Vail Resorts Acquires Pennsylvania Ski Spots

Seven Springs Mountain Resort covered in the winter snow.

(Seven Springs Mountain Resort)

Seven Springs Mountain Resort covered in the winter snow.

A common debate among Pittsburgh’s ski and snowboard community is between Seven Springs Mountain Resort or Hidden Valley Resort. Most people have a preference, based on snow quality, crowd numbers, skiable acres, or available hospitality. However, the ski community has shifted its focus onto a new controversial topic: the acquisition of these mountains by a Colorado skiing powerhouse. On December 8, Vail Resorts announced that they were to purchase Seven Springs Mountain, along with Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain Ski Area. 

“We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to add Seven Springs to our family of resorts along with Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain,” says Kirsten Lynch, Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. “As a company, we have been focused on acquiring resorts near major metropolitan areas as we know many skiers and riders build their passion for the sport close to home.” Headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado, the international ski resort operator now owns “40 sites across 15 states and three countries.” On the other side of the transaction, is the well-known Nutting family. The owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Robert Nutting is a longtime owner of Seven Springs and Hidden Valley, selling the estates for a whopping 118 million dollars

So what does this purchase mean for the skiers and snowboarders of Western Pennsylvania? For this year, nothing. The 2021-22 ski season will operate as usual for the purchased resorts, with normal prices and regulations. The transition into Vail resorts will occur in the 2022-23 season. However, its new acquisition will result in these mountains becoming a part of Vail’s Epic Pass. Although differing in time length, price, and specific places, Epic Passes can get one access into all of Vail’s various resorts with one purchase. 

Therefore, for frequent ski enthusiasts who annually purchase the Epic Pass anyways, this purchase comes as good news. Those who travel across the country for skiing can now use their pass at resorts just an hour or so away, allowing them to truly get their money’s worth for the first time. 

But anyone with a smaller budget or less interest in frequent skiing will now be burdened with the inconveniences of new Vail ownership. First, for people without the Epic Ski Pass, it can be assumed that the general price will increase significantly. And, shorter ski hours under Vail policies coupled with new popularity for the resort will result in bigger crowds for frequent visitors. Additionally, as per usual with Vail resorts, it can be assumed that the start and end times of the ski season at Seven Springs or Hidden Valley will be shortened as well. Each of these is likely to cause lower quality of experience for Pittsburgh skiers or snowboarders and is causing a roar of controversy among Pennsylvania’s ski/board community.

In the meantime, Allderdice students can enjoy all the snow that has hit Pittsburgh in recent days and the 2021-2022 ski season. To learn more about the Ski Club at Allderdice, contact Mrs. Moyer at [email protected].