Vail Buys Kirkwood

Kirkwood Ski Area

This one certainly caught me by surprise, but Vail Associates has now purchased Kirkwood Ski Resort in South Lake Tahoe California.

I think Kirkwood is a great ski area, right up there with below the radar resorts like Powder Mountain, Bridger Bowl and Schweitzer Mountain.

What surprises is me is that Vail would buy a resort that isn’t a full on destination resort, like their recent purchase last year of Northstar Ski Area. But hey, if Vail thinks there’s value in buying Kirkwood, then I am all for it. Whether it is the economy, escalating costs of operations, the difficulty of competing with so many other local Lake Tahoe resorts or the combination of them, the Kirkwood owners must have felt their back was against the wall.

So, I guess I am relieved to know that a firm with some capital to spend and deep industry knowledge has acquired Kirkwood. Many of you are probably are not so excited, but what was the alternative? Bankruptcy, a purchase by a firm with shallow pockets or a fickle owner could have occurred. At lease with Vail Associates you know what you are getting, which is a firm dedicated to the ski and snowboard industry. And say what you will, but I think Vail does a good job of providing a great skier and snowboarder experience.

What does concern me is what may be going on at the other Lake Tahoe resorts: Homewood, Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak. I wonder how they are doing this season and what lies ahead for them.

Just think if you would have purchased a Kirkwood Season Pass, it would’ve been accepted at more resorts than probably any other ski and snowboard pass ever! In addition to Kirkwood, you would be able to ski or snowboard at the following locations:

  • Kirkwood
  • Alpine Meadows
  • Durango Mountain
  • Red Lodge Mountain
  • Vail
  • Beaver Creek
  • Breckenridge
  • Keystone
  • Northstar
  • Heavenly
  • Arapahoe Basin
  • Las Lenas – Argentina


Read the Vail Associates news realease and also The Ski Channel Interview with Blaise Carrig of Vail Associates.