After years of conflicting “will they? Won’t they?” rumors, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, two of California’s biggest resorts, announced this morning that they are merging.
It’s always been a dream, it’s age old,” says Squaw’s Amelia Richmond. “But it's only really been in the works since last winter.”
KSL Capital Partners, which owns Squaw, will operate the two resorts under the name of Squaw Valley Ski Holdings LLC. According to a Squaw Valley press release, “As part of the transaction, an investment affiliate of JMA Ventures (JMA), will convert its ownership of Alpine Meadows into partial ownership of the combined company. KSL Capital Partners, LLC (KSL), the owner of Squaw Valley, will be the majority owner of the combined company.” JMA, which also owns Homewood, will still be affiliated. This comes less than a year after KSL bought Squaw in November of 2010.
Richmond says the deal won’t close until November, and that operationally nothing will change until then, but that everything should be in place before the resorts open and that Squaw and Alpine skiers will definitely have access to both resorts. “The pass is a done deal, she says.
All tickets and passes will work at both Squaw and Alpine. Anyone who has already bought passes to either resort will have access to both mountains. New pass products, including the $439 Tahoe Super Pass, will also be available.
When asked if the merger was a play to compete with Vail Resorts, which now owns two Tahoe area resorts, Andy Wirth, president and CEO of Squaw Valley told the local newspaper it wasn’t and that it was “simply about the implementation of a vision, a vision of something greater, and pursuing a tremendous opportunity on behalf of our guests.”
Skiers will still access the two areas separately although the resort will run shuttle services between them. The terrain between the two areas is held by a third party, and Richmond says they’re not ready to discuss the logistics of interconnecting the resorts and what that would entail, just yet. “At this time we’re trying to make sure things are streamlined,” she says. “Those talks are just a little bit down the road."
Get full details here.