Deer Valley Resort buys Solitude Mountain Resort

Deer Valley Resort has entered into an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort and will begin operating the resort on May 1, 2015.

“Solitude is an incredible resort and provided a huge opportunity for us to expand our offerings right here in Utah,” said Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort. “Solitude is in unique position with their widely varied terrain that attracts both local and destination skiers. We are ecstatic to be able to add the resort to the Deer Valley family.”

“The DeSeelhorst family has enjoyed being a part of Solitude’s history for almost 40 years. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish at the resort and in our mountain community,” said Dave DeSeelhorst, owner and general manager of Solitude Mountain Resort. “We feel very fortunate for the opportunity to have worked with so many amazing people in our industry and most importantly being able to work with our incredible staff at Solitude over the years. It is exciting to pass on this unique and beautiful resort to one of the best resort operators in the country, Deer Valley.”

For the upcoming 2014-15 ski season, Solitude will operate as usual under the leadership of the DeSeelhorst family. To foster the most effective and strategic change over, select Deer Valley staff will work alongside Solitude staff during the next six months to evaluate resort operations and gain knowledge about the Solitude brand and culture. Deer Valley will then take full ownership of Solitude Mountain Resort on May 1, 2015.

FAQs:

Why did Deer Valley Resort enter into an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort?
Deer Valley recognized a great opportunity to expand within the Utah market by adding Solitude Mountain Resort to the Deer Valley family. Solitude is an incredible resort, with both family friendly and expert terrain, and we are sincerely excited to begin working with the staff.

Amount Paid? Assets acquired?
This is a private acquisition.

How will this purchase change the experience at Solitude?
It will be business as usual, run by the DeSeelhorst family, at Solitude for the upcoming 2014-15 season. Deer Valley recognizes Solitude’s unique position in both the local and destination markets and acknowledges that we have much to learn about the current operation and brand position. Consequently, we will have select Deer Valley staff work hand in hand with Solitude staff this winter to share knowledge.

Does current Solitude staff need to worry about their employment?
Deer Valley does not anticipate any major changes in staffing at Solitude at this time.

Will snowboarding still be available at Solitude? How about the Brighton connection?
Deer Valley plans to continue allowing snowboarding at Solitude and keep the Brighton connection in place.

What about One Wasatch? Now that Deer Valley intends to own Solitude does a connection from Big Cottonwood Canyon to Deer Valley, instead of Park City Mountain Resort, make more sense?
One Wasatch (formerly the Ski Utah Interconnect) has been analyzed over the years and the present lift alignment recently released by Ski Utah seems to make the most sense.

Will it become a mini-Deer Valley?
Although Deer Valley will bring some of our service oriented and operational philosophies to the resort we do not plan to rebrand Solitude as another Deer Valley.

Will the name change?
At most, Deer Valley would make a small adjustment to the name to let current guests and potential visitors know the resort is now part of the Deer Valley family. We believe there is a lot of awareness and brand equity in the Solitude name.

Will there be a reciprocal arrangement for skiing benefits between Solitude and Deer Valley Resort?
Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort full season pass holders will receive four ski days at each respective resort. Deer Valley midweek pass holders will be given two passes valid, Monday through Friday, at Solitude for the coming season. Holiday restrictions will apply: December 24, 2014 – January 2, 2015; January 17 – 19, 2015 and February 14 – 16, 2015.

Will Solitude be added to the Wasatch Benefit program?
Deer Valley anticipates the Wasatch Benefit program will remain as announced in September with shared lift privileges for select season pass holders between Alta, Deer Valley and Snowbird.

Will lift ticket, locals and season pass prices increase dramatically due to the purchase of Solitude by Deer Valley?
There will be no changes to the lift and season pass rates announced by Solitude for the 2014-15 season. Moving forward, Deer Valley Resort will analyze past resort performance, operational expenses and projected revenue potential prior to setting rates.

Will Deer Valley bring more capital and marketing investments to Solitude?
Deer Valley will take the next six months to analyze operational and marketing/brand opportunities prior to announcing any capital investments. In addition, Deer Valley will begin promoting the great experience and resort jewel Solitude currently is in spring of 2015.

Does Deer Valley plan on buying any more resorts?
Although Deer Valley is not actively pursuing purchasing another resort, we have always been open to analyzing opportunities that may be a good fit for Deer Valley.

Did Deer Valley purchase Solitude in response to Vail Resorts’ purchase of Park City Mountain Resort and Ian Cumming’s purchase of Snowbird?
Absolutely not. Deer Valley has entertained many opportunities to purchase resorts over the years and in the end, those opportunities did not make good business sense. Solitude came to us at the right time and for the right reasons including: the location in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah; past business practice and performance; and great awareness in the local market.

Bear Mountain presents built from scratch

Each winter, so many talented snowboarder flock to Bear Mountain, SoCal snowboarding oasis, to pick apart the top-to-bottom park created by the prestigious Bear park crew.

The creativity of the set up combined with the variety of progressive riders makes for some next level snowboarding.

In the first episode of Bear’s Built from Scratch, enjoy your favorite park riders as they build laps from scratch during the 2013-14 season at Bear. Featuring Scotty Vine, Lenny Mazzotti, Jake Schaible, Justin Mulford, Castro, Johnny Miller, Chris Bradshaw, and Zak Hale.

Check out the video

Mountain High VIP pass offers free skiing at 12 resorts

Winter is coming and for regional powder hounds there is no better deal than Mountain High’s VIP Season Pass with FREE skiing privileges to 12 Powder Alliance resorts.

Now through Nov. 30, purchase a 14/15 VIP Season Pass to Mountain High, Southern California’s closest winter resort, and receive three (3) FREE days at Crested Butte, CO, Snowbasin Resort, UT, Sierra-at-Tahoe, CA, Schweitzer, ID, Stevens Pass, WA, Bridger Bowl, MT, Timberline, OR, Mt Hood Ski Bowl, Or, China Peak, CA, Arizona Snowbowl, AZ, Angel Fire, NM, and Silver Star, Canada.

That’s 36 FREE tickets!  Click here for a complete overview of resorts at www.powderalliance.com.

Additional Alliance-related benefits include discounts on lodging, rentals, buddy tickets, and more.  Restrictions apply and all tickets must be used during the 2014/15 season.  Visit www.powderalliance.com for a complete listing of holiday dates and resort benefits.

VIP Passes start at $349 for adults and just $299 for Young Adults, ages 13 to 21.  Children’s passes are also available beginning at $249 for ages 7 to 12.  Kids six and under receive a FREE season pass with the purchase of an Adult or Young Adult Season Pass.

“$349 for 13 mountains is a terrific value and something no other Southern California resort can offer.  Get a full season of skiing at Mountain High plus FREE tickets to some of the best resorts in Utah, Colorado, Montana, Washington, and now Canada,” said John McColly, CMO,

VIP pass holders also receive early ups on select days, monthly discounts for family and friends, savings at Wrightwood retailers such as Big Pines Zip Lines and the Grizzly Café, and free tickets to the North Pole Tubing Park.

Click here for a complete listing of discounts and savings.  In total, Mountain High’s VIP Season Pass includes more than $2,700 in added value.

With forecasters calling for the return of El Nino, this season is expected to be the best in years. Passes may be purchased online at http://www.mthigh.com/season-pass-sale, at the resort, and by phone at 888 754 7878.  Operators are available Monday – Friday from 9:00am to 3:00pm.  Please note there is a $10 processing fee per pass.

 

Josh Daiek battles Mt. Ruapehu in New Zealand

As ski season down under winds down, here’s an interesting story by Josh Daiek at www.joshdaiek.com:

“I powered down the table saw and took a seat for my lunch break when I noticed a missed call from Mike Douglas. His voicemail informed me of an upcoming ski trip to New Zealand, I frantically called back eager to hear the details. The trip was for a Salomon Freeski TV project, the plan, explore and expose some of the less popular skiing on the northern island. I was thrilled, I’ve always wanted to ski New Zealand. I tried not to sound overly excited or anxious as I confirmed with Douglas “I’m in!” I hung up the phone and began dancing around the room like an idiot.

My first instinct was to research and gather as much info as possible about the mountains and conditions on the north island, but as I began typing into the Google search I simply stopped. What does it matter? I thought. I’m going to get on a plane, fly half way around the world and go skiing during summer! That’s all that matters anyway. It seemed like the right thing to do, maybe a little more spontaneous, no expectations, no schedule, no worries.

After an airport rendezvous in Auckland, the crew assembled of 3 skiers; Mike Douglas, Chris Rubens, myself, 2 cinematographers; Anthony Bonello, Ben Knight and 1 photographer; Bruno Long. We crammed all gear and people into two cars and rolled out. We merged onto the highway and I unfolded a road map asking Mike “Where are we going?” It was then that he began to reveal the story of the natives, the Maori Tribe, and their sacred volcanoes. We were out to explore, document and ski these historical volcanoes.

Our first day we headed to Mt. Ruapehu to explore the ski resort Whakapapa. As we drove to the mountain I sat in the back seat, my eyes glued to the window, anxiously awaiting the sight of the mountains. Mother nature had other plans though, with dense cloud cover, rain and nearly nonexistent visibility we weren’t afforded a real view of the mountain. The first week we struggled to tough out the elements, battling in the rain and seeing how long are goretex would last. A combination of bullet proof crust and the gnarliest flat light I’ve ever seen (or not seen) made for some tough skiing too.

After a long day of strife at the resort we made our way home when all of the sudden, the clouds began to part. For the first time on our trip we actually saw Mt Ruapehu! I think we were all pretty excited to finally see the mountain and as the sunset behind the horizon I was pumped for the next day.

Read more in RUAPEHU

Buck Strikes Back rail jam at Mountain High on Oct. 4

Mountain High Resort is trucking in 40 tons of snow on Saturday for the Buck Strikes Back rail jam.  This season it’s taking place on the streets of Wrightwood.

Aside from the early-season shred session, guests can stroll through the vendor village, buy or sell equipment in the giant ski & snowboard swap, chow down on chili from the annual Chili Cook-off, and see the premier of Mountain High’s new short film, Montage.

“Nothing gets you thinking winter like 40 tons of snow.  It’s been seven year’s since we produced the last Buck Off so be sure to put October 4th on your calendar.  You don’t need to travel far far way to get in some pre-season snow play,” says John McColly, Director of Marketing.

The Buck Strikes Back uses 40 tons of snow to create a 10,000 square foot winter jib arena complete with all levels of rails and boxes.  It takes roughly five hours to cover the arena and park personnel will be on hand all day to make sure the snow stays at its best.

A 20 foot start ramp provides the runway and guests will have their choice of several different features including a down rail, flat boxes, a stair set, and a finishing jib.  Difficulty levels vary from easy to advanced so there is something for everyone plus there will be a Best Trick Contest at 4pm.

Twenty five participants consisting of pros, celebrity riders, and ripping pass holders will be competing for cash and prizes.  Be sure to put on your best performance because the Buck Strikes Back aint no “Wookie” competition.

The rail yard is open to all ages, male and female, skiers and snowboarders. There is no additional fee however a new 2014/15 season pass and helmet are required.

Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, OR download a liability form from Mountain High’s website at www.mthigh.com, have it notarized with a parent’s signature and bring it with them.

Guests who purchase their season pass at the event will receive more than $200 in FREE benefits and renewing pass holders save an additional $50 off Adult, Young Adult, and College passes.  Regularly $699, prices start at just $249 for Young Adults and $299 for Adults.

For avid skiers and snowboarders they are the best way to save money and pay for themselves in as little as 5 visits.  Children six and under receive a free season pass with the purchase of an adult season pass. Click here for a complete listing of prices and benefits. http://www.mthigh.com/season-pass-sale

For those not interested in jibbing, there are plenty of other free activities.  Guests can check out the latest products from Burton, Lib Tech, Explosive, Gnarly, Smith, Virus and more in the vendor village, plus get huge deals on snowboarding equipment from the nearby Mountain Outhouse.

New this year will be a giant ski & snowboard swap where guests can sell their gear or pick up new equipment for the coming season.  The festival begins at1:00pm with riding and entertainment until 5pm.  Guests are invited to stick around for the after party where they can quench their thirst at the Yodeler for just a buck-a-beer and watch the premier of Montage, the latest snowboard film from Mountain High.

Australia has best season in decades

By HENRY BELOT
Ski resorts on the Snowy Mountains are preparing for the final week of the ski season in what has been described as one of the best seasons in almost a decade.

With the season officially coming to an end, Thredbo spokeswoman Susie Diver described the year as a healthy result for the entire industry despite the doom and gloom felt when ski-fields were only dusted with snow for the Queens birthday.

“It really comes down to an amazing snowfall of two metres within just a couple of days in July and a very cold and dry August that meant the snow cover remained,” she said.

Read more Bumper ski season heads for the finish line – http://www.theage.com.au/act-news/bumper-ski-season-heads-for-the-finish-line-20140926-10la9a.html via @theage

Cali4nia Pass good at Mammoth, Bear Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit

 

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border="0"Introducing the Cali4nia Pass, the best thing to happen to California skiing since stretch pants. The Cali4nia Pass gives you unlimited and unrestricted access to Mammoth Mountain, Bear Mountain, June Mountain and Snow Summit for $689. From a quick getaway to Big Bear to a full family vacation at Mammoth, we’ve got you covered. Every style, every skill level and everyone is invited.Plus, the Cali4nia Pass offers amazing perks like discounted tickets for friends, special early mountain access, and savings on food, lodging, equipment rentals and more.

Mammoth + Bear Mountain + June + Snow Summit = Cali4nia Pass. All the benefits of Mammoth & June plus anytime access to Bear Mountain and Snow Summit.

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Lou’s travels in Chile: Lonquimay to Baños Morales

Here’s a fun story by Lou Dawson on www.wildsnow.com

“During spring of 1981 I was in Chile with my friend and climbing partner Rich Jack. So going back there several weeks ago was a nostalgia hit along with a fun dose of adventure travel. Our 1981 trip lasted three months. After nearly four weeks of skiing at Portillo (and before that failing on a couple of big Andes alpine climbs in Peru), we bypassed the closer Santiago region and headed farther south for the town of Osorno, where we planned on skiing a few volcanoes. Due to weather and transportation issues we only got up Villarica Volcano (fun back then, and still popular.) Honestly, I never thought I’d be back. I like Chile, but my home mountains in Colorado and the European Alps seem to be the ranges that call me.

Chile is huge, 2,610 miles north/south. Extending for much of those miles something like 4,000 volcanoes and the Andes mountains result in one of the most prolific collection of peaks in the world; when combined with Peru and Argentina, way more mountains than the Alps, perhaps even exceeding the North American northern-west coast ranges. Much of the Andes range is roadless. Even though parts of Chile are more roaded than most people assume, very little access is as easy as you get in western Europe. Thus, as happens in the North America, the places with road access to the alpine do become popular. Those are the areas I focused on during this trip, though “popular” is a relative term. (If you go outside those zones you’re looking at overnight trips supported by pack animals or your own back.)

Our new Chilean friend Casey Earle picked me up at Las Trancas after the Marker Kingpin tech binding event. We’d had terrible weather: scouring winds in the highlands and torrential rain at lower elevations. As optimists, Casey and I stayed a few more nights in Las Trancas thinking we could get up on the Nevados Chillan volcanoes for some touring. We were totally shut down.

My luxury stay during the Marker press event at Rocanegra was impressive, but wasn’t the real Chile you get if you’re a middle to low budget adventure traveler. Moving to Chil-in at Las Trancas gave me a soft re-entry into the world of less costly lodging that’s one of the more interesting aspects of South American ski travel.

What makes it “interesting” is you simply don’t know what you’re going to get. For example, the showers at Chil-in were hot and powerful, in bathrooms down the hall. At Rocanegra you had a bathroom in your room, but the shower stayed cool unless you ran it forever. Chil-in served good solid food but it wasn’t fancy. Rocanegra served the cuisine of a luxury European hotel. The great equalizer is Chilean wine. I was quaffing complimentary wine at Rocanegra that tasted like a $50 bottle from Napa; later we were buying that same wine for $5.00 USD a bottle in quaint regional mercados. In either case, who cares how the showers perform?

Read more of Lou’s story at CHILE

Mammoth Mountain owner buys Bear Mountain, Snow Summit ski resorts

 

Despite the warm temperatures this winter, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have been taking advantage of snow-making capabilities to improve conditions on the slopes. (Big Bear Mountain Resorts photo)

Bear Mountain, a popular place for snowboarders, is one of two resorts being acquired by the owner of Mammoth Mountain. Snow Summit also is part of the deal announced this morning. (Big Bear Mountain Resorts photo)

Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, owner of Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain, has entered into an agreement to acquire Big Bear Mountain Resorts, which operates both Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake. The two SoCal ski and snowboard resorts host nearly 800,000 visitors every winter.

The combination of these four iconic California mountain resorts creates diverse and unique offerings of both summer and winter experiences for day trips, weekend getaways and extended vacations, resort officials say. Bear Mountain and Snow Summit offer a full complement of outdoor activities from action sports to first-time family experiences, making it an excellent fit with the world class, big-mountain destination experience offered at Mammoth, they added.

“We couldn’t be more excited to enter into this agreement with Big Bear Mountain Resorts. These two uniquely Southern California resorts have been providing great skiing, riding and biking experiences to visitors from California and beyond. Millions have enjoyed their first mountain resort experience on the slopes of Bear Mountain and Snow Summit, and we look forward to expanding upon the legacy that Dick Kun and his people have created over the past six decades,” said Rusty Gregory, chairman and CEO of Mammoth Mountain.

“This acquisition represents the beginning of a renaissance for both Mammoth and Big Bear and is the first step in the next era of skiing and riding in California. In the coming months we will be announcing exciting new development and expansion plans for each of our four resorts designed to attract visitors from down the street, across the country, and around the world,” he added.

Mammoth has announced a new season pass that includes unrestricted access to all four mountains at $689 for adults. The new Cali4nia Pass will go on sale at the Hot Dawgz and Hand Rails event at Bear Mountain on Saturday, and then will be available online at www.snowsummit.com and www.Cali4niaPass.com.

“The Cali4nia Pass will cut through the clutter in the market by providing the most diverse set of resort options available in California by allowing you to ski where you want, when you want and as often as you want,” Gregory said.

This transaction will create one of the nation’s largest ski companies with more than 2 million visitors per year.

Dick Kun, the driving force behind skiing and riding in the Big Bear region and long-time CEO of Big Bear Mountain Resorts, said, “Mammoth has always been the natural long-term fit for the Big Bear family and we are thrilled to enter this agreement. I am deeply grateful to the employees, shareholders, and the Big Bear community for their work and support during the 63 years of our operations.

“Mammoth’s experience and leadership will ensure that Southern Californians will continue to enjoy recreating in the local mountains and will undoubtedly bring in a new era of experiences and opportunities for all of our constituents.”

Intrawest Passport returns and goes on sale

Passport - Join the Ski Revolution
THE INTRAWEST PASSPORT IS BACK!
EARLY SEASON PRICING GUARANTEED
NOW THROUGH OCT. 20
Intrawest - Passport: Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Tremblant, Stratton, Snowshoe, Blue Mountain
It’s that time of year to begin planning for your ski or snowboard vacation with friends and family! Great news for you, the revolutionary Intrawest Passport is BACK and on SALE! The Intrawest Passport™ will allow guests to ski/ride for six days during the 2014-2015 ski season at Steamboat and Winter Park in Colorado; Blue Mountain in Ontario; Mont Tremblant in Quebec; Stratton Mountain in Vermont; and Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia.
HOW PASSPORT WORKS
1 Primary Adult Passport $589 (required) + Additional Adults $449 (Up to 5 Passports) + Teen Ages 12-20 (Up to 5 Passports) + Children FREE (Up to 5 Passports)
THE MORE YOU ADD, THE MORE YOU SAVE.
Watch this video to learn more.
Click Here to Watch a Fun Video on Passport
Let's Go! - Click here to learn more