Mystery Buyer Wins Auction for Jay Peak
Winning bid has 30 days to reveal identity
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An auction for Jay Peak Resort in Vermont lasted seven-and-a-half hours on Wednesday, before one of three participating parties submitted the winning bid at around 5:30 p.m. WCAX TV’s Katharine Huntley, who was onsite at the mountain, first reported the news.
The bidder’s identity remains unknown as of this morning.
“The employees are all looking forward to having some stewardship, a little security about who was sort of owning the asset and capitalize the right way to get us the things that we need going forward,” Jay Peak President and GM Steve Wright told Huntley.
A representative from Pacific Group Resorts, the owner of five North American ski areas and the only known bidder from yesterday’s auction, did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Storm Skiing Journal. Wright declined to add any additional context, referring to the comments he’d made to WCAX.
The winning bidder will have 30 days to reveal themselves, according to a report from the NBC 5 affiliate in Burlington, Vermont (the segment also includes commentary from me on what the winner needs to accomplish at Jay Peak):
The approaching ski season, restless and exhausted employees, and relentless media pressure will likely compel the new owner to reveal themselves sooner than the 30-day deadline. There are, however, likely several regulatory and financial requirements to settle prior to the announcement.
The winner of an auction does not always end up as the final owner of an asset. When Timberline, West Virginia went to auction in 2020, Jonathan Davis, the general manager of Perfect North, Indiana, traveled east to participate on behalf of his ski area. He lost the auction, but the judge later determined that the winning bidder did not have enough ski resort management experience to guarantee a favorable outcome for Timberline. Perfect North ended up owning Timberline, as Davis recapped to me in a podcast conversation earlier this summer:
No one is concerned with a lack of experience if Pacific Group Resorts is the winner. They are respected and experienced operators, and last month I broke down what Jay Peak would look like under their ownership:
While the identity of the other two bidders is still uncertain, both Boyne Resorts and Snow Partners have confirmed to The Storm Skiing Journal that they did not participate in the auction.
Whoever wins, they understand that Jay is the crown jewel of New England skiing, and that it’s been floating in a strange limbo for the past several years.
“I think that the people that are involved at this point understand exactly what the value of this resort is and they realize that there is still some money that needs to be invested going forward,” Wright told WCAX. “So, they’re not going to spend bad dollars on this place knowing there are still some improvements on the mountainside that need to happen.”
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