Seven Springs Mountain Resort, a favorite Laurel Highlands retreat for many Pittsburghers, is being sold to Colorado-based Vail Resorts, Inc.

The sale, expected to close this winter, includes an agreement to sell sister resorts Hidden Valley Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Resort. The sale ends 15 years of ownership by the Nutting family of Wheeling, West Virginia, owners of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Ogden Newspapers chain.

“The resorts truly are a part of the fabric of this region and a critical community asset,” Robert Nutting, president and CEO of Seven Springs Mountain Resort. Inc., said in a statement. Nutting praised the people who helped to transform Seven Springs into a premier four-season family resort.

Nutting purchased Seven Springs in 2006, and added Hidden Valley in 2013 and Laurel Mountain in 2016. Seven Springs, located about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, has grown to be a destination ski resort in the East, with popular terrain parks and its Superpipe for snowboarders.

Under Nutting, the resort renovated its hotel and event spaces, added a luxury spa and sporting clays facility, and expanded activities for winter operations. The resort’s winter employment nearly doubled, from around 900 to more than 1,700 people, and with year-round programming, summer employment has climbed to more than 1,000 people.

Although Nutting is selling assets related to the resorts’ mountain operations — including the lodging, conference center and amenities — his company will retain ownership and operation of the Sporting Clays at Seven Springs, the Seven Springs Golf Course and Hidden Valley Golf Club, Highlands Market, Highlands Resort Realty, and some related real estate for possible future development. 

Nutting said Vail Resorts has “a proven track record” as an industry leader and will continue to invest in the three resorts.

Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said in a statement that the properties are “a perfect complement to our existing resorts,” drawing guests from not only Pittsburgh but other major markets such as Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Cleveland.  

Winter operations at the Pennsylvania resorts began on Saturday. The sale is not expected to affect pass holders, hotel guests or events. Vail Resorts intends to give pass holders access to certain Epic Pass products for the 2022-23 season. 

Vail Resorts owns 37 resorts in three countries and 15 U.S. states, including Vail Mountain, Breckenridge Ski Resort, Park City Mountain, Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe Mountain Resort. 

In Pennsylvania, the company already owns and operates Liberty Mountain Resort, Roundtop Mountain Resort, Whitetail Resort, Jack Frost and Big Boulder.  

Seven Springs is among the state’s largest ski resorts with 285 skiable acres and 750 vertical feet. Its hotel has 418 rooms, a conference center and a full-service spa. Hidden Valley has 110 skiable acres and 470 vertical feet, with 26 slopes and trails and two terrain parks. Laurel Mountain has 70 skiable acres and 761 vertical feet.