LOS ANGELES — A Colorado partnership has agreed to buy Mammoth Resorts, the ski company that runs four of California’s most popular resorts, further consolidating the country’s ski slopes into the hands of a few major developers.
Mammoth Resorts, which operates Mammoth Mountain and June Mountain in the Eastern Sierra, plus Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in the San Bernardino Mountains, has agreed to be acquired by the newly formed partnership by fall, but terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The California resorts will be acquired by a partnership of the Colorado-based Aspen Skiing Co., which owns four resorts and hospitality projects, and KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Denver.
“This new platform, built around a collective passion for the mountains and our commitment to the people who visit, work and live there, is exactly what the ski resort business needs,” said Rusty Gregory, chairman and chief executive of Mammoth Resorts, which took over Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in 2014 in a $38 million deal.
Although a dollar amount for the Mammoth purchase was not disclosed, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital Group bought a controlling interest in Mammoth Resorts in 2005, when it operated only Mammoth and June Mountain, for $365 million.
The purchase of Mammoth Resorts follows a consolidation trend in the ski industry that has put some of the nation’s most popular mountains in the control of a handful of large resort developers.
The trend has been evident around Lake Tahoe, where Vail Resorts Inc., operator of Heavenly Mountain Resort, acquired the Northstar-at-Tahoe resort near the lake’s North Shore in 2010.
The following year, Squaw Valley USA and Alpine Meadows, two of the largest ski resorts at Lake Tahoe, combined operations.
Only two days before announcing the latest deal for Mammoth Resorts, KSL and Aspen Skiing announced a deal to take over Intrawest Resorts Holdings, a Denver-based resort company that operates six mountain resorts, with approximately 8,000 skiable acres and 1,100 acres of land for real estate development. The deal was valued at $1.5 billion.
The KSL-Aspen Skiing partnership seems to be challenging the dominance of Vail Resorts, one of the world’s biggest ski resort operators.
Vail, through its subsidiaries, operates nine resorts and three urban ski areas in Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin as well as Australia.