Vail announced on June 4 that it would be acquiring the operating rights to three ski areas owned by the Mueller family: Sunapee, Okemo in Vermont and Crested Butte in Colorado, but according to the Attorney General, the proposed takeover of Mount Sunapee will require New Hampshire state approval before the deal can proceed, slowing Vail’s procurement.
The deal would give Vail the sublease required to operate Sunapee, but not the lease to the land itself, which is owned by the state. Currently, a New York-based hedge fund called Och-Ziff Capital Management holds the land lease with the state and Vail said in its announcement that it would spend $155 million to buy out the sublease and take control of the land lease entirely. In order for the deal to go through, Vail will first need the approval Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Commissioner Sarah Stewart.
Attorney General Gordon MacDonald wrote to Republican Gov. Chris Sununu on Friday saying the deal can’t proceed without the approval of the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Since New Hampshire opted to lease out the previously state-run Mount Sunapee in 1998, critics have complained that many of the ski area’s financial arrangements have been less than transparent.
New Hampshire officials plan to hold a public information session on the proposed takeover, reports the Seattle Times. The information session hasn’t been scheduled yet.