Intrawest Resorts Holdings has entered into an agreement to sell to Aspen Skiing Company and KSL Capital Partners, the owners of Aspen Snowmass and Squaw Valley, respectively. A new company owned by both partners will pay $23.75 in cash for each share of Intrawest, representing a total value of approximately $1.5 billion. Intrawest shares had risen 49 percent since January on acquisition rumors and the deal includes Intrawest’s debt. “This transaction creates significant opportunity for Intrawest and delivers tremendous value to our current shareholders,” said Thomas Marano, Intrawest’s chief executive officer. “We are excited to work with Aspen and KSL. Our new partners bring additional financial resources and a shared passion for the mountains and our mountain communities. Both Aspen and KSL are committed to helping Intrawest accelerate our plans to bring more value to our guests, more opportunities for our employees and more investment into our local communities.”
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year and will likely affect pass options for the 2018-19 season. Intrawest’s Blue Mountain, Snowshoe, Steamboat, Stratton, Tremblant and Winter Park resorts were founding members of the MAX Pass while Aspen’s four mountains and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows are both destinations on the Liftopia-backed Mountain Collective. On the lift front, Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL/Squaw Valley are mostly Leitner-Poma customers while Intrawest mountains buy from both manufacturers (Tremblant/Snowshoe are all Doppelmayr, Winter Park/Blue Mountain are all L-P, Stratton and Steamboat have a mix.)
Update: Aspen Snowmass has posted a Better Together page and FAQ on its website. “Aspen Skiing Company will continue to be operated separately from Intrawest and Squaw, but we plan to work together in areas that make sense,” it notes.
Bummer. Or is it.
I have been thinking about a couple possible scenarios for the 18-19 “Rocky Mountain super pass ” some optimistic, some pessimistic. Either way, I think we’d better start saving our pennies.
Lot of moving parts to think about over the next year with M.A.X., Mountain Collective and RMSP+. My understanding is Mountain Collective was Aspen’s baby initially while Intrawest hatched the M.A.X Pass. Liftopia administers MC while an LLC called PassCo sells M.A.X. (though PassCo’s address is actually Intrawest HQ in Denver.) It seems likely the Intrawest resorts will leave and start a new pass, join Mountain Collective or both. Boyne, Powdr, ORDA, RCR and the others could certainly go it alone but will have lost some big members.
I think the Max Pass and Mountain Collective are both great options and it’s a great deal to have both if you live in the right area. If Intrawest’s resort do switch over to the Mountain Collective, I wouldn’t be surprised if the MAX Pass dies entirely unless as you mention Peter, Powdr, RCR, etc. decide to come together while bringing some new areas into the mix like Whitefish, Mt. Hood Meadows and Schweitzer but only time will tell.