Broomfield, Colo. – April 1: After weeks of negotiations, Vail Resorts announced late yesterday that it intends to purchase 17 alpine and 30-plus Nordic ski resorts in Vermont plus most of the state. “As we were looking at purchasing Stowe, several other ski resorts came onto our radar, so we thought, ‘why not the whole state?’” said Vail’s representative Blaise Carrig. “We have a four-season approach. We knew that Jay Peak and Burke were for sale. Jay’s waterpark is already, in one word, “epic” and Smugglers’ Notch’s new Fun Zone is too so we began talks about a larger acquisition.”
Governor Phil Scott’s office issued the following statement late yesterday: “After conversations with Vail Resorts’ CEO Rob Katz, I have concluded that the Green Mountain state will do better under his leadership than under the current national administration. It is in the best interests of Vermont and Vermonters that we make this epic deal.”
Under the $6 billion agreement, most of the state will become one privately-held mega resort—a complement to Vail’s 14 other resorts which include Canada’s Whistler/Blackcomb and Australia’s Perisher. Vail Resorts currently has an estimated 650,000 Epic Pass season pass holders. As part of a 2018 tax incentive, Vail is considering issuing free Epic Passes to all 626,000 Vermont residents, nearly doubling those numbers.
Katz has asked Governor Scott to stay on under the new title Governor of Mountain Operations. “I understand Phil Scott is epic at driving both a snowmobile and a snowplow,” Katz said at a pancake breakfast news conference held this morning, referring to Scott’s former career as a competitive snowmobile racer and his construction business.
Senator Bernie Sanders will be leading a new commission, the Joint Chiefs of Ski Patrol, in developing a health care plan that covers everyone and reduces costs of ACL surgery. “We can no longer sit by and wait for The People to tomahawk down double black diamonds and then offer them care. Pulling passes when The People duck ropes, and patching them up after they crater just isn’t working,” Sanders noted. “We need huge change. Huge.” Sanders later mumbled something about adopting Mad River Glen’s “safety meeting protocol.”
Killington CEO Mike Solimano noted another benefit of the deal. “This will allow us to export one of our prime resources: snow.” Under the new agreement, Solimano says, “Killington already has enough snow for our resort to stay open from October through May. Now, we will also be shipping epic amounts of our premium manmade granular to Vail’s climate-affected Colorado resorts, as well.”
Two areas of the state are not included in the deal. Sugarbush Resort owner Win Smith, working in tandem with the coop-owned Mad River Glen, has declared the Mad River Valley a principality separate from Vail.
Smith said, “We will be just like the principality of Liechtenstein: an alpine community with a big winter sports focus and strong agriculture. We also have wicked good IPAs and fewer fur coats.” Smith, a former VP at Merrill Lynch, declined the title “his Royal Highness.” However, he noted that Liechtenstein has one of the highest gross domestic products per capita in the world. He also remarked, pointedly, that four major roads go in and out of the Valley, “Four,” he emphasized. “So we don’t have an epic traffic problem.”
In Central Vermont, members of the Rochester Area Sports Trails Alliance (RASTA) broke rank and were successful in staging a small coup. As rumors of the Vail announcement broke last night, backcountry skiers armed with avalanche probes and chainsaws blocked Route 73 over Brandon Gap picketing with signs reading “Vail is a Truck Stop,” and “Free Heels, Not High Heels.”
Vail was able to quickly defuse the situation by agreeing to allow the area between Pittsfield and Hancock to remain independent. In a phone call to RASTA leader Zac Freeman, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also offered the region the opportunity to become an annexed protectorate of the Parc National de la Gaspésie, home to the Chic Choc Mountains. “Solid. Powder to the people.” was Freeman’s response before he skinned back into the forest.
New rules and regulations are expected to go into effect this summer. Drivers licenses will be replaced by Vail’s chip-reading Epic Pass (which is also good at the new parking meters, photo booths and cappuccino drive-throughs Vail plans to install around the state). And, in what Katz calls a “natural synergy—an epic win win for everyone” all Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops will double as marijuana dispensaries.
Ski Vermont’s Parker Riehle, who has been named Vermont’s Ambassador to Everywhere Away, was optimistic. “This is epic. What’s not to like? Vail Resorts knows how to get stuff done.”
When alerted of the Vail deal, President Trump threatened to build a wall along the Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York borders.
He later Tweeted, “Vermont? It’s a DISASTER. Ivanka ONLY skis Aspen. SAD!”