The skiing and riding industry in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom was altered drastically Thursday, when news came down that the owners of Jay Peak Resort have purchased nearby Burke Mountain Resort, creating a joint venture that makes for intriguing expansion options for Burke.
The deal was first reported by WCAX-TV, which also pointed out that Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros completed the purchase of Burke earlier this week for an undisclosed price.
A formal announcement is expected later today.
Members of the Ski the East team spoke with Steve Wright, Jay Peak's VP of Marketing and Sales:
Wright was clear that the recent upgrades at Jay Peak were not an automatic indication of what is likely at Burke Mountain, though he did feel that having ownership rooted in the Northeast Kingdom would be a win for the region. Ginn Company was the seller.
"We have a lot of fact finding to do. Clearly we have similarities in audience and location which will work well for cross promotions and products, but operationally we plan to listen and learn. There's a lot of history at Burke and there's been many master plans that did not roll out. We're about delivering on our promises, which means we're not making many on day one."
Without getting into specifics, Wright noted that the purchase is free of debt assumption and that Burke Mountain is in possesion of build out permits. He estimated Burke's recent skier visitation at about 60,000 visits.
"That location right near I-91 and our already established nearby bed base up here at Jay does create some unique options for combining our offerings," said Wright.
Burke had recently announced a multi-year development place, something the owners of Jay are surely familiar with, recently transforming its base area into a multi-season destination with an indoor water park, new hotel, and base lodge as part of its redevelopment plan. Burke and Jay are located about an hour from each other. Combination promotions and season passes could soon be in the plans.
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familysktitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.