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September 7, 2018

Alterra Mountain will buy Crystal Mountain

Journal Staff Reporter

Photo by Crystal Mountain Resort [enlarge]
With Crystal, Denver-based Alterra now owns 14 resorts.

Alterra Mountain Co. of Denver has announced that it will acquire Crystal Mountain Resort. Terms were not disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Last year, John Kircher bought out other family members at Boyne Resorts to separately own Crystal. Terms for that private deal were not disclosed.

Alterra's Rusty Gregory said in a statement, “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.”

Kircher said, “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.”

Alterra is the new name for the private partnership between Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Capital Partners, which previously bought most of the assets of recession-damaged Intrawest, once the world's largest ski enterprise. In the Pacific Northwest, Alterra owns CMH Heli Skiing, which has 12 lodges in British Columbia.

Crystal brings the list of Alterra's holdings to 14 resorts.

Alterra's Ikon Pass will be honored at Crystal this winter, which has a four-season gondola plus 10 lifts that serve 57 runs and about 2,600 acres. The vertical drop from the Summit House restaurant — which is open in summer for weddings, sightseeing and other events — to the base is about 3,100 feet.

Last month Alterra's chief industry rival, publicly traded Vail Resorts, completed its planned acquisition of Stevens Pass Ski Area for $64 million. Vail also owns Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia.

Mt. Baker Ski Area, owned by the Howat family, and the nonprofit Hurricane Ridge are now the only independent single-area operations in Western Washington. However, the family-run, Michigan-based Boyne Resorts still owns the Summit at Snoqualmie, which it acquired in May for $25 million.