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Vail Resorts has pedal to the medal in effort to dominate Lake Tahoe ski experience

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Published on Mar 14, 2012

The Ski Experience at Lake Tahoe has changed forever, thanks to the acquisition of 3 major ski areas by Vail Resorts. Of course another Colorado based corporate power recently purchased Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows guaranteeing changes in operation and personality, but it's Vail Resorts that is making the biggest splash. Several years back, the ski industries' largest resort entity based in Colorado expanded it's scope into California and Nevada with the purchase of Heavenly Mountain Resort at Tahoe South. Last season, Northstar was purchased by Vail Resorts and $30 million was poured into that North Tahoe property. Just weeks ago, Vail flexed it's monetary muscles again with the acquisition of Kirkwood Ski Area for a bargain basement price tag of $18 million, seen to be the "steal" of the century. Certainly Kirkwood is faced with issues, primarily concerning generating enough power to run the lifts and overall resort, but Vail Resorts knows that challenge and others can be solved. Heavenly is Vail's centerpiece in the Sierra, and has put it's Colorado stamp on the operation. General manager Pete Sonntag is the go-to guy in this transition, and inherits a well schooled front office to move forward with creative ideas including "Unbuckle" which turns the new Tamarack Lodge at Heavenly into a apres ski club with scantily attired dancing girls, DJ, and discounts on food and drink. The biggest news however is the new pricing for the "locals" season pass, which actually lowers the cost and adds Kirkwood into the mix. Touted as the best season value in the ski industry, skiers and riders can purchase an everyday 2012-13 for $419. for unlimited skiing at all 3 mountain playgrounds. As a bonus, 6 buddy tickets for next season are included with a purchased pass made prior to April 15th. This "Epic" locals pass is actually $80. less than the current Heavenly/Northstar offering. Of course, if a visit to Colorado is on the agenda, add Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge and A-Basin with $659. the tariff for next season. For complete details, visit www.epicpass.com.

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