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Merger of the Week: Alterra to Buy Solitude (Utah)

thetrailboss

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Ski Utah just broke the news that Alterra has entered into an agreement to purchase Solitude Resort from its current owner, Deer Valley Partners.

Alterra bought Deer Valley about a year ago from Deer Valley Partners. Deer Valley Partners continued to run Solitude last winter.

Not a big surprise considering that it was odd that Alterra bought one without the other. I had figured that DVP wanted to cash out completely. If I had to guess, Alterra did not have the money a year ago. Unfortunately DVP had to suffer a terrible winter.

https://www.skiutah.com/blog/author...446050453&mc_cid=cabaf628ec&mc_eid=989685c04d

Alterra Mountain Company announced today that it has entered into an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah, which would bring the company’s total to 13 year-round mountain destinations throughout North America, including the world’s largest heli-skiing operation.

“With its close relationship with Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort is a natural fit for Alterra Mountain Company, and a tremendous addition to our family of destinations. We are especially excited to expand our reach within Utah and offer another ski and snowboard experience in a state known for its exceptional snow and mountain culture,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer, Alterra Mountain Company.

Solitude Mountain Resort is located just 34 miles from the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and less than an hour from Deer Valley Resort, in the renowned Big Cottonwood Canyon. The mountain offers skiers and riders 77 runs, three bowls, and a vertical drop of 2,030 feet (619 meters) across 1,200 acres, plus some of the most impressive off-piste terrain in the country. The quaint base village offers ski-in/ski-out accommodations along with year-round activities for guests.

“Joining the impressive group of Alterra Mountain Company destinations places Solitude Mountain Resort in a strong position to continue to grow and enhance the brand and culture that is Solitude,” said Kim Mayhew, General Manager. “We are excited about the opportunities this transaction will create for our guests, our staff, and for our community in Big Cottonwood Canyon.”

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2018, and is subject to certain closing conditions, including regulatory approvals. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. More details will be released once the transaction has closed, including Ikon Pass inclusion details and more.
 

Jully

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Not surprised either. Will be interesting to see how Solitude is inserted into the Ikon pass. My guess it goes on as Unlimited to be the anchor ski area for SLC (being as Bird/Alta and Deer are both limited areas).

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Agreed. I bet Solitude skiers are really anxious about crowds, but I doubt it will be a doomsday scenario. Mountain will likely see more crowds, but it will still feel quite secluded.
 

boston_e

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Agreed. I bet Solitude skiers are really anxious about crowds, but I doubt it will be a doomsday scenario. Mountain will likely see more crowds, but it will still feel quite secluded.

They were in Max last year (not unlimited of course) and when we went over Feb break the crowds were minimal. I would guess it would not have too much of an effect.
 

Jully

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They were in Max last year (not unlimited of course) and when we went over Feb break the crowds were minimal. I would guess it would not have too much of an effect.

I think Ikon is fairly different than the Max pass. Max likely wasn't something SLC residents were buying (10 Utah days). This could make Ikon a primary pass for an SLC based skier looking for a PC alternative with solitude (I'm guessing unlimited on full Ikon and may be even base with blackouts) as the primary hill.

With the first deadline already passed, I doubt it'll make a huge impact this year, but next season i think we see some real changes in crowds. Parking in particular I've heard people being worried about.
 

BenedictGomez

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If I'm Alterra I approach Boyne and make an offer for recently-acquired Brighton.

If that's too much to deal with financially at the moment, I at the very least offer a partnership giving Boyne Resorts passholders 50% off tix at Solitude in exchange for reciprocal 50% off at Brighton.
 

thetrailboss

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If I'm Alterra I approach Boyne and make an offer for recently-acquired Brighton.

If that's too much to deal with financially at the moment, I at the very least offer a partnership giving Boyne Resorts passholders 50% off tix at Solitude in exchange for reciprocal 50% off at Brighton.

They already have a joint-pass and some reciprocal deals.


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boston_e

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I think Ikon is fairly different than the Max pass. Max likely wasn't something SLC residents were buying (10 Utah days). This could make Ikon a primary pass for an SLC based skier looking for a PC alternative with solitude (I'm guessing unlimited on full Ikon and may be even base with blackouts) as the primary hill.

With the first deadline already passed, I doubt it'll make a huge impact this year, but next season i think we see some real changes in crowds. Parking in particular I've heard people being worried about.

Good point... that could be a much bigger deal for the Utah based skier vs the out of towners. Although taking a look at Solitude's website, a Solitude season pass already gets you 10 free lift tickets to Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley and Brighton, so for the Utah based skier (who may be unlikely to fly to Colorado or elsewhere to ski) the IKON may not move the needle that much. It will be interesting to see.
 

thetrailboss

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Good point... that could be a much bigger deal for the Utah based skier vs the out of towners. Although taking a look at Solitude's website, a Solitude season pass already gets you 10 free lift tickets to Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley and Brighton, so for the Utah based skier (who may be unlikely to fly to Colorado or elsewhere to ski) the IKON may not move the needle that much. It will be interesting to see.

Exactly. It is hard to compare when the passes already have so many additional perks.

My wife suggested that we move to Solitude next year or get the IKON pass. I'm an Alta/Bird passholder and she is an Alta passholder. I looked up our current benefits and they are almost EXACTLY what the IKON pass has.....except we get to got Alta/Snowbird whenever we want.
 

p_levert

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My guess is that it will be 5 days at Solitude for the base Ikon pass and unlimited for the full pass. This is how it is done for Steamboat, another fully owned Alterra area. If they include unlimited Solitude with the base pass, they will be disrupting the status quo in a significant way, and nobody will buy a full Solitude pass. I rather imagine that Alta/Snowbird management would prefer to only have unlimited Solitude with the full pass (to protect their own season pass sales), and I assume/guess that the Alterra people would prefer to get along with the Alta/Bird people.
 

boston_e

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My guess is that it will be 5 days at Solitude for the base Ikon pass and unlimited for the full pass. This is how it is done for Steamboat, another fully owned Alterra area. If they include unlimited Solitude with the base pass, they will be disrupting the status quo in a significant way, and nobody will buy a full Solitude pass. I rather imagine that Alta/Snowbird management would prefer to only have unlimited Solitude with the full pass (to protect their own season pass sales), and I assume/guess that the Alterra people would prefer to get along with the Alta/Bird people.

I could see this... and if they did this, the full IKON pass would essentially be the same to a SLC based skier as the current Solitude season pass. They would pick up days at other resorts outside of the SLC area, but does anyone from Utah ever really fly to Colorado to ski?
 

boston_e

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Not really. To get from SLC to a decent Colorado ski area is at least a 6-7 hour drive.

Drive to Jackson or Sun Valley? Sure.

Yeah, so my point being that access to Winter Park / Copper etc is a benefit that most SLC based skiers would never utilize, so for most based in SLC the IKON unlimited is no better than the current Solitude unlimited.
 

machski

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My guess is that it will be 5 days at Solitude for the base Ikon pass and unlimited for the full pass. This is how it is done for Steamboat, another fully owned Alterra area. If they include unlimited Solitude with the base pass, they will be disrupting the status quo in a significant way, and nobody will buy a full Solitude pass. I rather imagine that Alta/Snowbird management would prefer to only have unlimited Solitude with the full pass (to protect their own season pass sales), and I assume/guess that the Alterra people would prefer to get along with the Alta/Bird people.
They could also make it paired with Deer Valley (they were joint owned before). That would make it 5 days combined Deer/Solitude on base and 7 on Full.

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thetrailboss

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They could also make it paired with Deer Valley (they were joint owned before). That would make it 5 days combined Deer/Solitude on base and 7 on Full.

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FWIW Deer Valley, pre-Alterra, kept Solitude as a separate "lower cost" resort option. Alterra, to this point, has done the same and protected Deer Valley as a premium brand. In other words, you don't get full access to DV buy buying an Ikon pass. You have to pony up the full $2,365 per adult for a full DV Pass.
 

machski

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FWIW Deer Valley, pre-Alterra, kept Solitude as a separate "lower cost" resort option. Alterra, to this point, has done the same and protected Deer Valley as a premium brand. In other words, you don't get full access to DV buy buying an Ikon pass. You have to pony up the full $2,365 per adult for a full DV Pass.
I saw that, except they throw in an Ikon base for that $ too. Same with the Aspen 4 as well in terms of no full access with Ikon. Will be interesting, my bet for Solitude still is full unrestricted Ikon access.

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BenedictGomez

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I still come back to Brighton.

You buy Brighton & connect Deer Valley-Brighton-Solitude with a lift 1/2 the length of the Slide Brook Express.
 

drjeff

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This is setting up to be a big "battle" between Alterra and Vail! With Alterra now having basically "surrounded" Vail's Park City Resort property..... :)
 

BenedictGomez

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This is setting up to be a big "battle" between Alterra and Vail! With Alterra now having basically "surrounded" Vail's Park City Resort property..... :)

Another reason Brighton becomes attractive as an acquisition to either entity.
 
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