Vail Resorts to Acquire Kirkwood

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SAM Magazine-Broomfield, Colo., Feb. 22, 2012-Vail Resorts will acquire Kirkwood Mountain Resort in a deal expected to close within the next month, making Kirkwood VR's third property in the Tahoe area and seventh overall. Purchase price is approximately $18 million.

Vail Resorts is purchasing the ski resort as well as the undeveloped sites at the center of the base area which are zoned for residential and commercial development. Kirkwood shareholders will retain a participation interest in the base area parcels and will continue to own the remainder of the real estate development sites, including the single family subdivisions in The Palisades and Martin Point and the future village development projects in East Village and Timber Creek, as well as an economic interest in Vail's village project.

VR plans to immediately honor Northstar and Heavenly season's passes at Kirkwood. Kirkwood passholders also receive access to Northstar and Heavenly. For future seasons, VR said that it intends to retain a Kirkwood-only season pass and Kirkwood-only daily lift tickets, priced comparably to what was offered for this season.

"We are thrilled to welcome Kirkwood into our family as our seventh world-class mountain resort. Kirkwood offers some of the most extraordinary ski terrain found anywhere in North America with high alpine trails and the most annual average snowfall in Lake Tahoe," said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort chairman, former Ambassador Charles Cobb, commented, "We are extremely pleased to be in a position to work with Vail Resorts to build one of the most unique ski communities in North America. The combination of Kirkwood's natural ski assets and Vail's best-in-class resort operating capabilities will make this the most coveted resort experience in the West."


Ski Prophet

For the skiing consumer, this is the best news of the season. Adding another ski hill to the family makes the EpicPass the most valuable lift ticket on the market today. When I travel the country shooting for my Channel I ride the lifts with people from many demographic backgrounds. The one question I always ask that ISN'T about gear is, "How do ticket prices impact the number of times you ski?" When it comes to the EpicPass, the answer is always the same, "We come more often and spend more on food, lodging, private lessons... because we're saving on the ticket price." Brilliant I'd say.