Vail Resorts to buy Whistler Blackcomb

8th August 2016, by Abi Butcher

Vail Resorts has announced it is to buy Canada's best-known ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb

Vail Resorts has announced it is to buy Canada's best-known ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb

Vail Resorts is to buy Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, in a deal valued at just over US$1billion (CAN$1.4b) that is expected to close before the start of the season.

The shock announcement, made today, comes after Whistler Blackcomb’s board of directors has been “monitoring the unique challenges facing the broader ski industry due to the unpredictability of year-to-year regional weather patterns”, according to Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s chief executive officer.

“Whistler Blackcomb, with its unprecedented acreage of high alpine terrain and Glacier bowls, is well positioned, but by no means immune to these challenges.”

Mr Brownlie said the 100 per cent takeover of Whistler Blackcomb by Vail Resorts represented the most “the most exciting and transformative investment” in the award-winning Canadian ski resort’s history and would bring “increased financial strength, marketing exposure, guest relationships and broaden the geographic diversity of [Whistler Blackcomb] with resorts across the United States, as well as in Australia and Canada.”

Vail Resorts owns and operates nine mountain resorts and two urban ski areas including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Perisher in Australia; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.

All of the ski areas and resorts are covered by Vail’s Epic Season Pass, into which Whistler Blackcomb will not be integrated until the 2017-18 season. For the 2016-17 season will continue with its existing season pass products.

Vail Resorts has said it intends to keep on the “majority” of Whistler Blackcomb’s staff following the deal, and plans to “invest substantially in Whistler Blackcomb’s mountain infrastructure and growth plans”.

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