CMO Erik Forsell on How Alterra Mountain Company Came to Be and What’s Next

Leveraging the scale of 12 resorts, Alterra looks to improve the mountain experience.

Resort consolidation has been a hot topic the past few years, as more independent mountains become part of larger companies.

These types of moves could be construed as negative without any context, but in the case of newly formed Alterra Mountain Company -- a group born in 2017 when KSL Capital and Henry Crown and Company came together to purchase Intrawest, Mammoth Resorts and Deer valley Resort -- the move seems to position each individual mountain for growth, with an added amount of resources at their disposal.

erik forsell alterra mountain company

Enjoying the view from Squaw Valley Resort. Photo: Alterra Mountain Company

Collectively, the group is also able to use its scale to provide a more all-inclusive offering to ultimate snow enthusiasts. The Ikon Pass, which Alterra has partnered with several other mountains to expand, offers a combined season pass for more than 20 destinations in 9 states and multiple Canadian provinces.

Internally, the elevation of existing executive staff has also been a part of the strategy. Erik Forsell, former CMO Of Mammoth Mountain, is taking the reigns with Alterra as the group's CMO, leading the early strategy that will seek to amplify what each location has to offer.

We had a chance to catch up with Forsell about how they landed on the new name and what Alterra's intentions are for maintaining and growing its 12 mountain destinations.

erik forsell alterra mountain company

Undeniable beauty at Stratton Mountain in Vermont. Photo: Hubert Schriebel/Alterra Mountain Company

How did you land on the name Alterra Mountain Company and the new logo?

There's a lot that goes in to a name, but the primary objective was to reflect who we are and what we do. The logo excludes iconography, putting the focus on a clean, premium wordmark. The intent was to avoid competing as a brand with our mountains. Our mountains are the focus, and that will always be the case.

What does it stand for? What do you hope it conveys about the new alliance?

The name 'Alterra' is a fusion of the words 'altitude' and 'terrain/ terra.' We also made sure that the word "mountain" was in the name. We're a community of iconic mountain destinations, that identity informs everything we do.  

erik forsell alterra mountain company

Downtown Steamboat. Photo: Loryn Kasten/Alterra Mountain Company

What will the strategy look like over the next 6 to 12 months as Alterra Mountain Company begins to get a grasp on managing all the properties that are now under one umbrella?

It's less about managing or grasping, and more about supporting and empowering. The destinations that make up Alterra Mountain Company are part of our community for a reason. Each has a unique culture and spirit. There's tremendous value in that and our goal is to preserve what makes them unique to our guests. We want to create supporting infrastructure, opportunities for growth and innovation, and let our destinations shine.

What does the Alterra executive staff look like and where are they all based?

The executive staff is mostly Denver-based and is comprised of some highly accomplished and well-respected individuals. Some are ski industry lifers, others are coming to Alterra Mountain Company from different sectors. Collectively, it's a team that combines a deep understanding of the mountains and the perspective to think differently.

erik forsell alterra mountain company

Colorado’s Winter Park Resort. Photo: Alterra Mountain Company

How did the Ikon pass come together?

Our primary objective was to create the pass that we as skiers and snowboarders wanted; the best access to the best mountains.

Through our work on Mountain Collective and M.A.X. Pass we had established relationships with the partner resorts, so the channels were in place. Once the conversation started the collection of mountains came together quite naturally. These mountains share a similar ethos, they make sense together

erik forsell alterra moutain company

A powder day at California’s June Mountain. Photo: Alterra Mountain Company

What do you think is the future of resorts? How do you see this model shaping the evolution and/or next chapter of resorts?

At the end of the day, it always has and always will be about the guest experience. Getting outside, spending time in the mountains, feeling connected, creating memories. The question for us is how do you leverage scale to improve the experience and make the mountains more accessible, while maintaining the unique feel and authenticity of the mountains that are a part of our family.

We're dedicated to answering that question, which in-and-of itself makes us unique. Because we're asking a different question, we're going to get a different answer, and we're confident it's one that people like us who love the mountains are going to be stoked about.

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