Picture the Yankees and the Red Sox burying the hatchet. Imagine NBC and Conan kissing and making up. Now you know how unlikely it is that a Sugarbush-Mad River Glen partnership would develop. 

But after a momentous announcement in Warren, Vt., picture Coke and Pepsi sharing formulas. Such is the nature of the détente that opens the door for skiers to enjoy Sugarbush Resort, the former Glen Ellen resort and Mad River Glen in a new cooperative. Despite sharing the Mad River Valley - they are just six and a half miles apart - it took over half a century to officially get them together.

“The Mad River Valley’s potentially distinct marketing advantage was never taken advantage of,” said Sugarbush Communications Manager Pat Brown. “What ensued instead was a decades-long, oftentimes tense, adversarial and competitive relationship. That was until now.” Glen Ellen and Sugarbush merged in 1979. Mad River Glen joins 33 years later.

To term this a cooperative however, is ironic, in that prior to the agreement, the two areas were rivals. The first salvo occurred when Sugarbush came into existence and hired a mountain manager away from Mad River Glen.

Mad River Glen 1012There are several other distinctions: MRG does not allow snowboarders; Sugarbush does. MRG does not have snowmaking; Sugarbush does. MRG appeals to a niche market; Sugarbush connects with various demographic groups.

But this partnership underscores the concept of cooperation for the greater good, with an emphasis on snow industry growth through attracting younger participants.
“We decided that when we can work together, we will,” Eric Friedman, MRG Marketing Director told “We have done things in the past but lots of it has been informal.

“This has been evolving over time. In the past we seemed to focus on our differences, not what we had in common. But when Win Smith took over Sugarbush, he realized that working together was better than working separately.”

In exclusive comments to, Smith, President at Sugarbush Resort, added, “This gives people a tremendous variety. No one in the East has this kind of vastness. There’s wonderful terrain if you ski all three mountains.” He embellished his point in revealing that he skied at MRG before coming to Sugarbush, and his wife is a double shareholder at MRG.

Ski and stay packages will include access to all three complexes, with additional amenities to include restaurants, theaters and shops in the valley. Full-time college students have unlimited access to Mad River Glen, Lincoln Peak and Mount Ellen via the Threesome College Pass. The unveiling gives the impression that, one day, Google and Bing, will search together.


Photos: Sugarbush Resort; Mad River Glen