Sugarbush Sold To Alterra Group To Protect Against Ski Business Trends and Climate Change
25th November 2019
Category : Resorts
Sugarbush Resort in Vermont is the latest to join one of the two big ski groups in the US, Alterra and Vail Resorts, in its case opting for Alterra.
“For me, today is a bit like walking my daughter down the aisle at her wedding. I have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat knowing that I am about to give away someone I have raised and loved. Looking down the aisle, however, I am delighted to see someone waiting who will also love, respect, and care for her as I have done. While things will not be the same, I am excited about this next stage of our lives. And, I am comforted knowing that we are not saying goodbye!” said owner Win Smith.
Win Smith and three others had purchased Sugarbush from the American Skiing Company with the intention of restoring Sugarbush to what it was when founded by the Gadd, Murphy, and Estin families in 1958.
Since then they have turned the then unprofitable and deteriorating resort into one that is profitable and respected throughout the industry, recently celebrated the centre’s 60th anniversary. So the decision has caused some shock in the local community.
Win Smith will now become an employee of Alterra but stay on as president and the company says the entire resort team will remain in place under the new owners.
The Alterra Mountain Company is Vail Resorts’ leading competitor and owns 14 resorts in North America and partners with an additional 27 around the world on their Ikon Pass.
“Over the years of our ownership, we have turned down several offers to sell Sugarbush and have prided ourselves on being independently owned and operated. However, recent events in the ski industry and the challenge of rising costs posed both by climate change and by doing business in Vermont have convinced me that a new owner is needed to ensure a sustainable future for Sugarbush. Until now I had not laid out a succession plan and identified who would be the best future custodian of Sugarbush. Most importantly, I needed to find someone who would care for Sugarbush as we have and our entire Sugarbush community would expect. I have found such an owner in Alterra Mountain Company,” Win Smith added.
The transaction is expected to close in early January 2020 subject to regulatory approvals.