MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Afton Alps was created in 1963 by three local farmers, and over the decades thousands of Minnesotans have skied and worked there.

And even with its sale, the people who worked there on Wednesday are still working there now.

“Afton Alps is now a part of the Vail Resort family, which is the number one ski company in North America, so most people here are pretty excited about it,” said resort co-owner Amy Reents.

Thirty-three miles from the Twin Cities, Afton Alps has come a long way from the days of ski racks made of birch logs, and hand operated snow machines. It is now owned by a company famous for its California and Colorado ski resorts.

“A lot of people over the years…said [Afton Alps is] like our own little Vail in Minnesota, so ironically it kind of now is,” Reents said.

Vail Resorts will make changes to the property and the infrastructure at Afton Alps, but customers hope the small town feel will remain.

“I’ve skied out west, and I like the way they run the operations out there,” said John Wilmes of Lakeland. “And if its anything like that, it’s gonna be great.”

Starting Thursday, Vail resorts will give a 25 percent lift ticket discount to Afton Alps season pass holders.

“We really want to thank all of our employees, and our customers, for the 49 years that they gave us and hope they enjoy following us into this new era,” Reents said.

Some of the changes planned for Afton Alps include updated terrain parks, better technology and expanded dining and entertainment.