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Vail Resorts to buy Vermont's Stowe Mountain ski resort

WILSON RING
FILE -- In this Dec. 3, 2007 file photo, skiers fill the lifts at Stowe Mountain Resort in Stowe, Vt. The Colorado-based Vail Resorts announced Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, that it is purchasing the Vermont resort for $50 million. If the deal goes through, it would be Vail's first East Coast resort. Vail owns 10 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot, File)

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Colorado-based Vail Resorts will pay $50 million to acquire Stowe Mountain Resort, one of Vermont's most venerable ski resorts, the companies announced Tuesday.

The deal would be the first East Coast property for Vail, and Stowe would be added to the company's network of 10 resorts.

Vail would acquire all of Stowe resort's mountain operations, including skier services, such as food and beverage facilities and rental and lift offices on Mount Mansfield and nearby Spruce Peak.

The Stowe resort, now owned by the Mount Mansfield Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American International Group, Inc., would retain ownership of several other facilities, including the Stowe Mountain Lodge, the Stowe Mountain Club, the Stowe Country Club and other real estate.

"I think it's going to be a great development for Stowe and for the region and the state," said state Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, a Stowe Republican who owns a property management and development business in the community.

The current Stowe owners are showing their commitment to the area by selling to Vail, she said.

"I think this was a business decision that they really wanted to make, and they did it responsibly with a real world-class resort," Scheuermann said.

Much of the Stowe ski area is on Vermont's tallest peak, Mount Mansfield. Additional skiing is available on the adjacent Spruce Peak.

Blaise Carrig, senior adviser to the mountain division of Vail, said Vail owns iconic resorts across North America and beyond.

"The missing piece for us was having a good quality resort in the East. And Stowe is certainly that," Carrig said. "It's got a great history, it's got a terrific brand with both the mountain experience and the town experience, it's the perfect fit for us. We think it's the premier resort in the East."

There are local and regional differences in skiing experiences across the country and the world, he said.

"We're not bringing a western feel to Stowe," he said. "The reason we bought a resort in the East is to have that experience in our portfolio. The value of our network is each of these resorts is iconic and different, and that's the value to our customer."

Carrig said Vail has no immediate plans for changes at Stowe.

In its release announcing the sale, Vail said it expected to retain most of Stowe's year-round staff.