My family and I have thoroughly enjoyed our 18 years of ownership at Sugarbush. We are grateful for your support and loyalty and all that you have done to make us successful. I am thankful for the support we received from Adam Greshin and the other investors in Summit Ventures. And I remain grateful to Bob Ackland and Tom McHugh. They were responsible for bringing the Sugarbush opportunity to Joe Riemer and me, which led to our purchase of the resort from American Skiing Company in 2001, and who were an important part of our management in the early years.
A Legacy of Ownership
For the past 60 years, each owner has made Sugarbush better. The Gadd and Murphy families, along with a handful of investors, opened Sugarbush on Christmas Day in 1958, creating what would become known as Mascara Mountain. The culture that they began is one we have tried to build upon. The Elliott family opened nearby Glen Ellen five years later, brought a third ski mountain to the Valley, and created a fun spirit of camaraderie. Roy Cohen followed the Gadds as owner of Sugarbush and brought the two mountains together.
After Cohen’s tenure, ARA Services replaced the Gondola with a couple of new fixed-grip triple chair lifts, Bravo (now North Lynx) and Heaven’s Gate, and increased uphill lift capacity. Claneil Enterprises proceeded ARA and transformed Sugarbush into a year-round resort by adding the golf course and Sugarbush Inn. Les Otten of American Skiing Company was responsible for significantly improving snowmaking at Sugarbush and for installing a number of high-speed quad lifts including the Slide Brook Express, which tied the two mountains together.
Our Time as Owners
Under our ownership, my family and I also made Sugarbush better each year: three new lodges at Lincoln Peak, improved snowmaking, and seven new lifts along with a number of other improvements at both mountains. I am proud to have partnered with GMVS, VASS, the Kelly Brush Foundation, High Fives, Protect Our Winters, and other philanthropic organizations and to have been a responsible member of this great Mad River Valley community. And now I am confident that Sugarbush’s new steward, Alterra Mountain Company, will do the same and continue to make Sugarbush better each and every year.
While the past owners have made significant contributions to Sugarbush’s uniqueness, so too has our valued team. Their passion and dedication to serving our guests is something that has differentiated us and will continue to do so in the years ahead. I can’t think of a better team to be part of. They are rock stars!
To the Next Chapter
I will miss being an owner, but I am looking forward to Sugarbush’s next chapter with Alterra Mountain Company. And I remain extremely optimistic about our future with new opportunities sprung from access to additional capital, talent, and the Ikon Pass community. As you know, I plan to continue as President and COO of Sugarbush for a while until the right successor is ready to take the reins. After that, our family will continue to be members of the Sugarbush community for decades to come, and I certainly plan to keep skiing at least 100 days a year for as long as I am able.
This past weekend we experienced our fifth weather roller coaster of the season, but we are recovering and getting the mountain back into good shape. Keep doing your snow dances. We still have a long season in front of us and are looking forward to skiing and riding into May again.