The Colorado ski scene has been rocked just one day after our own lifts stop spinning for the season here in Crested Butte. The announcement came in Monday that Aspen Skiing Co. and Denver’s KSL Partners have acquired Intrawest Resorts in a $1.5 billion deal that gives Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL control of both Steamboat and Winter Park ski areas. This comes shortly after Gary DeFrange stepped down from Intrawest owned Winter Park earlier this year. Gary spent the past 20 years as president, running Winter Park and was considered a very hands on leader. So what does all of this mean? Well, the new investment group will also be getting Quebec’s Tremblant, Ontario’s Blue Mountain, West Virginia’s Snowshoe and Vermont’s Stratton ski areas. And to top that off, they will also be getting the world’s largest heliskiing outfit, Canadian Mountain Holidays. This acquisition makes Colorado the battleground for what may turn out to be one of the biggest rivalries for consolidation in the U.S. ski resort industry. Aspen Skiing – KSL will be going up against Vail Resorts who is currently the world’s largest resort operator. We’ve already been seeing signs of the ski area battles with the expansion in sales of the Epic Passes and Super Passes. It will be interesting to see what changes this brings to our own ski area as we continue to see more and more front range skiers visiting Crested Butte.
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