Vail Resorts acquire Northstar-at-Tahoe |

Vail Resorts acquire Northstar-at-Tahoe

LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Colorado ski giant Vail Resorts has acquired its second mountain resort near the Lake Tahoe Basin, the company announced Monday.

Vail acquired the stock of companies that operate and manage Northstar-at-Tahoe from Booth Creek Resort Properties LLC for $63 million, said Kelly Ladyga, spokesperson for Vail, in a Monday afternoon phone interview.

“Northstar is one of the fastest growing mountain resorts in North America and we are excited to add another world-class resort to our collection,” Ladyga said. “Our company can leverage our marketing strength to provide guests flexibility to enjoy both North and South Shores of Lake Tahoe and elevate the region as a premiere winter resort destination.”

Vail – based out of Broomfield, Colo. – also owns Heavenly Mountain Resort on Tahoe’s South Shore. It operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts, all in Colorado.

Northstar-at-Tahoe’s operations are conducted on land owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties; according to the long-term arrangement finalized Monday, such land will be leased to Vail Resorts, said Kirstin Cattell, marketing and communications manager for Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort.

Booth Creek will continue to own the company that operates Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, under a similar arrangement with CNL Lifestyle Properties, Cattell said.

“We would like to recognize everyone on the Northstar-at-Tahoe team for their invaluable contributions to the success of this resort,” said Chris Ryman, president/partner of Booth Creek, and Betsy Cole, chief financial officer/partner of Booth Creek, in a joint statement. “We are proud to have been associated with such a talented group of individuals.”

George Gillett, chief executive officer of Booth Creek, as well as Ryman and Cole, will no longer have management positions at Northstar-at-Tahoe, Ladyga confirmed Monday.

“Chris, Betsy and the entire Northstar-at-Tahoe team have created an incredible success story in the resort industry,” Gillett said in a written statement. “My family and I are proud to have been associated with Northstar-at-Tahoe over the past fourteen years.”

Vail Resorts will begin an immediate search for a new general manager of Northstar-at-Tahoe, which will include both internal and external candidates, she said.

Cattell confirmed are no changes in management planned for Sierra-at-Tahoe.

“We are sad to be losing co-workers at Northstar, but, at the same time, we are excited for the opportunity to concentrate our efforts at Sierra-at-Tahoe,” she said.

Despite Northstar and Sierra now being owned by different companies, the resorts’ double whammy passes will still be in effect for the 2010-11 season. Furthermore, those who already purchased passes will be able to exchange them for Vail’s Epic passes.

For example, the Northstar-at-Tahoe Double Whammy Unlimited Pass – which offers unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Northstar-at-Tahoe and Sierra-at-Tahoe resorts at $799 for adults – can be exchanged for Vail’s Epic Season Pass ($629) and receive a refund for the difference in the price.

Furthermore, while the cost of the Northstar-at-Tahoe Double Whammy Unlimited-Teen/Child Offers Pass – which again, offers unlimited, unrestricted skiing and riding at Northstar and Sierra – will remain unchanged ($449 for teen; $119 for child), teens will have the option to upgrade to an adult Epic Season Pass, and children will have the option to upgrade to a Child Epic Season Pass or a Child Heavenly Pass.

And those who own limited double whammy passes will receive skiing and riding at Heavenly, at no extra charge, with the same restricted dates.

Moving forward, the Epic Pass will provide access to all Vail resorts. The deadline for pass exchanges have not been solidified, said Kelly Ladyga, spokesperson for Vail Resorts.

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