A group of local investors led by New Hampshire's Sununu family has purchased Waterville Valley Ski Area from California-based Booth Creek Resorts.

The purchase returns ownership of Waterville Valley Ski Area, Waterville Valley Nordic Center, and Waterville Valley Conference Center and Town Square to local control for the first time in 15 years.

Chris Sununu, Waterville's new CEO and head of the efforts to buy the resort, told OnTheSnow, "Our vision is to return Waterville Valley to being the premier resort it was, can and should be, and that really starts with our belief that local control and local management is always best."

He said the sale price was under $12 million.

Sununu, 35, has been coming to Waterville for 30 years.

"We understand the markets better than outside groups do, we understand the local atmosphere in the Town of Waterville, and in the State of New Hampshire," Sununu said.

"We have to use all the resources we have to drive forward and reinvest back into Waterville Valley, which has just not been done in quite some time. We will make Waterville a true, all-age, four-season resort," he said.

Waterville Valley was built by Olympic champion Tom Corcoran, and is famous for its ski racing heritage, WVBBTS ski club, and the self-contained village.

Waterville is the closest White Mountain area to Boston and southern New England, with a summit elevation of 4,000 feet, 52 trails on 255 acres, 12 lifts, and complete snowmaking coverage.

Bob Fries, former vice-president and general manager of Waterville Valley during the Tom Corcoran ownership years, will return as the new president.  Since leaving Waterville Valley in 1992, Fries has managed resorts from Breckenridge, Colo. to Stratton, Vt. including a stint at The Olympic Authority in Lake Placid. 

"When we first started talking about going after this project, we decided we had to find the best guy in the country, who understood New England skiing, New England marketing, Waterville Valley, all those things. Running a mountain is a craft. We interviewed people from all over the country, and Bob Fries was at the top of the list.

"We are immensely excited to have a guy with his experience, background, and expertise to bring this place back to being the region's preeminent resort and gateway to the White Mountains, which is it: first place you hit, closest to Boston," Sununu said.

The Sununu family has strong personal and professional ties to Waterville Valley.  The Annual Christa McAuliffe Ski Invitational was originated and supported by Gov. and Mrs. John H. Sununu from 1988 to 1994 with proceeds benefiting the Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical Trust Fund, a program dedicated to excellence in education.  The former governor and his son, former Sen. John E. Sununu, have homes in Waterville Valley.

"The Sununu family is perfect for taking over the ownership of Waterville Valley," said Booth Creek Resort's President Chris Ryman." We will miss Waterville as part of Booth Creek Resorts, but know this is a positive ownership change with the long term ties the Sununu's have had in the community."