About the Company
Okemo Mountain Resort
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Okemo was founded in 1955 by a group of local businessmen. Operations officially began January 31, 1956, with four inches (102 mm) of snow and trails serviced by two Poma surface lifts. The lower poma cost 20 cents per ride, while the upper one cost 60 cents. The early 1960s saw the introduction of four more Pomas. In these years, Okemo had a reputation of operating with all Poma platter lifts, while other ski areas used double chair lifts to serve advanced ski terrain. The first chairlift, the Sachem double, was introduced in 1965. Along with all of these improvements, Okemo began to offer slopeside lodging starting in 1961. In 1963, Okemo purchased its first groomer, a Tucker Sno-Cat model. Snowmaking was first used, starting with the lower part of the mountain, in 1966.
The 1970s brought tough times for Okemo. There were fires, floods, and competition from the West. In 1982, the owners decided to sell the resort rather than go into bankruptcy. Tim and Dianne Mueller purchased the resort on August 2, 1982. While the resort was in danger of going bankrupt and the facilities were outdated, the Muellers wanted to preserve the historic feeling. They kept the name Okemo, which they claim is Native American for “All Come Home”, although there is no evidence as to which Native American language this comes from. According to the scholarship of John C. Huden, the name means Chieftain in Chippewa and a louse in Abnaki. Certain trail names also continue to preserve this sentiment, such as Chief, Tomahawk, Wardance, Sachem, and Arrow, all of which are present on today’s trail map.
Since 1982, Okemo has grown in many different ways. The facilities have been expanded in every aspect, including new chairlifts, trails, lodges, and snowmaking. Since purchasing Okemo, the Muellers have also acquired Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, New Hampshire, and Mount Crested Butte in Crested Butte, Colorado.
On December 6, 2008, the Muellers sold Okemo, Crested Butte and Mount Sunapee to a REIT, CNL Lifestyle Properties in a lease-back deal valued at over 130 million dollars. CNL sold the properties to Och-Ziff Capital Management in 2016. Och-Ziff now owns the underlying assets of the resorts, while the Muellers continue to run the resorts as usual.