Wednesday, January 15, 2020, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Alterra Mountain Company announced yesterday that it has completed its acquisition of Sugarbush Resort, some two months after the original announcement. Sugarbush owner Win Smith will remain as President of the resort.
Smith, son of Merrill Lynch partner Winthrop H. Smith Sr., is the head of Summit Ventures NE, which acquired Sugarbush in 2001. The area joined Alterra's Ikon Pass offering last winter. Alterra also owns Stratton, as well as over a dozen other resorts in North America.
Rival Vail Resorts, with its Epic Pass offering, owns seven areas in New England, compared to Alterra's two. Alterra has partnered with five additional New England areas for its Ikon Pass.
In a fall blog post, Smith cited access to capital as a major challenge facing the independent resort. Many of Sugarbush's main lifts are twenty or more years old.
Sugarbush (Lincoln Peak) opened on Christmas Day 1958, followed by Glen Ellen (Sugarbush North) in 1963. Solon Automated Services acquired Sugarbush in 1977 followed by Glen Ellen in 1978. ARA Services acquired the ski areas in 1983 followed by Claneil Enterpreises in 1986. Many of the areas' lifts were replaced during these years.
Les Otten's LBO Resort Enterprises acquired Sugarbush for $9.1 million in 1994, investing $17 million in the resort the following year. Four new chairlifts were installed, including the connecting Slide Brook Express. One year later, LBO became American Skiing Company.
In 2001, American Skiing Company sold Sugarbush to Summit Ventures NE, owned by Win Smith and Joe Riemer. Riemer died two months later. New partners were soon found and many investments took place, including two new chairlifts and a major base area development at Lincoln Peak. More recently, Summit Ventures replaced the three remaining lifts from the 1960s.
Sugarbush has an advertised vertical drop of 2,600 feet, served by 10 quads, 2 triples, and 1 double chairlift.