Vail Leasing Sunapee Hearing | Home | 2018-07-11
New Hampshire to Hold Sunapee Hearing in Late July

Vail Resorts is seeking state approval to acquire the ski area lease.

The State of New Hampshire will hold a public hearing for the proposed transfer of the Mt. Sunapee ski area lease on July 26 at 6PM at the Sunapee Lodge.

According to the agreement drafted by the state in 1998, the operator of Mt. Sunapee needs state approval to transfer the lease, but "such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld by the state." Vail's acquisition of Triple Peaks was announced on June 4, 2018.

By taking over Okemo and Mt. Sunapee, Vail Resorts would be operating the second most popular ski areas in New Hampshire and Vermont, trailing Powdr's Killington and Boyne's Loon in terms of skier visits.

After decades of financial and legal struggles, state owned Mt. Sunapee was leased to Okemo's Tim and Diane Mueller starting on July 1, 1998.

With the investment of millions of dollars in lifts, snowmaking, and facilities, skier visits at the area doubled after only three years. In recent years, the Mt. Sunapee ski area assets have been held by CNL Lifestyle Properties and Ski Resort Holdings. As part of the proposed transaction, Vail would acquire the ski area assets, including the privately held land in the West Bowl.

Including option years, the current lease runs through 2048. Under the terms of the lease, the operator must pay the state $150,000 per year, plus 3% of gross revenue. Since the start of the lease, all Sunapee lease payments have been used to finance debt accumulated at Cannon Mountain.

Source: ""


  • Vail to Face Tough Questions Over Mount Sunapee Resort Deal
    By ASSOCIATED PRESS • JUL 22, 2018

    Vail announced early last month it planned to buy Triple Peaks, LLC, the parent company of Mount Sunapee Resort and two other properties in Vermont and Colorado for $82 million.

    Ahead of next week's meeting on Vail Resorts proposed takeover of the Mount Sunapee ski area, some concerned residents want assurances that the park will be protected.
    Vail announced June 4 that it would be acquiring the operating rights to three ski areas owned by the Mueller family: Sunapee, Okemo in Vermont and Crested Butte in Colorado. The purchase price is $82 million.
    In New Hampshire, the Attorney General's office says the deal can't proceed without state approval. Thus, a public hearing will be held Wednesday evening at the resort's Sunapee Lodge in Newbury.
    The sale has some supporters of the park worried. They are expected to call on Vail to ensure that its takeover includes plans to offer affordable outdoor recreation while protecting the park's natural resources.
    "As we move forward into the next chapter of Mount Sunapee State Park's future, it is vitally important for the proposed new operator and leaseholder, to support non-fee based and balanced public use of our park," said Steve Russell, the president of Friends of Mt. Sunapee, which advocates for the protection of Mount Sunapee State Park.
    "Providing affordable outdoor recreation and preserving our state's natural resources including Mount Sunapee's rare and ancient forests are achievable goals," he added.
    Vail's purchase of the Sunapee and Okemo ski areas would bolster the company's holdings on the East Coast following last year's $41 million deal to purchase Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont. The company currently owns 11 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas mostly in the United States.
    "In New England, where we are currently solely represented by Stowe Mountain Resort, the addition of Okemo's family-oriented programs and Mount Sunapee's unique location less than 90 minutes from Boston will create a regional hub that will greatly enhance the experience and variety of options for our guests," Liz Biebl, director of Brand Communications for Vail Resorts, said.
    Once the purchases are finalized, Biebl said the company is planning to invest $35 million over the next two years in Sunapee, Okemo, Crested Butte. The company is also buying Stevens Pass Resort in Washington.
    "Upon closing of the acquisitions, we plan to review and learn more about the specific operations at each resort, listen to key stakeholders and determine what will provide the greatest benefit to our guests," Biebl said.
  • I really don't understand the uproar over this. I didn't care for what the Muellers and CNL did with Sunapee and I really didn't care for the aggression on real estate based expansion that had nothing to do with the ski area. Sunapee hasn't been affordable or a good value in as long as I can remember. I can't understand what the state and those opposed to the Sunapee deal are about... that ship sailed a long time ago and I don't think there will be much difference with Vail coming in. If anything, it might mean cheaper passes in a play to get folks under the Vail umbrella and encourage trips to the western resorts.
  • edited July 24
    you may be right. maybe this will be the one place where prices don't skyrocket or they screw around with parking or require lengthy questions and all sorts of personal info just to get a lift ticket. And maybe they won't send lawyers after anybody who opens a business with the word "Sunapee" on it.

    Either way, I admit there's really no reason for the state to hold up the deal.

  • I guess it's due to operating in the state park, but it's annoying how every action with Sunapee has to go through endless hearings and bellyaching by residents. The ski area has been there for 65 years, I wish they'd finally embrace it.
  • Vail Reassures Locals Regarding Sunapee Takeover
    26 July 2018 | 29 Views

    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.
  • ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • “We’re 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.”

    is Vail-speak for

    "We're really excited to get in, understand the resort, operate the best that we can today, and shortly down the road when all the research and focus group dialogue is done, we'll expand robustly at that time."

Sign In or Register to comment.