Alterra Mountain Company has acquired Sugarbush. Alterra's name is not as common as vail, but they recently gained much attention after releasing their "Ikon Pass" to rival Vail's "Max Pass." They now own 14 destinations in the U.S.A and 27 world wide.
I skied at Sugarbush for one year. My family rented a condo close to the mountain and we bought season passes. The terrain is top notch, especially for the east coast. One thing, however, makes Sugarbush stand out from other mountains. The second you get to the mountain, you get a skiers feel. I don't know how to describe it other than 'homey.' The customer service is spectacular, which is needed when skiing with your middle-aged mother. The staff was incredible, always putting the customer before themselves and making sure the skier/snowboarder was satisfied. It didn't feel like it was a tourist destination. There was a mutual respect for everyone at Sugarbush. If you made it to the mountain, you were apart of the family. Very few mountains nowadays have that feel, especially with big names buying up the land.
The previous owner of Sugarbush sent out an email to everyone on the sugarbush emailing list announcing the acquisition. After stating that all full year employees will be staying on staff, he wrote about why he had to say goodbye to the mountain. Rising costs and Climate Change remain at the top, but it is mentioned that Vail acquiring Peak Resorts was the tipping point.
Why is this a big deal? It is an example of what is to come. Sugarbush was not only known for their rad terrain, but also remaining family owned. Major companies are controlling more and more of the industry. Pretty soon, they will start to jack prices up, and run even more mountains into their corporate arms. This will lead to less mountains being able to withstand the rising costs of remaining family-owned, and needing to be acquired or go out of business and close. One of my main issues with this whole ordeal is the feel of the mountain. I believe it will drastically change due to more tourists and less locals, and it will feel like every other resort that is corporate owned and is afloat due to day-trippers.
Link to Alterra's news story
Link to Sugarbush's news story