Blue Mountain Resort has officially been sold, ushering in a new chapter for the longtime Carbon County ski destination that involves a familiar name who has led the operation for the last 15 years as well as a private equity-backed hospitality company.
Tuthill Corp. sold 33 parcels in Lower Towamensing Township to Denver-based BMR Resort LLC for nearly $31.9 million, according to a deed recorded July 13.
BMR Resort traces to KSL Capital Partners, a Denver private-equity firm that focuses on investments within hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL Capital is affiliated with KSL Resorts, which operates Camelback Resort in the Poconos and confirmed in May that it would manage Blue Mountain.
What wasn’t clear until the deed became public was whether KSL was taking an ownership interest in Blue Mountain.
A KSL Resorts spokesperson confirmed Monday that BMR Resort is the company formed to buy the land, buildings and assets of Tuthill Corp., the prior operator of Blue Mountain.
Blue Mountain President and CEO Barbara Green, who took over the resort in 2007 from her father, founder Ray Tuthill, “remains as an owner” of BMR Resort and continues as CEO.
Kathy Henderson, director of economic development for the Carbon Chamber & Economic Development Corp., said Green is “still heavily involved in the organization and the running of the mountain.”
In a statement in May, Green said the resort was excited to join KSL Resorts.
“I look forward to partnering with KSL to further enhance Blue Mountain Resort and welcome their resort expertise and five-star approach to guest experiences,” she said.
Blue Mountain has made its own investments over the years to become an all-season resort but had been searching for a capital investor to move forward with some of its larger plans.
Henderson and other local officials believe KSL will be able to invest the necessary funds to further transform Blue Mountain.
Some of Blue Mountain’s expansions in recent years include the opening of the year-round Slopeside Pub & Grill, as well as automated snowmaking investments and a larger terrain-based hill for those learning to ski or snowboard.
Some expansions, however, have remained elusive, such as a longtime plan to add lodging to Blue Mountain.
In 2016, the resort announced plans for Vista Lodge Residence Club, a “four-star condominium resort hotel” that would be connected to the event venue at the peak of the mountain.
In 2019, Green said Blue Mountain was searching for a capital investor for the Vista Lodge project.
It’s a different industry than it was when Ray Tuthill bought more than 322 acres in Carbon County in 1962. In 1977, he opened the then-named Little Gap Ski Area, offering four trails and two lifts in its first year of operation. Lift tickets were just $12.
Back then, there were around 40 ski areas in Pennsylvania and 735 nationwide, according to a Blue Mountain news release from 2017 in advance of its 40th anniversary Dec. 22, 2017. During the 2019-20 season, according to the National Ski Areas Association, there were 470 ski areas across 37 U.S. states, a number that has stabilized over the last couple of decades.
In Pennsylvania, there were 26 ski areas operating during the 2019-20 season, the association said. That trailed New York (51), Michigan (40), Wisconsin and Colorado (31 each), and California and New Hampshire (30 each).
Morning Call reporter Jon Harris can be reached at 484-280-2866 or at [email protected].
If you’re like most Americans, you don’t associate the all-inclusive vacation with skiing. Mexico and Caribbean, with sandy beaches and swim-up bars? Sure. But the best most of us can hope to do on a ski vacation is a complimentary breakfast buffet at the hotel.
Little-known fact: Club Med operated two North American ski locations, bringing the all-inclusive ski vacation concept to American skiers from from the early 1980s to the mid-2000s. The first one opened in 1981 at Copper Mountain, Colo., and was joined by the Club Med Crested Butte in 2000. By 2006, both were shuttered, proving that North American would not be the cash cow for Club Med that its nearly 20 Alps locations would grow to become.
The developer of the Mayflower Mountain Resort said it could have skiers on the slopes in less than two years. Whether those slopes access Deer Valley Resort remains to be seen.
Extell Utah, the developer of the Mayflower Mountain Resort, hopes to start lifting skiers onto the back side of the Deer Valley Resort for the 2023-2024 winter season.
Vice President of Development for Extell Brooke Hontz said the plan is to begin building a chairlift next spring.
“The intention is this would be a state-of-the-art, beautiful lift that would take you right from the base of the ski beach between the Mayflower existing lift at Deer Valley and the Sultan base, so you would have the ability to ski to either of those or back down toward the ski beach at Mayflower,” she said.
Even though it’s right next to Deer Valley, Mayflower will be its own self-contained resort.
Emily Summers, Senior Communications Manager at Deer Valley Resort, tells KPCW no agreement has been reached with Extell regarding operation of the Mayflower ski area, and she added there’s no deadline in place for a decision.
“The question that we’re asked over and over again,” Extell Senior Vice President of Development Kurt Krieg said, “is, ‘What about the future of skiing and the operator?’ And we’ve been working with our operators out at Alterra Rusty Gregory, chief operator, and a new gentleman named Jared Smith, who’s the president, Todd Shallan and Jeremy here locally have all been good, and I think we’re making great progress, so I think in a couple of months, if we can figure all of this out, then hopefully we’ll have a positive announcement on the future of skiing.”
The Mayflower development is one of the largest developments underway in Utah right now. Plans include nearly 1,600 residential units, 825 hotel rooms and 250,000 square feet of retail and conference space.
The resort got its start as a military-focused year-round, full-service resort. It’s been in the works for more than 20 years, starting when the small 12-room bungalow at Snowbasin Resort was torn down to accommodate the 2002 Olympics.
Krieg said some of the rooms in the new hotel will be reserved exclusively for active and retired members of the military at prices they can afford.
Extell has partnered with MIDA, the Military Installation Development Authority, which is a state agency overseeing the development of military land in Utah.
MIDA’s Board of Directors have approved up to $260 million in bonds which will be paid back over 30 years. It will be paid through a tax increment program developed with Wasatch County.
Krieg said some of the $260 million will pay for infrastructure and three hotels. As many as four more hotels could be built at the resort later.
In addition to the military hotel and conference center, construction is taking place at the Pioche apartments near the Jordanelle gondola with 402 market rate apartments. Another 115 residential units at the Pioche Village parcel has been sold to a separate developer.
According to a press release from Extell Utah, in the first five years, the projected capital investment into the project will be more than $3.2 billion. Eighty-five percent of the funding is privately sourced through Extell Utah and other developers.
When I found out the brand Rollerblade is launching a new program that utilizes inline skating for pre-season ski conditioning called “Skate to Ski,” I rolled my eyes and deleted the email. While I did play roller hockey when I was around 10 years old, I started skateboarding when I turned 13 and haven’t considered touching a pair of skates since.
Not long after I received the Skate to Ski email, however, I saw a college-aged woman absolutely flying down the bike path on a pair of blades. She had no helmet, no pads, and a smile the size of the Statue of Liberty as she made her way to wherever she was going with a whirling amount of speed.
That actually looks fun, I thought, pedaling my bike uphill in the opposite direction. Maybe, just maybe, that was when the first crack formed in my belief that inline skating was an inferior sport. But I still wasn’t about to dig around in my trash can for that email.
One week later, while researching a different pre-season training story, I came across a video about core conditioning for skiers. The instructor mentioned that skiers should do a side plank variation that requires engaging the adductor muscles—the muscles in the thigh that connect the pelvis to the femur. This muscle group is important as it plays a major role in gaining control and power from the ski’s inside edge, and, as the instructor mentioned, the adductor muscles are actually difficult to develop outside of actually skiing.
The personal trainer’s words actually did drive me to dig up that Skate to Ski email, remembering that one of the program’s taglines is “don’t lose your edge this summer.” I made the connection that inline skating is one of the few sports that really does strengthen and develop the obscure-yet-critical leg and core muscle groups specific to skiing.
The cracks in my preconceived distrust of inline skating grew.
Fabius, N.Y. — The owner of Song and Labrador mountains has purchased the Toggenburg Mountain ski resort in Fabius and plans to close it.
Peter Harris, president of Intermountain Management (also known as SkiCNY.com), owner and operator of Song Mountain in Tully and Labrador Mountain in Truxton, said Tuesday that Toggenburg will not reopen this winter and that its operations will be absorbed by those of Song and Labrador.
“Unfortunately, it’s a very hard decision, but there are a number of reasons,” Harris said.
Among them, the labor shortage caused by the coronavirus pandemic and a lack of business to support three ski resorts located within a 12-mile radius, he said.