The dog days of August are usually pretty slow for ski news. The past week was a big exception. On Monday, Vail Resorts announced that the company was buying Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia for around $1 billion in U.S. dollars. That’s billion with a “B” for those keeping score. (For accounting nerds, the billion will technically be $513 million in cash, plus $543 million in Vail Resorts stock.) A day later, the Mountain Collective added Telluride in Colorado and Revelstoke in British Columbia to its 2016-17 ski season roster.
The close timing of both events is largely a coincidence. After all, such agreements aren’t done overnight.
What does this mean for pass holders?
Whistler Blackcomb will be one of the Mountain Collective’s 2016-17 resorts, but North America’s largest ski area will shift to Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass for the 2017-18 season. Whistler Blackcomb’s season pass will remain unchanged and pass holders will be unable to access any of the Vail Resorts until next season.
For the Mountain Collective (a collaboration among 14 independent resorts), the addition of Telluride gives the pass its second Colorado destination to go along with Aspen Snowmass, while Revelstoke is the third Canadian destination on the list. The other ski areas in the Mountain Collective family are Jackson Hole, Taos, Alta-Snowbird, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows, Ski Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine Village, Mammoth, Stowe, Sun Valley, Thredbo, and Ski Queenstown/Coronet Peak/The Remarkables.
Learn more about the Mountain Collective Pass.
Effects in Wall Street
The publicly traded Vail Resorts has been buying resorts in recent years, and Wall Street apparently liked Vail Resorts’ Canadian shopping spree. The company’s stock (Symbol: MTN) jumped almost 10 percent in the few days after the purchase was announced.
Along with the obvious ski business, investors liked that Whistler Blackcomb can give the company some summer revenue from activities such as extensive mountain-biking operations. On the other end of the transaction, Whistler Blackcomb’s shareholders (Symbol: WSBHF) were really happy. Their shares jumped about 50 percent.
With the Summer Olympics in full swing this month, there’s another coincidental side note to the deal. Within the past two years, Vail Resorts has now snapped up the past two North American Winter Olympics alpine skiing sites— the 2010 Games at Whistler and 2002 at Park City.