Intrawest and Blue Mountain Join Forces
The Intrawest empire expanded again last week with the announcement the company has entered into two separate agreements to purchase 50 per cent of Blue Mountain Resorts Ltd. in Ontario and to acquire 100 per cent of the developable real estate at the base of the mountain.
Blue Mountain is the largest mountain resort in Ontario and is within a two-hour drive of Toronto. Intrawest plans to develop a four-season pedestrian village at the resort similar to the village at Tremblant.
"We believe that regional resorts which are capturing new participants are critical to the growth of the ski industry," said Intrawest Chairman, President and CEO Joe Houssian. "Blue Mountain is a continuation of our strategy to participate in premier regional resorts close to major metropolitan areas. As the market leader in an area within a three-hour drive of seven million people, Blue Mountain will be well positioned for future growth."
Intrawest sees Ontario skiers’ familiarity with Mont Tremblant in Quebec and Whistler-Blackcomb as an important part of redevelopment plans at Blue Mountain.
"Now we have an opportunity to create, in their own backyard, a four-season resort that has similar attributes to these resort icons," Houssian said.
Blue Mountain has averaged approximately 380,000 skier visits annually. The ski area includes 16 lifts servicing 235 acres of terrain and offers 100 per cent snowmaking coverage, night skiing and tubing. The resort also has a strong summer business with attractions such as the Monterra Golf Course and driving range, waterpark and alpine slides, and 7-acre private park with over 700 feet of sandy beach. A 60,000 square foot conference facility also exists, while the public accommodation base consists of the 97-room Blue Mountain Inn and four condominium developments.
Real estate development is subject to certain approvals but Intrawest’s preliminary plans for the village include approximately 1,000 condo-hotel units, 200 townhome units and 100,00 sq. ft. of commercial space, similar to the current size of Tremblant.
The Weider family, which has operated Blue Mountain for some time, will continue to manage the day to day operations.
"We are excited about the vision that Intrawest will bring to the resort," said Gordon Canning, president of Blue Mountain Resorts Ltd. "In working with Intrawest on the real estate agreement we realized there were benefits to their involvement in the resort as well. The investment by Intrawest will give us the capital to expand the on-mountain amenities in keeping with the development of the real estate. And the new village will provide added attractions which will enhance the resort’s appeal year-round."