Vail Acquires Michigan’s Mt. Brighton

In an interesting development, Vail Resorts have bought southeastern Michigan’s Mt. Brighton Ski and golf area.

BROOMFIELD, Colo.—Dec. 6, 2012—Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) announced today that it has entered into agreements to purchase two premier urban ski areas in the Midwest, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, for total cash consideration of $20 million. Both ski areas serve major snow sports markets in the Midwest with more than 468,000 active skiers and snowboarders in the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit metropolitan areas. Vail Resorts plans to upgrade and enhance the experience at each resort and create opportunities to connect guests from each of these ski areas to its seven world-class resorts in Colorado and Lake Tahoe through season pass and other lift ticket products.

Mt. Brighton—in ideal conditions—offers 26 trails on 130 acres, six lifts and night skiing. A few years ago, they wedged a golf course in to generate summer revenues. I’ve never played there, and frankly have never heard a report from anyone who has. I have, however, skied at the property.

Mt. Brighton is located in Brighton, MI, about an hour west of Detroit, an hour east of Lansing and about 30 minutes north of Ann Arbor. The greater area’s population is some four million. Vail says that means that there are more than 307,000 skiers and snowboarders in the area.

Hopefully, Vail will invest some serious money in the property. The Mt. Brighton lodge has—to put it gently—seen better days, and the food is awful. The Vail press release seems to indicate that changes are in store:

Vail Resorts plans to enhance both the on-mountain and base area experience at each ski area. These enhancements will include redesigned and updated terrain parks, best-in-class coaching and instruction for all levels of skiers and riders, dedicated racing programs, expanded dining and entertainment options at the base area, and integrated technology and social media programs like EpicMix, EpicMix Photo and EpicMix Racing. The Company also will invest in each ski area’s infrastructure to improve snowmaking, parking and access to provide a more consistent experience throughout the season. Finally, the Company will be reviewing opportunities to add new summer activities. The Company will be outlining its plans in the coming months and meeting with the local communities to seek their input.

I look forward to seeing what’s in store at Mt. Brighton.

Thanks for the tip from Grays on Trays

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