Skyline International Development Inc. (TASE:SKLN) has entered into a binding agreement of purchase and sale to acquire Bear Valley Mountain Resort in northern California. The agreement comes after several weeks of discussion with the current ownership and local community leaders that had formed the Bear Valley Mountain Cooperative and who were also in the process of purchasing the resort. Closing is subject to the US Forest Service issuance of a permit to operate the resort, expected in 30 to 60 days.
Located in the Sierra mountain range between Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, Bear Valley Mountain Resort is known as a year-round, less congested, family-friendly option for skiing and other recreational activities like water sports, biking, music festivals and golf. With the purchase of the ski area, Skyline has an option to purchase development land in Bear Valley Village for 350 residential units and add a 40,000 sq. ft. Village centre which includes a 53-room Lodge and a 17,000 sq. ft. commercial complex.
Bear Valley first opened as Mt. Reba Ski Bowl in 1967 and quickly added terrain and lifts to become a top notch destination in the late 60’s and early 70’s. In 1991, it became Bear Valley Mountain and today hosts skiers, boarders, and backcountry users with varied terrain and a family focus making Bear Valley known as the ‘Friendliest Mountain In The West.’
Skyline, Canada’s leading owner, operator and developer of hospitality resorts and destination communities will acquire the 1,700 acre Bear Valley ski area, including nine chair lifts, an approximately 2,000 stall parking lot, and a 40,000 sq. ft. mountain base lodge. Bear Valley Mountain’s elevation is 8,500 vertical feet with a vertical drop of 1,900 feet.
“We are delighted to add Bear Valley to our growing portfolio of hotels and resorts,” says Skyline CEO Michael Sneyd. “Given Bear Valley’s spectacular beauty, excellent terrain and potential for improvement, we believe it is a great fit.”
Founded in 1998 by visionary entrepreneur Gil Blutrich, Skyline has expanded rapidly over the past five years, growing its asset base from $26 million to $311 million with the acquisition of hotel and resort properties in Ontario and the Northern Tier. Bear Valley is the company’s second US acquisition. In 2011, Skyline acquired the Hyatt Regency and Cleveland Arcade.
“Bear Valley is a family and community-based resort with many similarities to our Canadian Horseshoe Resort near Barrie, Ontario,” says Chairman and President Gil Blutrich. “Both appeal to families and local groups while benefiting from their close proximity to large urban centres – in Horseshoe’s case, the 8.8 million people who live in the Greater Golden Horseshoe and for Bear Valley, nearly 5 million who live in the Bay Area. Bear Valley is a perfect, natural and quiet alternative to Lake Tahoe.”
“When the resort came up for sale in 2013, the community formed a cooperative effort that raised funds from the community for the purchase of the mountain. Skyline was impressed by the passion, dedication and collaboration demonstrated by the Bear Valley Mountain Cooperative and will work with their leadership in the coming weeks as they develop detailed plans for Bear Valley,” added Sneyd.
Skyline’s four seasons playground vision has focused on reinvigorating branded resort properties by renovating their existing hotels and residential units and expanding their residential and retail footprint with an emphasis on turning those properties into lifestyle communities. The firm has achieved impressive results by taking advantage of corporate efficiencies and economies of scale to restore maximum profitability. In 2013, Skyline was named among Deloitte’s ‘Best Managed Companies’ in Canada and Skyline Hotels & Resorts was awarded ‘Regional Hotelier of the Year’ by Toronto-based Kostuch Media.
Image courtesy Bear Valley Mountain Resort