Vail Resorts Completes Acquisition of Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain Ski Areas


Vail Resorts’ purchase of three resorts in Pennsylvania is part of the company’s continued strategy to bring skiers from big cities to neighboring mountains.
Preston Utley / Vail Daily Archives

Vail Resorts has completed the acquisition of Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Area in Pennsylvania, the company announced Friday.

The resort operator purchased the resorts, including ski areas, a hotel, conference center and other related activities, from Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. and its subsidiaries for a final purchase price of ‘approximately $ 118 million, including the usual adjustments to the closing purchase price. Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain join the Vail Resorts network which now numbers 40 resorts worldwide.

Getting closer to the cities

The acquisition follows Vail Resorts’ continued strategy of bringing skiers from big cities to neighboring mountains. In 2019, the company purchased 17 resorts in the East and Midwest for $ 264 million, many of which are located near major metropolitan areas.

“As a company, we have focused on acquiring resorts near major metropolitan areas because we know that many skiers and boarders develop their passion for the sport close to home,” said Kirsten Lynch , CEO of Vail Resorts, early December. press release when the agreement was announced. “These great Pennsylvania ski areas are a perfect complement to our existing resorts, creating a much stronger connection and an attractive offering for our current and future customers in Pittsburgh as well as those in other critical markets such as Washington, DC,” Baltimore and Cleveland. “

Seven Springs is located 60 miles southeast of Pittsburgh and is one of Pennsylvania’s largest ski resorts, with 285 skiable acres and 750 vertical feet. Hidden Valley offers 110 skiable acres and 470 vertical feet, with 26 trails and trails and two snow parks. Laurel Mountain offers 70 skiable acres and 761 vertical feet.

“The resorts are really part of the fabric of this region and a vital community asset. I am extremely proud of our management of Seven Springs and its sister resorts, and even more so of all the people we have worked with side by side to transform them into what they are today, ”said Robert Nutting, President and CEO of Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. “It has been an honor to be a part of their incredible growth for over a decade and to leave each resort with a much stronger community asset than we have found. . “

Ski markets of mutual interest

As Vail Resorts enters the home market of Nutting in Pennsylvania, the Nutting family also enters the namesake market of Vail Resorts in Colorado.

Robert Nutting and the Nutting family are winter sports enthusiasts who recently shared their excitement to enter the Vail ski market with the purchase of Vail Daily’s parent company, Swift Media. The deal was also due to be done on Friday.

Robert Nutting is also CEO of Ogden Newspapers, a fifth generation family newspaper company, founded in 1890 by HC Ogden. The company covered the Winter Olympics in 1980 after purchasing the Lake Placid News in 1979 and entered the ski business as an operator in 2006 with the purchase of Seven Springs.

From 2006 to present, Seven Springs has nearly doubled the number of employees during winter operations, from around 900 to over 1,700, the station said in a press release Wednesday.

“The renewed emphasis on year-round programming helped lead to an equally dramatic increase in employment levels during the summer months, when the number of employees grew from around 600 to over 1,000. “, according to the press release.

The Nutting family also acquired the Hidden Valley ski area in 2013 and opened Laurel Mountain in 2016.

Robert Nutting announced that the company bought Swift – which owns newspapers in the ski areas of Aspen, Steamboat, Summit County, Park City and Lake Tahoe, as well as Vail – on November 30. In the ad, Nutting reiterated his family’s commitment to the industry and the vital role of community newspapers.

“We believe that strong, responsible and connected local newspapers are of crucial importance in building and sustaining strong communities now more than ever,” said Nutting.

In announcing the sale of Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain to Vail Resorts on Wednesday, Nutting described Vail Resorts as the perfect successor to the family business.

“We are delighted that the resorts are now part of the Vail Resorts network and are confident that Vail Resorts will continue to invest in what makes these resorts so special,” he said.

A few busy months

Vail Resorts started August with $ 1.2 billion in cash, CFO Michael Barkin told investors during a fall 2021 earnings call.

In September, the company announced its biggest single-year investment in its mountains with a $ 320 million investment plan underway at 14 resorts, including a new chair slated for Vail between the bottom of the chair. 5 and the Wildwood area near Chairs 3 and 7..

In October, Vail Resorts reinstated its dividend after an 18-month hiatus, paying 88 cents per share. Previously, the last time Vail Resorts returned money to investors via a dividend was in April 2020 at $ 1.76 per share.

In November, Kirsten Lynch began her role as new CEO, with former CEO Rob Katz assuming the new role of executive chairman of the board.

And, in December, the company helped bring the Men’s Skiing World Cup back to the United States for the first time in two years by hosting the Birds of Prey World Cup races in Beaver Creek.

Seven Springs and Hidden Valley operate on private property. Operations at the three stations for the 2021-22 winter season are expected to continue as initially planned. Vail Resorts aims to add all three resorts to select Epic Pass products for the 2022-2023 ski season.

Vail Resorts acquires all assets related to the resort’s mountain operations and base area accommodations, conference center and related equipment. Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. will retain certain neighboring operations, including Highlands Market, Sporting Clays at Seven Springs, Seven Springs Golf Course, Hidden Valley Golf Club and Highlands Resort Realty.

This story contains information from a press release from Vail Resorts.


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