Last week, Vail Resorts added a seventh name to its roster of ski resorts in Colorado and California, acquiring Kirkwood Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe for $18 million.
“We’re just thrilled to have Kirkwood in the family,” says Vail Resorts co-president Blaise Carrig. “It brings us something really different. We’re going to cherish the Kirkwood experience and make enhancements to it along the way.” Kirkwood pass holders will now have access to Heavenly and Northstar-at-Tahoe—Vail’s other Tahoe resorts—while Epic Passes are now valid at Kirkwood. When the deal closes in several weeks, Vail will send a general manager to Kirkwood and begin operating the resort.
Carrig is familiar with the newest addition to Vail Resorts: It’s where his kids wanted to ski while growing up in Tahoe. “We would go up and ski Kirkwood on my day off—almost every Sunday,” he said. “When you’re at Kirkwood, it’s kind of spiritual. You know you’re at a big mountain and the skiing is diverse and challenging.”
The purchase includes parking lots, commercial space, retail, rentals, ski school, the Nordic center, and food and beverage operations. A two-acre parcel in the core of the existing village also transitions to Vail Resorts ownership, but all developmental real estate stays with Kirkwood Mountain Development. “What we purchased primarily is the ski operation and the ski resort,” Carrig says. “Our interest in this is about a ski play and not a real estate play.” —Olivia Dwyer