Hot on the heels of the announcement on August 29, 2018 that the Ikon Pass would offer limited days at The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Alterra Mountain Company announced this week that the company will be acquiring Crystal Mountain in Washington, and, pending finalization of the deal, granting unrestricted and unlimited access to the mountain on both the Ikon Pass and the Ikon Base Pass for the 2018/2019 season.
“With the addition of Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington, we are able to expand our reach into the Pacific Northwest and offer our guests incredible experiences in the Cascade Mountains, while also giving Crystal Mountain Resort skiers and riders the opportunity to explore all the other premier destinations on the Ikon Pass,” said Rusty Gregory, Chief Executive Officer, Alterra Mountain Company, in a press release. “Crystal Mountain is Washington’s premier destination and has been a favorite year-round destination for those in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area for years, and we are excited to include it in the Alterra Mountain Company family.”
The rivalry between Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company is the hottest in the Pacific Northwest at the moment. On June 4, 2018, Vail Resorts announced it would be purchasing Stevens Pass Resort in Washington, the first strike in the region south of the Canadian/U.S. border. Vail Resorts also owns Canada's Whistler Blackcomb, a not-so-small ski resort that is the bedrock of the Epic Pass in the region, and offers limited access to the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, including Fernie, Kicking Horse, and Kimberley in interior B.C., via the Epic Pass.
Alterra's Ikon Pass offers limited access* to The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington, Revelstoke and the SkiBig3 resorts in Western Canada, and also provides special heli-skiing offers with Canadian Mountain Holidays (CMH) in British Columbia. The addition of Crystal Mountain Resort will likely sweeten the deal even further for residents of the Pacific Northwest region and beyond, and certainly makes for a tough decision between Ikon and Epic for residents of Seattle and the rest of the PNW.
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“It has always been my goal to ensure Crystal Mountain Resort be taken the farthest in the shortest amount of time in order to keep Crystal at the top of Northwest skiing,” said John Kircher, owner of Crystal Mountain Resort, in a press release. “Alterra Mountain Company is able to offer a depth of experience and resources, as well as inclusion on the Ikon Pass with its outstanding destinations throughout the world. The mountain sports business has changed more in the last year than I have seen it change in my entire 40-year career, and I am excited to see what lies ahead.”
Looking forward, it's seems likely that Alterra and Vail Resorts will keep carving up ski resort regions in states like Colorado, Utah, California, Washington, and Vermont, where the largest population of American skiers reside. It's been a while since we've heard news from Vail Resorts, who is still in the process of closing the deal on Crested Butte, Okemo, and Mt. Sunapee. With the fourth quarter of the financial year on the horizon for the publicly traded company, and Alterra making money moves like this, Vail Resorts' silence isn't likely to last long.