Vail Resorts (Vail Resort, Inc. MTN (NYSE)) just announced they bought the Peak Resorts group of 17 ski areas. Most of the areas are small, local oriented areas in the Midwest and Eastern United States. These are the feeder ski areas for the destination resorts of the West.
This brings Vails ski area ownership to just under 40 ski areas in North America and over 40 worldwide.
Vail brings a corporate touch to skiing. All the same, all the time. No surprises. (Read this as both male and female hair must be neat and tidy, necks must be freshly shaven. Earrings no larger than a dime, no facial piercings. Tattoos covered if offensive, no facial tattoos.) It’s the skiing version of Disneyland.
So far, in Fernie, we’ve been spared the whims of an overbearing corporate owner. Our character is as much derived from the community (mining and resource extraction) as the ski industry. Our visitors love the openness and unpretentiousness of the ski area and the town. They come back time after time because we have a unique history and character we wear on our shoulder.
While several groups have looked at buying RCR in the last almost three years, no one has stepped up and plunked their money on the table. We’ve joined the Epic Pass, often a precursor to being snapped up by Vail, but so far, that has not happened.
Maybe they’re just a little afraid of the Griz.
As they should be.
The author, Keith Liggett, has worked for Vail Resorts in a previous life.