Vail Resorts buys stake in Andermatt

29th March 2022, by Abi Butcher

Until relatively recently, Andermatt was an unspoilt, sleepy former Army garrison

Until relatively recently, Andermatt was an unspoilt, sleepy former Army garrison

Vail Resorts has bought a majority ownership of Andermatt-Sedrun, in yet another dramatic turn of events for the Swiss ski resort that has in the past ten years overgone radical change.

The investment of CHF149 million from Vail Resorts represents a 55 per cent stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG (the ski area), which until relatively recently formed part of a sleepy former Army garrison known for its unspoiled and incredible freeride skiing.

The resort itself (owned by Andermatt Swiss Alps or ASA) underwent massive expansion in 2013, with the building of a five-star hotel, golf course and other housing and hotels as part of a CHF 1.3 billion investment from Egyptian property tycoon Samih Sawiris. Andermatt’s ski area was linked with nearby Sedrun in 2018 to form Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, a move that added 37km of pistes and further increased Andermatt’s previously limited appeal to intermediate skiers.

The investment marks the first venture into Europe by Vail Resorts which either owns or operates more than 40 ‘mountain destinations’ in the US, Canada and Australia, including the likes of Vail Resorts. Whistler Blackcomb, Jackson Hole, and Park City. As a result, Andermatt will be included on Vail’s Epic Pass, a tie-in that will no doubt increase the number of visitors from North America to the Swiss resort.

Where to Ski & Snowboard recently ran a rather critical blog from US skier James Paris, on why skiing in North America is suffering from the domination of two companies — Vail Resorts (with its Epic Pass) and Alterra with its Ikon Pass. He cited overcrowding and huge lift queues as two major gripes, as well as high day pass rates across North America.

The investment of CHF110 million from Vail Resorts will be used to “enhance the guest experience on the mountain” in Andermatt, including lifts, snow making, restaurants and other infrastructure in the ski area, with CHF39million being paid to ASA to be invested into real estate and development of the base area.

Kirsten Lynch, chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said entering Europe had been a “long-term strategic priority” for Vail Resorts.

She said: “We plan to rely heavily on and learn from our partners, community members and the Andermatt-Sedrun team as we gain experience and understanding of the resort, its guests, and operations. We are proud to add this incredible Swiss destination to our network of world-class resorts and to the Epic Pass as we expand access for our existing pass holders and look to create an even stronger offering for skiers and riders in Europe.”

Samih Sawiris, majority owner of ASA, added: “Vail Resorts is the ideal partner for our goal of developing Andermatt into The Prime Alpine Destination. 

“With Vail Resorts’ deep expertise in successful operations of integrated mountain destinations, the company’s impressive marketing capabilities and destination guest reach, and the additional capital investment in the resort, Vail Resorts will provide a significant boost to the development of Andermatt- Sedrun.”


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