Alterra Mountain Co to pump millions of dollars into mountain communities through new foundation — putting ball back in Vail's court

Alterra Mountain Co to pump millions of dollars into mountain communities through new foundation — putting ball back in Vail's court

"The most important thing we can do ... is help support those who help us"

VicesMay 13, 2021 By Will Brendza

The back and forth corporate competition between the ski industry’s two biggest players, continues. The latest move by Alterra Mountain Company, will pump millions of dollars into the mountain towns in which they operate. It’s a non-profit means of uplifting these communities, throwing them a bone while also putting the ball back in Vail Resorts’ court.

This is the latest in a series of corporate one-ups, that have been steadily escalating over the past few seasons. Both companies have been striving to extend their season past the other’s for years. Then there was the great Arapahoe Basin tug of war: when, in 2017 the Basin jumped ship with Vail Resorts, and took up with Alterra the very next season.

And now, since the COVID outbreak, they’ve been trying to out-sweeten each other’s deals even more. At the end of the 2020/21 season Vail announced that they would be chopping all of their pass and on-mountain prices by a full 20%.

“The ski industry, our company and skiers and riders everywhere just navigated the most challenging season we have ever encountered” wrote Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz in a press release about the price drop. “We are excited to make it easier for everyone to move into a pass.”

That put the ball squarely into Alterra’s court. And everyone was waiting eagerly to see what their response would be.

Enter: the Alterra Mountain Company Community Foundation. It’s a “public charity created to provide financial support to the members of the North American communities in which Alterra Mountain Company operates.

Which is to say, this non-profit will allow Alterra to pump money into the mountain towns where their resorts are located. The foundation will provide emergency relief and hardship assistance “to those in need due to situations and unforeseen circumstances such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, crime, illness or death, and other emergency hardships.”

Individuals and companies in both the US and Canada can apply for these services — as long as they’re community is home to one of Alterra’s mountains.

“If this last year has taught us anything, it’s that the most important thing we can do as individuals and companies is help support those who help us,” Rusty Gregory, CEO of Alterra Mountain Company said in a press release. “Our employees, vendors, guests and neighbors create the very spirit of the mountains that draw visitors from all over the world. The Alterra Mountain Company Community Foundation was established to offer some support to those in need and help them thrive.”

Gregory himself, along with Alterra’s founders, have already donated an initial $2.6 million to fund grants. However, ongoing support is going to have to come from public donors.

This Foundation and the services they will be providing are a kickback for communities like Aspen, Steamboat, Winter Park, Squaw Valley, Mammoth Mountain, and a handful of others scattered across the country and in Canada. It’s a safety net for the people who live and work in these mountain towns, so that they can continue living and working there even when they’re going through hard times.

You’re move Vail Resorts.