VAIL TO BUY ANOTHER RESORT FOR $50 MILLION
21st February 2017 | Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Vail Resorts has announced it’s to buy Stowe ski resort in Vermont for $50 million. It will be the company’s first resort on the US East Coast. NEW
The purchase, which has been rumoured for some time, is the latest for North America’s biggest resort operator, which owns 10 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas.
Last autumn the company concluded a deal to buy the largest and most popular ski area in North America – Whistler – for $1 billion.
It will take over fully at Whistler next winter.
See here for our report when the deal went through.
Stowe will be included in Vail’s Epic season pass from next winter. The Pass gives holders access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Tahoe; and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada.
“We’re thrilled to add Stowe Mountain Resort to our family of world-class mountain resorts,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
“With the investments in both mountain infrastructure and base area facilities that AIG has made over the years, Stowe Mountain Resort has become the premier, high-end resort for East Coast skiers and snowboarders.
“We look forward to working with AIG to continue enhancing the guest experience and to ensure the resort’s long-term success.”
The latest acquisition by Vail Resorts comes as no great surprise to those in the US snowsports industry.
“It is almost a bar game to guess which resort Vail Resorts will target next and a known resort on the East Coast was top of the list,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove. He is currently touring a number of resorts in the USA and Canada.
“I was on a lift in Alta, Utah, earlier this month with a senior representative from the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce and we were talking about the rumours of a purchase of a major resort in the east. I said that I heard it was to be Stowe and he said that he heard it was to be Killington. What we didn’t disagree on was that a purchase was imminent.”
The main reason is not necessarily to make money from the single resort purchase but rather to get people who ski in one of the resorts owned by Vail Resorts to take a trip to another resort in the stable.
This is done with the lift pass and reciprocal hotel arrangements plus marketing.
A rival set of resorts in North America is in the Mountain Collective group.
The resorts are separately owned but also have reciprocal lift pass arrangements.
The resorts in the Mountain Collective group include – Sun Valley, Alta & Snowbird, Aspen & Snowmass, Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw, Taos, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Whistler/Blackcomb.
Interestingly both Stowe and Whistler/Blackcomb have now been bought by Vail Resorts but they remain in the Mountain Collective group for this season,
“The Mountain Collective group brings us many people from other areas and is a huge success for us. It is an idea that has worked,” said Connie Marshal from the Alta tourist office to PlanetSKI.
Vail Resorts says operations at Stowe for the remainder of the 2016-17 ski season will continue in the ordinary course as will future summer and winter seasonal hiring.
It says it will be retaining the majority of the resort’s year-round staff.
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