Councilors table Mt. Sunapee vote and seek more info - Archived

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DNCR seeks a West Bowl amendment. A Mount Sunapee ski area lease change is required for Vail to assume the West Bowl lease terms granted to the prior operator. Photo: Mount Sunapee’s western slopes viewed from Gunnison Lake, Goshen, NH.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Executive Council requested an information session before voting on amendments to the ski area lease at Mount Sunapee State Park.


Listen to an eight-minute audio clip (mp3) of the Mount Sunapee discussion:


Commissioner Sarah Stewart, of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), was before the Governor and Council on October 17 to request changes to the operating lease now held by Vail Resorts.

Vail assumed the Mount Sunapee ski area lease on September 27, 2018, a day after Stewart announced the Department’s approval of the lease transfer to Vail.

Mount Sunapee lease amendments

As a result of the State’s lease review process, DNCR came forward with three lease amendments, which Vail agreed with, according to Stewart. Lease amendments require Governor and Council approval.

DNCR seeks a West Bowl amendment. Vail needs a lease change to assume the 2016 West Bowl lease terms granted to the prior operator and DNCR wants to extend to Vail the West Bowl expansion option. The lease revisions of 2016, which enabled resort and real estate development of Mount Sunapee’s western slopes, became null and void when Vail acquired The Sunapee Difference.

The other lease changes relate to adding “change of control language” that “broadens the state’s authority to approve the assignment or transfer of the lease” and “updating the lease to include a reference to a Mount Sunapee Advisory Commission,” Stewart explained in September.

Vail closed its deal in September to purchase Triple Peak LLC, the parent company of the Muellers’ ski area holdings in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Colorado. Vail now owns The Sunapee Difference, which operates Mount Sunapee Resort.

For more information

The councilors’ information session, although open to the public, will not provide for public participation. The Council will post the date of the information meeting on the EC website.

[box type=”alert”]Now is the time to bring all interested parties together to protect the “West Bowl” expansion parcels,  land conservation that precludes resort and real estate development and honors the intent of the original lease and leasehold area. We continue to oppose the West Bowl expansion for environmental and public policy reasons. Furthermore, we believe the current lease oversight process and governing documents are insufficient to protect the State’s financial interest and public trust.

Share your comments and questions with the Executive Council.

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Update: The councilors’ information meeting will be held on Tuesday, October 23, 2018, at 1 p.m., at the State House in the Executive Council Chambers. The meeting is open to the public.