Peak Resorts announced today that it has entered in to a purchase agreement with Pat Franchi to acquire all Wildcat Mountain Ski Area assets and attractions in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire. Parties involved expect to finalize the purchase pending approval by the U.S. Forest Service. Adding to its portfolio of resorts located in six U.S. states, including Attitash and Crotched Mountain in New Hampshire and Mount Snow in Vermont, Wildcat Mountain becomes the 12th ski resort currently owned and operated by Peak Resorts.
“Wildcat Mountain is a legendary ski resort known to many in the industry and it has a lot of history,” said Peak Resorts CEO Tim Boyd. “I am pleased to add Wildcat Mountain to Peak Resorts because it offers a unique, year-round experience in a one-of-a-kind location and there are opportunities for growth and improvement over the long-term that we can consider and are familiar with delivering at all of our resorts.”
In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps started clearing the Wildcat trail, one of the first ski racing trails built in the United States. Twenty-five years later, on January 25th 1958, Wildcat Mountain opened for lift-serviced skiing with The Wildcat Gondola and a single T-bar surface lift. Wildcat’s trademark for many years, the Wildcat Gondola was the first lift of this type in the U.S. to be built. Pat Franchi and his family purchased Wildcat Mountain from original developers in 1986 and made significant capital investments to day lodge facilities, snowmaking, summer attractions, and lifts. In 1997, Pat replaced the original gondola with the Wildcat Express: a high-speed detachable quad chairlift that accesses the greater than 4,000′ summit in just over 6 minutes providing visitors over 2,100 vertical feet of skiing and riding in the winter and is converted in the summer and fall with 4-person enclosed gondola cabins to be the state’s highest scenic gondola. The legacy of Pat Franchi’s stewardship will be that he made improvements to and enabled the ski area to continue operating for more than two decades and support to many charitable foundations including the continued annual Yahoo weekends hosting children and their families from Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Attitash opened as a single mountain resort originally for the 1964-65 ski season and was known then as the “red carpet ski area” because of its reservation requirements and attention to guest service. In the mid-1990s, Attitash dramatically increased the available skiing & riding acreage by developing the Bear Peak area that included the installation of a high-speed summit quad chairlift as well as adding open glades, wider intermediate terrain, some of the state’s most sought after alpine race trails including Illusion, and the slopeside Attitash Grand Summit Hotel. Acquired by Peak Resorts in 2007 and having invested over $5,000,000 in capital improvements and resort enhancements including state-of-the-art snowmaking and New England’s longest mountain coaster, Attitash Mountain Resort continues to offer a high-end experience both on and off the slopes.
The two resorts are already considering the marketing opportunities and potential value offered in ticket and season pass products valid at both resorts for the approaching 2010/2011 season. “Being two of New Hampshire’s larger resorts and located in relative close proximity to one another, there is much to be gained in ticket and season pass products that are valid at both Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain,” said Peak Resorts Vice-President Kent Graham. “Visitors to our valley and locals alike will now be able to gain greater value and access to the best of each resort’s defining attributes and distinctive qualities.” Graham also stated that Peak Resorts will be replacing old snow gun technology at Wildcat Mountain with more productive and energy efficient snowmaking equipment as well as upgrading and expanding the snow grooming fleet this season.