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Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte are EPIC

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Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte are EPIC

(Photo Source: opensnow.com)

(Photo Source: opensnow.com)

(Photo Source: opensnow.com)

(Photo Source: opensnow.com)

CHARLES GREENBERG, WRITER

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Mount Sunapee, Okemo, and Crested Butte before the fall of 2018 were owned by Triple Peaks, LLC which gave season pass owners access to any of the three mountains. The sister mountains operated efficiently, providing skiers and riders with good service and great skiing. This fall the resorts were purchased by Vail Resorts for $74 million, which officially made the three mountains Epic.

The Epic pass is a unique ski pass that offers access to 24 different ski resorts located in four different countries. The Epic pass, Epic local pass, and military Epic pass now offer unlimited access to Mount Sunapee, Okemo, and Crested Butte. Other variations of the pass can offer four days or seven days of skiing at these resorts. The acquisition of these three mountains by Vail Resorts could mean more skiers for all the mountains. According to Sunapee skier Riley Balch, one of the greatest benefits of Vail buying the three sister mountains, is “the fact that we can go out west and ski some of the best ski resorts in the country, like Vail and Breckenridge.”

For years, Mount Sunapee has been a popular day trip destination for locals out of the Boston area and for Sunapee residents who enjoy the simplicity of the resort. Some locals fear that Vail Resorts, who is expected to invest $35 million to their newest acquisitions, may disrupt the small town mountain feel. Especially if they develop crowded hotels, which are not ideal for most residents of the Sunapee area.

Onelongtimee skier of Mount Sunapee, Alex Richard, said, “Sunapee is a place where you see someone you know no matter where you go. I hope this friendly environment isn’t changed.”

The same goes for Crested Butte, which is known for being one of the last great ski towns, and Okemo, which is settled over the small town of Ludlow, Vermont.

On the bright side, Vail Resorts brings new opportunities for the mountains, especially for Mount Sunapee, which has been planning many expansions and upgrades to the mountain. Sunapee plans to add a new lift from their Sun Bowl base, to the North Peak summit, and to change the terrain on the trails of these peaks.

Another plan was to expand and make a West Bowl with a new lift as well as new trails. The issue with this expansion is that the town of Goshen, which is where the new expansion would lead to, has declined the offer but with Vail resorts in charge of the Mount Sunapee operation skiers may see a new outcome.

In an interview with Connor Wachsmuth, a local skier at Sunapee, he said, “They said all these things would happen, like, six years ago. I just want them to do it already so Sunapee can have more terrain.”  

Crested Butte resort in Colorado has been an isolated mountain overshadowed by larger ski resorts such as Alta, Snowbird, and Breckenridge. With Vail purchasing this mountain, it is likely that Crested Butte will get more recognition increasing the amount of skiers traveling to the mountain. Okemo mountain resort in Vermont could see similar benefits to Crested Butte. Okemo seems to be overlooked by the other large Vermont resorts like Stowe, Sugarbush, and other legendary Vermont resorts just as Crested Butte is overlooked in Colorado.

The acquisitions of the three resorts could provide many benefits and drawbacks for these sister mountains. Vail resorts has proven to be an incredibly successful ski resort owner and skiers at Mount Sunapee, Okemo, and Crested Butte should be confident that Vail resorts will be able to improve upon their skiing experience without infringing on the small eastern resort feel the skiers of these mountains hold dearly.

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Okemo, Mount Sunapee and Crested Butte are EPIC