SAM Magazine—Newbury, N. H., July 26, 2018—Vail Resorts representative Pat Campbell spoke to an audience of around 100 people at an information session last night regarding the proposed lease transfer of Mount Sunapee to Vail Resorts. Campbell discussed the benefits the company could provide both the resort and the community, citing Vail’s charitable work, commitment to sustainability, and strong existing roster of resorts.
The Mueller family has held the lease on state-owned Mount Sunapee for 20 years. The Muellers announced June 4 that Vail Resorts would be acquiring the operating rights to all three of their ski areas—Sunapee, Okemo, Vt., and Crested Butte, Colo.—for $82 million.
The New Hampshire attorney general’s office said that the transfer may not proceed without state approval. The transfer, if approved, will give Vail full control of the lease and its operation.
Locals expressed both concern and optimism at last night’s information session. Steve Russell, president of the Friends of Mount Sunapee organization, said, “Now is the time to restore public trust, protect the park’s heritage, and permanently preserve the ecological landscape of statewide importance.”
Campbell, president of the mountain division for Vail, assured residents that Vail was really excited to get in, understand the resort, “operate the best that we can today, and down the road, if we consider doing an expansion, we will have a very robust dialogue at that time.”
After the New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR) has completed its review of Vail’s proposal, a separate public hearing will be held. Attorney general Gordon MacDonald promises “a robust and thorough process,” and the DNCR has extended the window for public comment to August 8. The DNCR is expected to make its decision by Oct. 1.