Oct 25, 2010 Craig Altschul, Editor-In-Chief, OnTheSnow.com
Vail Resorts has closed on a $63 million acquisition of Northstar-at-Tahoe, a major destination resort. It was a complicated transaction that included acquiring the stock of the companies that operate the resort from Booth Creek Properties LLC and other sellers. The resort is operated on land owned by CNL Lifestyle Properties Inc., which will be leased back to Vail Resorts under a long-term agreement. Vail Resorts, which recently acquired a Tahoe-based property management firm, will now have strongholds on both sides of the lake. The deal gives skiers and riders the option to play at either Northstar on the North Shore, or Heavenly on the South Shore, or both, through several new pass plans.
Booth Creek’s officers, including George Gillett, who once owned Vail and was just involved in a decidedly messy ownership fight over a UK soccer team, will no longer be involved at Northstar.Julie Maurer, vice president of marketing and sales for Booth Creek, will immediately become a vice president of marketing for Vail Resorts, responsible for both Tahoe properties. Booth’s much smaller Sierra-at-Tahoe property was not part of this deal
Improvements at Northstar have been somewhat nonstop with a new base village with 100,000 square feet of retail space, a conference center, skating rink, and lodging. Skiable terrain encompasses 3,000 acres with snowmaking covering 50 percent of the trails. The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe opened last season and is connected by a gondola to the new village.
Vail Resorts, as a collection, now includes Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone in Colorado, and Heavenly and Northstar-at-Tahoe in California, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson, Wyoming. RockResorts is a luxury resort hotel company, and is a subsidiary. Vail Resorts also owns Mountain News Corp., publishers of this Web site. OnTheSnow.com and this newsroom operate independently of that ownership. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).
Northstar-at-Tahoe, found on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore. Nestled within the Sierra Nevadas and just six miles from historic Truckee, California, Northstar-at-Tahoe features nearly 80 trails on over 2,480 acres of skiable terrain. Northstar-at-Tahoe is a destination resort with amenities including alpine and Nordic skiing, golfing, horseback riding (stables), mountain bike park and school, adventure challenge ropes course, rock-wall climbing, orienteering and guided nature hikes open to the public.
This area is a bevy of development and is the site of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Club, as well as the Hyatt at Northstar. The larger neighborhood, near the golf course, consists of over 1,000 privately owned properties including homes, condos and lots and all owners, regardless of property type, become members of the property owners association and pay a small annual fee for Swim and Racquet Club privileges. Owners in the new Village at Northstar or newer Highlands at Northstar are eligible for Tahoe Mountain Club access as well.
Vail Resorts announced today it will invest $30 million into improvement projects at Northstar-at-Tahoe for the 2011-2012 season, including new graded terrain and ski trails, a high-Speed lift and 500 person capacity restaurant on the mountain, as well as new retail shops and a signature restaurant in the village. The full press release follows:
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – March 9, 2011 – Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) today announced its plans to spend $30 million on major capital improvement projects at its newest mountain resort property, Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort near Lake Tahoe, Calif., that will greatly enhance the guest experience both on the mountain and in the Village at Northstar for the 2011-2012 winter season. Plans include the installation of a new high-speed chairlift that will service expanded gladed terrain and additional ski trails, increasing the skiable terrain by 10 percent, construction of a new 500-seat on-mountain restaurant, and new national retail outlets and a signature restaurant in the Village at Northstar to bring additional energy and nightlife to the popular mountain village.
“Northstar-at-Tahoe has been a great addition to our portfolio of world-class resorts and its performance since we acquired it in October 2010 underscores the rationale for our purchase. The initial consumer response to the combination of Northstar-at-Tahoe with Heavenly resort drove strong increases in season pass sales for both resorts, and that has translated into higher visitation, as Northstar-at-Tahoe is currently on track to achieve a record season in terms of visitation and revenue. We believe we are in the early stages of realizing tremendous potential at that resort and are moving aggressively to further elevate the profile of Northstar-at-Tahoe through the addition of a number of new signature amenities for the 2011-2012 ski season,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
Katz added, “We have elected to take an aggressive approach with our first-time investments at Northstar-at-Tahoe. The resort already offers a comprehensive experience not otherwise found on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, and we intend to further widen the gap with more family friendly terrain, more grooming and snowmaking, a best-in-class on-mountain dining experience, and a village experience that is far superior to any other destinations in the region. This will be the first of many steps that will come in future years, as Northstar-at-Tahoe redefines the Lake Tahoe skiing and riding experience.”
With a vertical rise of 1,440’, the new detachable express quad chairlift will be installed this summer on “The Backside” of the mountain, providing access to expanded gladed terrain and new ski trails. The new lift will significantly expand the resort’s lift capacity on The Backside, a very popular area of the mountain known for its long, uninterrupted advanced trails and gladed tree skiing. Two new intermediate trails will be served by the lift, and new snowmaking will be installed on both Drifter, an existing ski trail that also provides access to The Backside, and one of the new trails.
In addition to the lift, a new on-mountain restaurant will be constructed this summer, offering 500 indoor seats as well as 200 outdoor deck seats. Centrally located on the mountain near the top of the Tahoe Zephyr Express lift, the new restaurant will be built in Tahoe great lodge style with an open floor plan, large timbers and a huge window wall offering spectacular views of the Pacific Crest. Guests will be able to enjoy a variety of menu options including a Napa salad bar, gourmet pizza and specialty soups and sandwiches. They will access the new restaurant when skiing or riding off of the Tahoe Zephyr Express, Backside Express or Comstock Express lifts as well as the new express lift.
“Installation of the new express lift and construction of the new on-mountain restaurant will offer more terrain and greater access in Northstar’s most popular lift area, and add much needed seating on the mountain, making it much easier for guests to have a great lunch experience,” said Bill Rock, chief operating officer of Northstar-at-Tahoe.
Already a popular gathering area for resort guests of all ages, the Village at Northstar will continue to evolve with an exciting new retail and restaurant tenant mix. Plans for next season include opening national retail outlets of Patagonia and Burton, as well as expanding the North Face store in a new location. The Company also plans to add a new signature restaurant in the Village, and will be making further enhancements to the village experience to add vibrancy and new excitement to an already state-of-the-art base area.
Construction of the proposed capital improvement projects will commence this spring and summer, with completion expected prior to the start of the 2011-2012 winter season. All of the proposed capital projects are subject to the appropriate regulatory approvals.
About Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort
One of the finest year-round mountain resorts in North America, Northstar Resort is host to a base area village featuring more than 35 unique shops and restaurants, a conference center, 9,000-square-foot skating rink, on-site lodging, special events and more. A winter sport enthusiast’s paradise, Northstar Resort offers 93 ski trails spread across 3,000 acres, award-winning terrain parks and snow sports including alpine and Telemark skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tubing. Summer activities include mountain biking, golfing, scenic lift rides for sightseeing and hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing and more.
Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort is located on Highway 267, just six miles north of Lake Tahoe and six miles south of downtown Truckee. For more information, call 1.800.GO.NORTH (1.800.466.6784) or visit www.NorthstarAtTahoe.com .
About Vail Resorts
Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading mountain resort operator in the United States. The Company’s subsidiaries operate the mountain resort properties of Vail, Beaver
Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone mountain resorts in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain Resortand Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada, and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The Company’s subsidiary, RockResorts, a luxury resort hotel company, manages casually elegant properties across the United States and the Caribbean. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning, development and construction subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN).