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Vail Resorts To Purchase Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte, Stevens Pass

VROkemo

Vail Resorts launched another salvo in the battle to own the winter destination market and a larger slice of the ski marketplace with the purchase of Vermont’s Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, Crested Butte in Colorado and Steven Pass in Washington Monday.

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Season Pass Face-Off Begins: Epic Vs. Ikon

Epic-Powder

Epic Pass expands your horizons. (Epic Pass/Facebook)

The initial price of $899 is the same, but there’s plenty to choose from as the major multi-resort players put their best face forward in the season pass wars.

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Some Old Midwest Standbys Turned 80 This Winter

Wilmot-Mountain-the-early-days

Wilmot Mountain in the early days. (Wilmot/Facebook) 

Three of the Heartland’s oldest ski areas, Granite Peak and Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, and Caberfae Peaks in Michigan, turned 80 this winter, and all are thriving well. 

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Telluride Joins Epic As Pass Wars Escalate

Telluride-Steeps

Steeps can be had with Epic Pass. (Telluride/Facebook)

Telluride has become the latest ski and snowboard resort to enter the season pass fray with the recent announcement that the southwest Colorado mountain will be part of the Epic Pass program.

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Vail Resorts Commits To Zero Net Operating Footprint By 2030

Northstar-Vail-Resorts

Vail Resorts is working to keep Northstar snowy. (Vail Resorts/Facebook)

Vail Resorts will aggressively pursue a comprehensive sustainability commitment, called “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint.” This undertaking commits to zero net emissions by 2030, zero waste to landfill by 2030 and zero net operating impact to forests and habitat.
 


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Stowe Officially Epic For 2017-2018 Winter Season



The Epic Pass now offers unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe. (Stowe/Facebook)

The Epic Pass now offers unlimited, unrestricted access to Stowe. (Stowe/Facebook)

Vail Resorts has officially closed on the acquisition of Stowe Mountain Resort, adding the iconic Vermont slopes to Vail’s wide-reaching Epic Pass destinations.

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Stowe Will Be Epic: Vail Resorts Buys Stowe For $50 Million

Stowe Will Be Epic: Vail Resorts Buys Stowe For $50 Million

Vail's purchase of Stowe will mean more pass options for Eastern skiers. (Stowe)

Northeast skiers and riders can look forward to adding an Epic Pass to their season pass options next year, as Vail Resorts has announced the purchase of Stowe Mountain Resort for $50 million.

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New Book Offers Insider View Of Ski Industry

New Book Offers Insider View Of Ski Industry

Managing Steamboat under ASC wasn’t fun, but reviving it under Intrawest worked out. (Steamboat/Facebook)

So what’s it like to have chased the dream of a job in the ski industry?

Having worked for North America’s first-three major ski conglomerates, Chris Diamond was in a unique position to share his experiences and insights. So after retiring in 2015, he penned his 44-year ski-industry memoir, he told SnoCountry.com.


SKI INC. is a fast and fascinating read which describes not only players who shaped modern ski history but also the challenges resorts face, mistakes made, and keys to success and profitability. Add observations as to the future of skiing and how Vail Resorts came to have a dominant role as the world’s largest ski company and the insights are as instructive as they are surprisingly optimistic for skiing’s future.

From ski bum to career

A part-time bartender in Killington during college, Diamond had a short but effective stint in Killington’s marketing department working under the legendary Foster T. Chandler before service in Vietnam. In 1972, he continued his ski career as assistant to Killington Resort founder Pres Smith, which enabled him to be part of the tremendous growth of the ski area and its parent company’s acquisitions.

Mount Snow pool

At the helm of Mount Snow from 1977 to 1994, Diamond then became vice president for Business Development and president of the Vermont resorts for S-K-I Ltd. He was part of the team that saw S-K-I become the first successful ski industry giant after going public in 1985.

Killington ski instructors

Diamond shows how companies become successful but also notes missteps, writing: “Looking back at these early experiences at Killington and Mount Snow, there is one clear regret I have relative to their status today as regional resorts versus ‘what might have been.’ While the outside perception of the ski business insists that the core financial driver is real estate, nothing could be further from the truth. Well-run resorts make money on operations. That said, real estate is very important for destination ski resorts in that it can support or enable the strategic vision.”

His explication of being at a competitive disadvantage without a modern bed base is intriguing and his observation that “in Vermont, government is the enemy” is only part of his answer as what happened.

In 1999, Diamond became president of Steamboat under the American Skiing Company, which had purchased S-K-I to become the new largest ski company. Diamond praises founder Les Otten for his many contributions to skiing while denouncing the spending spree that cost him his company.

Steamboat’s revival under new owner Intrawest provides a look at what was then North America’s largest ski conglomerate until the bottom fell out of real estate.

The most intriguing chapter explores Vail Resorts’ amazing success. While he never worked for Vail, Diamond knew the players and offers an astute analysis that includes the ramifications of the Epic Pass and his opinion that “it’s just a matter of time” before Vail enters the Northeastern market.

SKI INC. is must reading for anyone interested in snow sports and is now available from skidiamondconsulting.com and from Amazon in January.

SKI Inc.

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Vail Resorts Purchases Whistler Blackcomb For $1 Billion

Vail Resorts Purchases Whistler Blackcomb For $1 Billion

Future just got brighter for Whistler Blackcomb with purchase by Vail. (Whistler Blackcomb)

Holders of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass will have to wait a season before adding another 8,000 acres to their winter portfolio, after Vail Resorts announced the purchase of Whistler Blackcomb for more than $1 billion.

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Amy Reents Is New MSAA Director As Chris Stoddard Steps Down

Amy Reents MWSALongtime Midwest Ski Areas Association (MSAA) Executive Director Chris Stoddard has stepped down after 25 years, and Amy Augustine Reents, who has been active in the Midwest ski industry for the past 25 years, has been named the new President/Executive Director.  

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