Five Pa. ski resorts sold amid Purdue Pharma bankruptcy

A sign for Roundtop Mountain Resort is posted along the road in Lewsiberry, York County, Oct. 1, 2019. (Brett Sholtis/WITF)

A sign for Roundtop Mountain Resort is posted along the road in Lewsiberry, York County, Oct. 1, 2019. (Brett Sholtis/WITF)

The sale of five Pennsylvania ski resorts and 12 other resorts leaves the Sackler family, who made billions selling prescription opioids, to reap a profit amid increasing scrutiny over the family’s assets. The sale came eight days after Sackler family-owned Purdue Pharma declared bankruptcy.

The Sackler family also was a majority owner of Peak Resorts, which sold its 17 properties to Vail Resorts in a $264 million cash deal. The family is expected to get about $60 million from the agreement, according to a Washington Post report.

Purdue Pharma faces more than 2,000 lawsuits saying the company downplayed the risks of OxyContin, one of the prescription opioids that contributed to many of the roughly 68,000 overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2018, according to Centers for Disease Control.

York County Coroner Pam Gay said 156 of those deaths last year happened in York County. Those people often first got hooked on prescription drugs.

“We hear the same story a lot from families, that they once started off using prescription drugs like Oxy, and then they would convert to heroin and fentanyl,” Gay said. York County filed suit against Purdue Pharma and other opioid makers in 2018, Gay noted.

Gay said she was surprised to learn that the Sackler family was involved with the company that had bought Roundtop Mountain ski resort in 2018. York, Pennsylvania-based Irvin Naylor founded the resort in 1964.

Liberty, Jack Frost, Big Boulder and Whitetail are other Pennsylvania resorts sold in the agreement.

What happens next to the resorts is unclear. Spokespersons at Roundtop and Vail Resorts declined to comment.

A Sept. 24 press release from the company states that it plans to invest $15 million in upgrades over the next two years “to elevate the guest experience at these resorts.”

In the coroner’s office, Pam Gay said she hopes some of the money from the lawsuits makes its way to the families and communities who have lost loved ones to opioids.

“I feel that there should be some recourse for some of these communities that have been so devastated, such as our own, and many others.”

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