The second time may be the charm.
In late June, Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Resort announced that it would be changing ownership from the Dupre family to the Nutting family, marking the first time in 74 years that the family-run resort will have changed hands. The announcement was made by Robert Nutting, who serves as CEO of Ogden Newspapers.
Seven Springs was founded in 1932 by Adolph and Helen Dupre. Initially containing little more than a rope tow, Seven Springs has grown to one of the largest and most popular ski resorts in the mid-Atlantic region. Today, Seven Springs employs nearly 1,500 full and part-time employees, welcoming approximately 1.2 million overnight guests each year. Seven Springs has been privately owned by shareholders consisting mostly of descendants of Adolph and Helen Dupre.
In 1998, Seven Springs came close to being purchased by Colorado-based Booth Creek Ski Holdings, then the fourth-largest ski area operator in the nation. Booth Creek reportedly offered $100 million to members of the Dupre family. This led to a long-running battle between family members, who disagreed over whether to sell the resort. That battle wound its way through the courts to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which cleared the way for a possible merger between Seven Springs and Booth Creek in 2002. However, the merger never occurred, and Seven Springs remained family-owned.
Now, the resort will change hands to the Nutting family, and it appears to have the support of the Dupre family.
“Since Adolph and Helen Dupre purchased their first plot of land in 1932, Seven Springs has always been a family-run, family-first destination,” said Scott Bender, President and Chief Operating Officer of Seven Springs. “That focus will not change under the Nuttings. They are strong supporters of the communities in which they live and work and their holdings are part of a family business. Their cultural fit and dedication to quality was essential in our decision-making process,” he said.
Financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed. In a statement announcing the sale, Robert Nutting expressed confidence in the current management team and stategic vision for growth.
Robert Nutting met with Seven Springs employees prior to the announcement, explaining his plans for the resort and describing how he grew up skiing the slopes of Seven Springs.
Nutting is a lifelong fisherman and director of the West Virginia chapter of the Nature Conservancy. The Nutting family operates businesses that publish 21 daily newspapers, 20 phone books, and environmental lifestyle publications such as Mother Earth News and Natural Homes. Robert Nutting also serves as Chairman of the Board for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“We are very passionate about sharing the value of responsible living and will be good stewards of Seven Springs and its 5,500 acres of pristine land,” said Nutting.
The Nutting family will also continue efforts to bring gambling to Seven Springs with a limited resort gaming license, although Robert Nutting stresses that the possibility of gaming did not play a role in the decision to purchase the resort.
“We owe it to our management team and staff, the strong supporters in the community and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to continue to pursue it,” Nutting said. If approved, the gaming license is expected to add 355 employees to the payroll of Seven Springs, bringing an additional $126 million per year in revenue to the local economy.
“The window to a world of opportunity has been opened for Seven Springs,” said Herman Dupre, former 40-year CEO of Seven Springs. “I am extremely excited for the staff, homeowners and guests of Seven Springs. I am confident the Nutting family will carry on the Seven Springs legacy and take the resort to a new level.”
“My family is absolutely committed to this region for the long-term,” said Nutting, “as is shown by our commitment to Ogden Newspapers, our involvement with the Pittsburgh Pirates, and now the purchase of Seven Springs Mountain resort.”
M. Scott Smith is the founder and Editor of DCSki. Scott loves outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, kayaking, skiing, and mountain biking. He is an avid photographer and writer.