Vail Resorts’ rival, Alterra, exiting Vail |

Vail Resorts’ rival, Alterra, exiting Vail

Edward Stoner
Vail Daily
The Bridge Street Ski Haus, shown here before its building's recent renovation, will close its doors on Aug. 4.
Special to the Daily

VAIL — Vail Resorts’ ski-resort rival, Alterra Mountain Co., is closing its Vail businesses.

Bridge Street Ski Haus, located at the top of Bridge Street, will close Aug. 4. The Ski Haus location in the Evergreen Lodge is closed for the summer but won’t reopen under Alterra ownership.

“After a comprehensive internal review of Alterra Mountain Company’s retail strategy, a Vail store does not align with our direction,” said Kristin Rust, director of public relations for Denver-based Alterra.

Alterra does not own other businesses in Eagle County, Rust said.

Bridge Street Ski Haus is located at 254 Bridge St., the first commercial building in Vail and the site of the town’s original ski shop, Vail Blanche. Christie Hill, then known as Blanche Hauserman, opened the store with her business partner, Bunny Langmaid, in 1963. The store was later known as Vail Ski Rentals and Curtin-Hill Sports.

Intrawest took over the business in 1998, operating it under the name Vail Mountain Adventure Center before renaming it Bridge Street Ski Haus. Affiliates of KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Co., which became Alterra in 2018, purchased Intrawest in 2017.

Christie Hill died in 2015. Eagle County property records show Hill’s estate sold the retail space at 254 Bridge St. to Mt. Belvedere 45 LLC, which lists an office address in Wellesley, Massachusetts, in December 2016 for $15.5 million.

Ski-pass wars

“It’s definitely sad to be closing after two decades, but I’m heartened by the memories of all the people we’ve gotten to know through the years,” Chris Cremer, Bridge Street Ski Haus director, said in a statement. “What made Bridge Street Ski Haus so special is the people, and I extend my heartfelt thanks to all the employees and guests who have helped make this such a cherished experience. I’ll always be grateful for the chance to meet all the incredible people and that wouldn’t have been possible without Bridge Street Ski Haus.”

Cremer said he will be working to unwind Alterra’s presence in Vail until mid-September.

Alterra’s resort portfolio includes Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort, Stratton, Crystal Mountain, Snowshoe, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures and Alpine Aerotech.

Alterra owns and operates recreation, hospitality, real-estate development, food and beverage and retail businesses.

In January 2018, Alterra introduced the Ikon Pass as a direct competitor to Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass. The 2019-20 Ikon Pass offers unlimited access to 14 resorts, plus up to seven days at 24 other resorts.

Meanwhile, Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass offers unlimited access to 20 resorts, plus limited access to another 49.

Vail ties

Despite the Alterra business closings, KSL Capital Partners retains deep connections to Vail.

The chairman of KSL Capital Partners, Mike Shannon, is a longtime Vail resident. He was president and CEO of Vail Associates from 1986 to 1992, and currently serves on the boards of the Vail Valley Foundation and Vail Health Services, on which he is chairman.

The CEO, Eric Resnick, also is a Vail resident and former Vail Associates executive. He is on the boards of the Vail Valley Foundation, Vail Mountain School and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard, on which he is vice chair.