By winter 2018 Okemo had grown to 667 acres of terrain, 46 miles of trails, 98 percent snowmaking, 121 trails and glades, a 2,200 foot vertical, and 20 lifts — including North America’s first highspeed, heated, six-seat bubble chairlift, the Sunburst Six. With the purchase and improvement of two nearby golf courses, addition of more summer events and activities, the introduction of lift-served mountain biking, and the development of Jackson Gore — hotel, condos, indoor sports centers, adventure zone — the potential to become a successful year-round resort was fully realized. Asked if they had envisioned such growth and success in 1982, Diane said, “We assumed we would be successful because that is part of being an entrepreneur, but never in our wildest dreams did we foresee Okemo becoming what it is today. We never thought we would reach 600,000 skier visits or operate three resorts — that was not a goal then.” A Triple-Play Legacy As Okemo became a ski powerhouse with visits placing it in the top 20 nationally and top two in New England, the Muellers were approached by other owners suggesting a merger or buyout. That led to leasing and operating Mount Sunapee (N.H.) in 1998 and the formation of Triple Peaks as they acquired Crested Butte (Colo.) in 2004. The success of the three resorts also led to interest in Triple Peaks by the leading global ski company. “The call from Vail Resorts asking if we were interested in selling came completely out of the blue,” Tim said, noting his initial reaction was to be “at a loss for words.” Discussions ensued with Ethan, president of Crested Butte and vice president of Triple Peaks, and daughter Erica, vice president of Crested Butte. One of the key considerations was the financial ability of Vail Resorts “to put money into the mountains. This lends stability and creates a good future for our employees. It also offers more opportunities for those who might want to move on to other opportunities that the company may offer in the future,” Tim said. He also saw the sale as good for the resorts’ local communities and as a good exit that enabled them to retire. Erica cited her parents retiring — both are 68 — as one of her personal reasons for favoring the sale, saying she was “excited and happy” for them. Referencing Triple Peaks’ plans for resort improvements, she said, Vail Resorts’ greater ability to invest could make that happen “more quickly. Looking 10, 20 or 30 years out, that brings more projects for employees and benefits them, skiers, and surrounding communities,” she agreed. She also cited Vail Resorts’ “reputation for giving back to workers and their communities” as a good fit for Okemo where employee scholarships and fundraisers for community organizations have been deeply appreciated over the years. Vail Resorts has a $30 million commitment to develop employee housing projects; encourages volunteering for community projects through company-sponsored volunteer time; and its CEO and chairman has exercised stock appreciation rights and donated some $89 million to a donor-advised charitable fund. Ethan observed that consumers “are driving the trend for consolidation in the ski industry. Much like other industries, people are looking for better deals and more - continued on page 71 - lives on under Vail Resorts ownership Mueller leg acy - continued from page 65 - > 802-228-1600 > page 69