Kirkwood Mountain Resort announced this morning that it “has agreed to be acquired” by Vail Resorts, the owner of Heavenly and NorthStar. Effective immediately, Kirkwood pass holders will be able to ski/ride Heavenly and NorthStar, while pass holders at Heavenly and NorthStar have access to Kirkwood.
Vail Resorts is purchasing the ski resort and the undeveloped residential and commercial sites at the center of the base area. The reported purchase price for everything is approximately $18 million. The deal is expected to close within the next month. Closing is subject to certain conditions, including transfer of the U.S. Forest Service Permit.
According to the press release, Kirkwood’s CEO David Likins says “It is a very exciting time for the entire Kirkwood Community including our employees, pass holders, guests and homeowners. Vail is a world class operator with the experience and resources to make Kirkwood into a premier destination for skiers and riders. They really seem to appreciate the unique culture that makes Kirkwood special and are committed to taking the experience to the next level while embracing the mountain assets that we all love.”
Rob Katz, the CEO for Vail Resorts says he is “thrilled to welcome Kirkwood into our family as our seventh world-class mountain resort. We are able to offer our guests and pass holders unparalleled value with the very best that Lake Tahoe has to offer.”
In the short-term, the Vail Resorts purchase of Heavenly and NorthStar seems to be a good thing for the consumer. Millions of dollars flowed in for improvements to both resorts. Now, Vail Resorts has high expectations for Kirkwood, and pass holders have access to 3 resorts. Will this be a good thing for skiers in the long run? I’m not so sure. I hope Vail Resorts can maintain the unique culture of each resort and maintain the current market pricing. The ability to ski 3 resorts right now could be the start of a whole new season.