Contact Us

DOJ Investigates Pending Sale Of Arapahoe Basin Ski Resort To Alterra Mountain Co.


Antitrust investigators at the Department of Justice are reportedly reviewing plans by ski resort giant Alterra Mountain Co. to acquire Arapahoe Basin.

Alterra announced in February that it was purchasing the 1,428-acre resort known as A-Basin from Dream Unlimited Corp., a Canadian real estate company that purchased the resort in 1997.

Now, the DOJ is stepping in based on fears the acquisition could “negatively impact consumers.”

Word of the DOJ investigation was reported last week by Snowology, which noted that the National Ski Areas Association and its market research agency, RRC Associates, were served with what is known as a civil investigative demand to obtain data regarding the pending acquisition.

The Colorado ski institution was established in 1946 by two World War II veterans. A-Basin is also one of the state’s last ski areas that isn't directly under the control of Alterra or its rival Vail Resorts.

DOJ officials declined to comment on the investigation to The Denver Post, while a statement from Alterra described the investigation as “customary given the size of the transaction.”

Alterra has 18 ski destinations across North America. The company was formed in 2017 after owners of Aspen Skiing Co. and KSL Partners, a private equity firm, purchased Intrawest Corp. for $1.5B. Alterra went on to acquire resorts in California and Utah.

It unveiled its multiresort Ikon Pass in 2019, in direct competition to the Epic Pass from Vail Resorts, which has 42 mountain resorts in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.

This past January, KSL announced it had closed on a $3B-plus continuation vehicle for Alterra.

The skiing and snowboarding website Powder reported that A-Basin had been a partner resort with the Ikon Pass for the past several seasons but had remained independent amid the consolidation of Colorado’s world-renowned ski resorts.

This isn't the first approach between the two entities.

In 1996, the DOJ and the Colorado attorney general blocked Vail Resorts' planned acquisition of Arapahoe Basin and the Breckinridge and Keystone resorts.

The legal dispute ended in 1997 with the DOJ ruling that Vail Resorts could go forward with its planned $310M acquisition of Ralston Resorts as long as A-Basin was sold to a third party.

Without the divestiture, a deal likely would have resulted in higher prices to skiers who live in Colorado's Front Range and who ski at the resorts on day and overnight trips, according to the ruling.

“Competition among ski resorts has meant discounts for Colorado Front Range skiers,” Joel I. Klein, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department's antitrust division, said at the time. “Without selling off the Arapahoe Basin resort, this deal would have resulted in fewer and smaller discounts on lift tickets.”

A-Basin’s final ski day this year was June 16. The season began on Oct. 29 and lasted 222 days.