The owner of New Hampshire’s Ragged Mountain Resort has won the Jay Peak sweepstakes.
Pacific Group Resorts, Inc. (PGRI) made the highest and best final bid to buy Vermont’s Jay Peak Resort following an auction Wednesday with multiple bidders. The prevailing bid remains subject to approval by the U.S. District Court in Florida during a final hearing tentatively scheduled for Sept. 16.
According to Ski Area Management magazine, the winning bid was $76 million. PGRI made an initial offer of $58 million for the four-season resort last month.
“We couldn’t be happier that an organization like PGRI had the winning bid,” Jay Peak president and general manager Steve Wright said. “They calibrate well to the size and frequency of a place like Jay Peak, and we have nothing but upside in front of us as a result.”
The ski area, which had been on the market for about three years, had been overseen by a court-appointed receiver since investor fraud allegations were made against past owner Ariel Quiros in 2016. Jay Peak is the largest taxpayer in Jay, Vt. About 550 people live in the municipality, located a stone’s throw from the Canadian border.
“The auction was a long process with very motivated bidders who clearly held, and hold, the resort in high regard,” Wright said. “Really, the fact that the auction process stretched out longer than anticipated is attributable to how hard this team of employees worked to drive operational profits over the past nearly seven years. The value of a resort connects directly to its ability to drive a bottom-line profit. When that number grew, so did the asking price for the resort, and we see a direct link between that value and the level of commitment from our staff throughout the receivership.”
If approved, Jay Peak will become the sixth ski resort in PGRI’s portfolio, which also includes properties in British Columbia, Colorado, Virginia, and Maryland.
“With the success of this auction, we are one step closer to concluding the receivership of Jay Peak Resort,” Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver for Jay Peak, said. “It has been six long years during which the resort has made tremendous progress under the leadership of general manager Steve Wright and his team…The time had come to put the resort back into private hands, and our investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, ran a strong sale process for us culminating in a very competitive auction. We are pleased an experienced operating company like Pacific Group Resorts ended up with this great asset.”
PGRI is a Park City, Utah-based operation that also owns Wisp Resort in Maryland, Wintergreen Resort in Virginia, Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Colorado, and Mount Washington Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Canada. PGRI acquired Ragged in 2007 under the name RMR-Pacific LLC. According to New England Ski History, “At the time, the central New Hampshire resort was on the verge of a bankruptcy auction, yet featured a large amount of undeveloped, privately held land. Over the next ten years, Pacific installed a new high-speed quad, opened a dedicated snow tubing facility, and constructed a new snowmaking reservoir.”
According to a release, the transaction is expected to close prior to the 2022-23 season. Each PRGI property is managed independently. PGRI’s president and CEO, Vern Greco, said no major changes are planned for the winter operating plan at Jay Peak. All existing season passes, pass reciprocity, and multi-resort pass arrangements at Jay, including the Indy Pass, will be honored for the 2022-23 winter season.
There was no immediate word if the deal would create a Ragged-Jay Peak combo pass.
“We began pursuing this acquisition over three years ago and couldn’t be more pleased with the auction’s outcome which paves the way to add Jay Peak to our growing family of resorts,” Greco said. “Jay has a high quality team of dedicated employees who have weathered the uncertainty of the receivership for a long time. We look forward to bringing renewed stability to the property and its staff, we’re enthusiastic about the prospects for the resort, and we are delighted to be in Vermont.”
Eric Wilbur can be reached at email@example.com.