Vail Resorts, Inc. announced today that it has entered into agreements to purchase Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, for total cash consideration of $20 million. This brings Vail Resorts collection to 11 ski resorts in four states. Most recently acquired before today's announcement was Kirkwood in California. Vail Resorts portfolio includes Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe California.
According to Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, ""The acquisitions are part of a new strategy for Vail Resorts to drive season pass sales and build broader guest loyalty by looking at premier smaller ski areas located near major urban markets." Afton Alps and Mount Brighton serve major markets in the Midwest with more than 468,000 active skiers and snowboarders in the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit metropolitan areas.
Vail Resort's websites states they are "the premier mountain resort company in the world." Today, Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE: MTN. The company has come a long way since Pete Seibert, 10th Mountain Division veteran, and Earl Eaton, CCC worker and Aspen ski racer, decided Vail Colorado was the perfect place for a ski resort. They raised $1 million to secure a permit from the US Forest Service by selling a condo and lifetime season pass for $10,000 each. Vail is celebrating their 50th season, with fancy new gondola -The Golden Peak with heated leather seats and wifi.
If Vail Resorts is on the prowl for potential ski New England ski resorts to broaden their global base for guest loyalty - I think we all know of a few for sale for the right price.
Vail and Heavenly Photos by Greg Burke
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.