Colorado-based Vail Resorts to acquire, renovate Mount Brighton ski area

At the Mount Brighton ski area, snow is green. Vail Resorts, Inc., owner of the eponymous Vail ski resort and other major mountain resorts in the Colorado Rockies and Lake Tahoe regions, has entered into an agreement to purchase the ski destination located about 40 miles west of Detroit and 20 miles north of Ann Arbor.

"We believe there's an opportunity for us to look at key urban markets where there's a concentration of skiers and riders and where there are local ski areas. And we believe there's an opportunity to connect our destination resorts in Colorado and California with those markets by owning some of these resorts in these key markets, and then creating a conduit between that particular ski area and market back out to our western destination resorts. A lot of our guests currently come from Michigan, as an example," says John Garnsey, president of global mountain development at Vail Resorts, Inc.

Over 307,000 skiers and snowboarders live in the Detroit, Lansing, and Ann Arbor areas, according to the company.

Vail Resorts will also purchase another urban ski area, the Afton Alps resort near Minneapolis. The combined price for both properties is $20 million. Mount Brighton is owned by the Bruhn family, which has requested that their component of the sale price not be disclosed at this time. The deal is expected to close later this week or early next, according to Garnsey.

Consequently, an overhaul is forthcoming for the property, which opened in 1960. It has 26 trails on 130 skiable acres, seven chair lifts, night skiing and snowboarding, and an 18-hole golf course. Garnsey says the company plans to upgrade and build upon the existing snowmaking system, evaluate the chairlifts, and also look at expanding the 15-acre terrain park, improving base facilities, and adding more summer activities.

Company representatives plan to meet with Brighton's community leaders and seek their input, says Garnsey. "We'll certainly work with the existing team there and get a lot of feedback from them and pick their brains on what they'd like to see relative to improvements, et cetera. I think that next summer you'll see some activity at Mount Brighton."

Source: John Garnsey, president of global mountain development at Vail Resorts, Inc.
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar
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