Based on review and research conducted by New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) and the Attorney General’s office, “we have come to the conclusion that New Hampshire can be confident that Vail is a great fit for our state,” said Commissioner Sarah Stewart.
The State of New Hampshire leased the operation of Mount Sunapee to the Mueller family in 1998. In June, The Muellers announced the sale of Mount Sunapee, Vermont’s Okemo, and Colorado’s Crested Butte to Vail Resorts.
The lease transfer had to be approved by the DNCR. The lease states that “The Operator may assign, or otherwise transfer any interest in this Agreement, with the prior written approval of the State...Such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld by the State.”
“This 20 year partnership has been a great success. Over 22 million dollars has been invested in capital improvements at Mount Sunapee since 1998 and over 8.5 million dollars in lease payments have been invested in Cannon Mountain Ski Area,” said Stewart. “The Muellers and their team have created one of the best ski areas in the east for snow grooming, snow quality, family programs and overall value and satisfaction has been consistently ranked in the top 20 overall since 2007.”
The West Bowl amendment that was adopted in 2016 will need to go before the Governor and Executive Council in order to apply to the new lessee. The West Bowl expansion project, approved in 2016, would allow a 56-acre expansion of ski terrain. At a public information session at Mount Sunapee in July, a Vail representative said the West Bowl project was not a priority for them.
Approval will also be needed for amendments that add change of control language that broadens the state’s authority to approve the assignment or transfer of the lease, and updates the lease to include a reference to a Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission.
Update, Sept. 28, 2018: Vail Resorts has officially completed its purchase of Okemo, Mount Sunapee, and Crested Butte. The Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass and Military Epic Pass now include unlimited, unrestricted access to the three resorts for the 2018-19 season. Season passes are currently on sale, with prices increasing Oct. 7. Vail Resorts plans to invest $35 million over the next two years across the three resorts and newly acquired Stevens Pass.