Alterra’s acquisition of Solitude could boost skier numbers, officials say | ParkRecord.com

Alterra’s acquisition of Solitude could boost skier numbers, officials say

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Deer Valley Resort's parent company Alterra Mountain Resort is expanding its portfolio.

With Alterra's agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort, ski officials are confident that the addition to the company's multi-resort Ikon Pass will attract even more visitors to Utah and boost the state's tourism economy. Nathan Rafferty, president and chief executive officer of Ski Utah, said that having four Utah resorts on the Ikon Pass might open people's eyes — both locals and tourists — to different resorts. Deer Valley Resort, Alta Ski Area and Snowbird are all currently accessible with the newly introduced pass.

"That really falls in Utah's favor because we are very unique that we have these different ski resort experiences so close to one another," he said. "Solitude is so different from Deer Valley. Alta and Snowbird are so different from Solitude."

He said that skiers from Deer Valley will likely travel to the other side of the mountain to ski on different terrain. He is eager to see how everything plays out in the upcoming season.

"Our skiing and tourism economy is just cranking and we are looking forward to next year," he said.

The Denver-based multi-resort company announced the Solitude transaction Wednesday. At the close of the deal, Solitude will again be under the same ownership as Deer Valley Resort and will become the 13th destination that Alterra holds in the U.S. and Canada and the second in Utah.

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Rusty Gregory, chief executive officer of Alterra, said the company has been working on the Solitude acquisition for "quite some time." The former owners of Deer Valley Resort, Royal Street Corporation and Red Gables Corporation, purchased Solitude in 2015 and retained ownership of it when Alterra acquired Deer Valley last summer.

Details about Solitude's inclusion in the Ikon Pass were not disclosed. Gregory said that pass details are expected to be announced by early September, after the transaction is closed. He added that Alterra is working with Solitude to figure out what the best pass offering would be to maintain the "local flair" of the resort. Ikon Pass holders are allowed limited access to Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird.

Alterra has had its eyes on establishing a stronghold in Utah since it formed last year, Gregory said.

"If you are going to be in skiing in the United States and you don't have a big, high-quality footprint for your pass holders in Utah, you are not really in the ski business in my view," he said.

Gregory said that Solitude was a "natural fit" for Alterra because it offers a different skiing experience than the other resorts it owns and complements what Deer Valley offers.

"(Solitude) has a very local, easy-going and inclusive vibe for all levels of skiers and all members of the family," he said. "Deer Valley is a great spot for somebody who wants a five-star luxury ski experience."

Gregory hopes that adding Solitude to the Ikon Pass will make it more attractive to Utah and out-of-state skiers.

"The combination of Deer Valley and Solitude, plus our other partners in Utah, creates a big draw for people to purchase the Ikon Pass," he said.