Win Smith and Summit Ventures’ ownership of Sugarbush Resort has been a great run for The Valley. Smith announced last week that the majority of Sugarbush’s assets would be sold to the Alterra Mountain Company early next year.
Smith and Co. have been dedicated, passionate and committed to the Mad River Valley for close to two decades and have accomplished a lot during that time. Rather than absentee ownership -- which we experienced with the American Skiing Company -- we’ve had hands-on day-to-day management and engagement in these last 18 years. We’ve had people who live here, play here and ski here at the helm.
Smith and Summit Ventures have been responsible and respectful of our environment and water and streams. The resort has successfully reduced its carbon footprint significantly in multiple areas over the year.
Summit Ventures, with Smith at the helm, has invested and reinvested in snowmaking and real estate, successfully building out (and selling) most of the units called for in the resort master plan.
Smith and his family foundation have been extremely generous and compassionate during this era to community causes great and small and to local community nonprofits.
The reasons given for selling the resort now and to Alterra make sense during this changing era of ski resort ownership. Climate change and multi-resort season passes have changed the business model of ski area ownership such that independently-owned resorts could not compete.
Given the ever-increasing cost of health care, Smith’s concern about the economy of scale for employee health care (and other purchasing power) makes good sense. We get it.
Change is hard and can be scary and it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that the “new, big corporation,” will be bad. And certainly, historically, some previous owners of the mountain haven’t been so great. But let’s have a little faith in the way Smith and Co. have conducted themselves for the last 18 years and give them the benefit of the doubt that they’ve chosen the right new owners.
It’s been a good run.