Afton Alps sold to Colorado-based Vail Resorts - KMSP-TV

Afton Alps sold to Colorado-based Vail Resorts

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There's a good chance anyone in the Twin Cities who skis or snowboards learned how to do it at Afton Alps.

Now, the Augustine family of Hastings is agreeing to let go of a few hundred acres of land they thought they might be able to turn into a ski hill back in 1963.

"They picked this location in the St. Croix Valley because it was a valley with a north facing slope," said co-owner Amy Reents. "They just had a dream that they wanted to build a ski hill here."

But it's a new era in the ski business, and while Reents says it's bittersweet, selling to Colorado-based Vail Resorts is the right thing to do.

"After working with them originally, we said ‘oh we can't do this, we can't do this,' and then after talking to them and getting a feel for their culture, and their passion for the ski industry and their guest service – and all that they have to offer – we finally realized this is something we just can't deny our customers and our employees," Reents said.

She added that when Vail Resorts said she and her family could stay a part of the business, they decided selling Afton Alps was the right thing to do at the time.

Vail Resorts is paying $20 million in cash for both Afton Alps and a ski hill in Detroit.

Vail plans to improve Afton's snow making capabilities, food options and plans to offers discounts at Vail's seven resorts out west for Afton season pass holders.

The family is hoping these new exciting changes will not diminish the hometown, comfortable feel they've worked so hard to cultivate.

"There's a little bit of apprehension about that, but I guess we'll have to wait and see," an Afton skier said Friday night. "If it was the best decision for the family to make at this point in time, then good for them."

 Laura Oakes, FOX 9 News

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