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Major Utah ski resort consolidation and acquisitions are continuing at a stunning pace as Deer Valley announced on October 3 an agreement to purchase Solitude Mountain Resort.
According to a press release from Deer Valley, Bob Wheaton, president and general manager of Deer Valley Resort, was quoted as stating, "Solitude is an incredible resort and provided a huge opportunity for us to expand our offerings right here in Utah."
Dave DeSeelhorst, owner and general manager of Solitude Mountain Resort, was also quoted. "The DeSeelhorst family has enjoyed being a part of Solitude's history for almost 40 years. We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish at the resort and in our mountain community. We feel fortunate for the opportunity to have worked with so many amazing people in our industry and most importantly being able to work with our incredible staff at Solitude over the years. It is exciting to pass on this unique and beautiful resort to one of the best resort operators in the country, Deer Valley."
Deer Valley will begin operating Solitude on May1, 2015. For the upcoming season, according to the press release, the DeSeelhorst family will continue to operate the resort. Select Deer Valley staff will work alongside the Solitude staff during the next six months to evaluate resort operations and gain knowledge about the Solitude brand and culture.
The press release addressed other key issues and questions that many are sure to have related to Deer Valley's acquisition of Solitude Mountain Resort. Excerpts from the press release are as follows.
How will the purchase change the experience at Solitude?
It will be business as usual, run by the DeSeelhorst family, for the upcoming 2014-15 season. Deer Valley recognizes Solitude's unique position in both the local and destination markets and acknowledges that we have much to learn about the current operation and brand position. Consequently, we will have select Deer Valley staff work hand in hand with Solitude staff this winter to share knowledge.
Will it become a mini-Deer Valley?
Although Deer Valley will bring some of our service oriented and operational philosophies to the resort we do not plan to rebrand Solitude as another Deer Valley.
Will snowboarding still be available at Solitude? How about the Brighton Connection:
Deer Valley plans to continue allowing snowboarding at Solitude and keep the Brighton Connection in place.
Will there be a reciprocal arrangement for skiing benefits between Solitude and Deer Valley?
Season pass holders at both resorts will receive four ski days at each respective resort. Deer Valley midweek pass holders will be given two passes valid Monday through Friday at Solitude for the upcoming season. Holiday restrictions will apply December 24, 2014 - January 2, 2015; January 17 - 19, 2015, and February 14 - 18, 20215.
Will lift ticket, locals and season passes increase dramatically due to the purchase of Solitude by Deer Valley?
There will be no changes to the lift and season pass rates announced by Solitude for the 2014-15 season. Moving forward, Deer Valley Resort will analyze past resort performance, operational expenses and projected revenue potential prior to setting rates.
Will Deer Valley bring more capital and marketing investments to Solitude?
Deer Valley will take the next six months to analyze operational and marketing/brand opportunities prior to announcing any capital investments. In addition, Deer Valley will begin promoting the great experience and resort jewel Solitude currently is in the spring of 2015.
Will Solitude be added to the Wasatch Benefit program?
Deer Valley anticipates the Wasatch Benefit program will remain as announced in September with shared lift privileges for select season pass holders between Alta, Deer Valley and Snowbird.
It's hard to imagine that Deer Valley's purchase of Solitude will not have some upward pressure on the real estate market in and around Big Cottonwood Canyon...as should Vail's recent purchase of Park City Mountain Resort (reported in earlier posts of this blog) have on the Park City/Deer Valley/Canyon's markets. Once more, stay tuned!! Significant changes and trends in Utah's resort real estate market will be announced here as they happen