entire lives and developed much of what we are passionate about today.

For the last 14 years in Crested Butte, we have developed many friendships with people at work and within this community. There are so many stories and too many memories to count. We have poured our hearts into making the best skiing and riding experiences possible in the three places we have called home for so long: Okemo; Mount Sunapee; and Crested Butte. 

We have seen an amazing amount of change in the ski industry over the years.  Much of the evolution has been good: improved technologies around ski gear; the onset of snowboarding; grooming equipment; energy efficient snowmaking; and probably the most heartening is how many more people ski and ride or simply come to the mountains now versus three decades ago.  

Our business model has always been somewhat unique in this industry; operating large, successful ski resorts that are family owned. It is something we have always enjoyed, been proud of, and worked hard to preserve. Another reason this decision has been incredibly difficult for our family.
When approached by Vail Resorts, all of these thoughts, memories and realities stirred through our heads.  What does this mean for us?  What does this mean for our teams?  What does this mean for our communities?  What does this mean for the mountains that we have poured decades of energy into? We were not naïve in understanding this would mean changes in the future. We spent a lot of time contemplating all of this, and ultimately decided that moving forward with the sale was in the best interest for Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  Although we cannot perfectly predict the future, we ultimately felt this would be a positive move.  We realize the idea of a large company like Vail Resorts overseeing the operations of our unique resorts may feel unsettling. However, the reality is they are mountain operators and run some of the best and most successful resorts in the industry. Putting CBMR in their hands will ensure a good future for the ski area and therefore support a good future for the Gunnison Valley. They are great operators and good people. They will invest in the mountain and our community and they will do so following their company values that are similar to what we have lived by over the years. 

While some of you may think we have only considered ourselves in this decision, this could not be farther from the truth. We have entered into this transaction with the best intentions for the ski area, our fellow employees, and the valley. If we did not think this was going to bring more opportunity for the resort in the years to come, we would not have made this decision. Our goal has never been to make Crested Butte the biggest, but to make it the best and we feel Vail Resorts is poised to do just that.

With that said, it is obvious that Vail Resorts will do some things differently than us. We hope you will be open to their approach and give them the opportunity to prove their good intentions.

Anyone who has owned a business or been intimately involved in one knows how much you care about that business succeeding, whether or not you still own it. That is most definitely our hope, and in turn, we hope it leads to further success and sustainability for the entire community. It has been a pleasure operating this awesome ski area for the last 14 years. We have come a long way and look forward to watching this valley prosper, while continuing to be the fun, quirky and amazing community that it is.

Thank you for sharing it with us.

With mountains of gratitude,

Tim, Diane, Ethan & Erica