New Hampshire to Hold Sunapee Hearing in Late July
Vail Resorts is seeking state approval to acquire the ski area lease.
Saturday, July 7, 2018, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
The State of New Hampshire will hold a public hearing for the proposed transfer of the Mt. Sunapee ski area lease on July 25 at 6PM at the Sunapee Lodge.
According to the agreement drafted by the state in 1998, the operator of Mt. Sunapee needs state approval to transfer the lease, but "such approval shall not be unreasonably withheld by the state." Vail's acquisition of Triple Peaks was announced on June 4, 2018.
By taking over Okemo and Mt. Sunapee, Vail Resorts would be operating the second most popular ski areas in New Hampshire and Vermont, trailing Powdr's Killington and Boyne's Loon in terms of skier visits.
After decades of financial and legal struggles, state owned Mt. Sunapee was leased to Okemo's Tim and Diane Mueller starting on July 1, 1998.
With the investment of millions of dollars in lifts, snowmaking, and facilities, skier visits at the area doubled after only three years. In recent years, the Mt. Sunapee ski area assets have been held by CNL Lifestyle Properties and Ski Resort Holdings. As part of the proposed transaction, Vail would acquire the ski area assets, including the privately held land in the West Bowl.
Including option years, the current lease runs through 2048. Under the terms of the lease, the operator must pay the state $150,000 per year, plus 3% of gross revenue. Since the start of the lease, all Sunapee lease payments have been used to finance debt accumulated at Cannon Mountain.
This story has been updated to show the correct meeting date.