I think Deer Valley is a strong company. They must have looked for opportunities to expand within the Utah market, and this seemed like a great opportunity. … With Deer Valley's marketing power and service-oriented business focus, I think they'll do really well. —Ski Utah spokeswoman Susie English
DEER VALLEY — Snow has already fallen in the Wasatch Mountains, and officials announced yet another change in Utah's ski landscape.
Deer Valley Resort announced Friday its purchase of Solitude Mountain Resort. Deer Valley will take full ownership of Solitude on May 1, and the coming ski season will go forward as planned.
"Solitude is an incredible resort and provided a huge opportunity for us to expand our offerings right here in Utah," Bob Wheaton, Deer Valley Resort president and general manager, said in a news release. "We are ecstatic to be able to add the resort to the Deer Valley family."
The acquisition comes almost a month after Vail Resorts Inc., which owns the Canyons Resort, bought Park City Mountain Resort. But Deer Valley's purchase appears to be unrelated, according to Ski Utah spokeswoman Susie English.
"We've had a lot of changes," English said. "I think Deer Valley is a strong company. They must have looked for opportunities to expand within the Utah market, and this seemed like a great opportunity. With Deer Valley's marketing power and service-oriented business focus, I think they'll do really well."
David DeSeelhorst, owner and general manager of Solitude Mountain Resort, said the decision to sell the resort was made shortly before Friday's announcement but there was no "particular need or timing magic" that prompted the change in ownership.
"There's some clear interest on both parties to work together quickly and we had really a common vision for what we thought Solitude should be," DeSeelhorst said. "From our standpoint, we are very excited to be able to pass the resort on to Deer Valley, who we believe will be able to take what we have built here at Solitude to the next level."
DeSeelhorst says the family plans to continue doing business in the ski industry, though he had "no plans at this point in time."
The sale includes the land where the resort operates, as well as lodging and Village facilities. Deer Valley and Solitude officials would not disclose what the sale price was.
No major changes in Solitude staffing or lift ticket prices are expected this year, though price rates will undergo evaluation later on. Deer Valley plans to continue allowing snowboarding at Solitude and to keep the Brighton connection in place.
During the coming season, Solitude will remain under the operation of its current ownership, which will work alongside Deer Valley staff to share knowledge of the resort's operations and marketing opportunities.
"I think that part of why we are transitioning the resort mid-stream is really to give Deer Valley an opportunity to look at what we have and what they can do with it," DeSeelhorst said.
Coleen Reardon, director of marketing for Deer Valley Resort, said the new owners plan to maintain the marketing distinction between the two resorts.
"Big and Little Cottonwood canyons are vastly different from Parleys and Park City," Reardon said. "We recognize that Solitude is a great brand, especially in a local market. We're not trying to create another Deer Valley in Big Cottonwood at all."
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