That roar you hear isn’t thunder; it’s the ovation from skiers and boarders across the country, but especially in the northeast celebrating Pacific Group Resorts’ winning bid to operate Vermont’s Jay Peak, jewel of the Northeast Kingdom and a bucket list destination for any serious skier or boarder who truly wants to test his or her mettle while basking in that inimitable Vermont vibe.
Pacific, a Park City, Utah-based company, offered $76 million for Jay Peak, beating out what were apparently two other interested parties. Strangely, the identity of those entities has not been revealed as we go to press. The sale still requires approval from federal Bankruptcy Court Judge Darrin Gayles, who has presided over the receivership in federal court in Miami since April 2016. Regulators brought a civil enforcement action that year against the resort’s former owner, Ariel Quiros, and its president, Bill Stenger, in what became the largest investor fraud case in Vermont’s history.
Vermont Digger has been integral in the coverage of the EB-5 scandal (which we will delve into briefly in our Border War series article, which will be published shortly) and their article breaks everything down like a fraction, with an assist from Storm Skiing Journal. From the Vermont Digger coverage:
“Pacific Group Resorts had made an initial bid of $58 million for the ski resort, according to earlier court filings leading up to the auction. A daylong auction closed to the public took place Wednesday, with “multiple bidders,” Pacific Group said in a press release Thursday. Jay Peak would be the sixth resort in Pacific Group’s portfolio, which includes Ragged Mountain in New Hampshire and Powderhorn Mountain Resort in Colorado….The $76 million winning bid is much closer to the resort’s $85 million assessed value, according to the town of Jay’s grand list. The town previously assessed the resort at $121 million in 2020, but agreed to the $85 million figure in a settlement after resort officials challenged the appraisal.”
The Digger was right at the center of the story form the get-go with some of the best groundwork journalism I’ve seen cover the sports world. You guys wanna join me in covering the LIV golf story? ***KIDDING!!!*** The Digger goes on to add an important update from Christian Knapp, Pacific Group’s chief marketing officer, who announced on Twitter the following welcome news: “We recognize the staff knows far more about Jay than we do,” Knapp wrote. “Our immediate goal is a well-executed transition inspiring confidence in the staff, while maximizing synergies.”
Equally encouraging, good news followed shortly thereafter from Vern Greco, Pacific Group’s president and CEO, said in a press release that “no major changes are contemplated….All existing season passes, pass reciprocity, and multi-resort pass arrangements at Jay, including the Indy Pass, will be honored for the 2022-23 winter season.”
Storm Skiing Journal deserves a hat tip as well for covering the story in depth, particularly this quote from Indy Pass founder Doug Fish, whose addition of Jay Peak to the fledgling pass is widely considered one of the biggest coups in multi-pass venue acquisition game.
“Indy Pass founder and President Doug Fish offered quick praise to Jay’s new ownership group. ‘PGRI is one of the best ownership groups in the U.S.,” he told The Storm Skiing Journal. “Their management of indie resorts is highly respected across the industry, and we would be honored to work with them and any of their mountains, including of course, Jay Peak. We are looking forward to our third year this coming season with Jay Peak on the Indy Pass and hope that our partnership will continue for years to come.'”