Destinations

Vail Resorts set eyes on Asian expansion

Hannah Edensor

Not content with snaffling up Perisher and Whistler, Vail Resorts is now eyeing Asian expansion potentials, although it could take years to snag something.

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz told a small industry cohort about its future plans at a rooftop cocktail party on Tuesday, emphasising international connections as a reason to go big.

“When we bought Perisher and I was here three years ago, a lot of people asked us why,” Katz explained.

“We wanted to create a unique connection between the Australian skier and ski resorts in the US.”

Katz said the “international connection” was a big reason for expanding so far from home, as a way of creating a “global footprint for its resorts”.

“We looked at where resorts make sense together, and had a power to create connections,” he said.

“It makes us more attractive to guests.”

Speaking of Vail’s purchase of Whistler, what he called the “largest and most popular ski resort in North America”, Katz said there was “no resort more popular and more impactful than Whistler Blackcomb”.

“When we looked at all the resorts in the world, we knew Whistler would be a gamechanger in Sydney, almost as much as in US.

“Whistler does more visits from Australia than all the resorts in the US combined,” Katz added.

But there’s no time to rest on their laurels and bask in the glory of its Whistler purchase, with Katz saying expansion is always on their radar.

“Asia is at the top of the list of what to buy next,” Katz said.

“But these resorts are people’s ‘babies’, and getting people to sell their baby is not easy. But we’re hard at work trying to make that happen.

“We’re big believers in travel, and in making skiing experiences possible and more accessible.

“We’re helping people create a lifelong passion for themselves.”

The event comes just as the incredible Epic Australia Pass – which allows season pass holders to ski year-round at all participating resorts including Whistler and Vail – is coming to the end of its sale period.

Monday, June 12, 2017 marks the final day to purchase the 2017/18 Epic Australia Pass

Skiers and snowboarders who are planning a ski holiday to North America for the 2017-2018 winter season can lock in the best price on skiing at Whistler Blackcomb – the largest ski resort in North America – Vail, Park City, Breckenridge and more.

Priced at AU$849 for adults, AU$479 for students and AU$566 for seniors, the Epic Australia Pass pays for itself in just under four of days skiing. The pass is sold exclusively online at http://www.epicaustraliapass.com.au.

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