DMR’s owners sell California ski area

Purgatory pass holders expected to keep access to Kirkwood this season

Kirkwood Mountain Resort, which is near Lake Tahoe and shares the same majority owners as Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, will be acquired by Vail Resorts, the companies announced Wednesday.

“We’re really excited about it,” Michael Balzell, vice president of sales and marketing for Kirkwood, said in a telephone interview.

The acquisition cost Vail Resorts about $18 million and included some undeveloped residential and commercial lots at the center of the base area, according to a news release from Vail Resorts.

The sellers, including the majority owners of DMR, will retain a participation interest in the base-area parcels and will continue to own the remainder of the real estate development sites, including the single-family subdivisions in The Palisades, Martin Point and the future village development projects in East Village and Timber Creek, a Kirkwood release said. They also will have an “economic interest” in Vail’s village project, the release said.

“We are thrilled to welcome Kirkwood into our family as our seventh world-class mountain resort,” Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said in the company’s announcement. “Kirkwood offers some of the most extraordinary ski terrain found anywhere in North America with high alpine trails and the most annual average snowfall in Lake Tahoe.”

The acquisition means Vail Resorts now will have three mountain resorts in the Lake Tahoe region.

Duke Eggleston, general counsel and senior vice president of Durango Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain Resort, said Wednesday that DMR pass holders wouldn’t see any changes in their access to Kirkwood this season.

Vail, Tahoe Value and Epic pass holders gained immediate access to Kirkwood with the announcement today, Balzell and Eggleston said. Some Kirkwood pass holders also gained instant access to Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe and Northstar California on the north shore.

The companies expect to finalize the acquisition deal within the next month. Further terms of the agreement were not disclosed, other than some conditions apply to the deal, including the transfer of a U.S. Forest Service permit.

“This truly is an exciting time for everyone here at Kirkwood,” Balzell said. “Starting next month, we will be fully under Vail’s wing, and the key thing here is that Vail really intends to keep Kirkwood special.”

hscofield@durangoherald.com

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