In the push for dominance of the ski industry, the new partnership between Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners just got one step closer to challenging Vail Resorts’ reign. Fresh off of their announcement that the ski group had bought Intrawest Resort Holdings for $1.5 billion just days ago (which owns Steamboat, among others), Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital today announced they had bought California’s Mammoth resorts. Per the Denver Post:
“The new Aspen Skiing Co.-KSL Capital Partners alliance is buying the Eastern Sierra’s Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, giving the nascent partnership more than 6,000 acres of southern California ski terrain across four resorts that host more than 2 million visits a year. No price was announced, but in 2005 the resort traded hands for $365 million.”
The announcement comes after Mammoth and its surrounding resorts have had a monster snow year, which is sure to help boost skier visits in the coming season, especially as the past several seasons have had dismal snowfall totals during the years of drought in the state of California. Mammoth’s location is similarly a lucrative one; the Denver Post cites its proximity to 23 million southern California residents as a prime reason that it’s seen interest over the years from other ski companies (ahem, Vail Resorts), as well. Add to that winning combination that Mammoth alone tallies between a million and a million and a half visits a year as both a winter and summer destination, and it seems like it was just a matter of time that the California resort came under the wing of a larger company. It’s just another jockeying and shuffling of resorts in what has been a winter of headline acquisitions by major ski conglomerates, with Vail Resorts acquiring Stowe and Whistler earlier this season. And while locals often cry afoul when larger companies come to town (see Park City with the Vail Resorts takeover, although there had long been animosity between the front offices at both resorts), bigger companies with bigger budgets often can spring for greater resort investment and upkeep, and more comprehensive passes that grant skiers and snowboarders access to more resorts at lower prices. Sure, I get the whole “evil empire” sentiment (I do live in Vail), but at the same time, it should be interesting to see how this acquisition will continue to shape the ski industry for seasons to come. Let the games begin.
Photo Courtesy of Mammoth’s Facebook page.