Vail Resorts is to buy Falls Creek and Hotham resorts in Victoria for $174 million.
The US snow industry giant already owns Australia's busiest resort, Perisher in NSW. Once this purchase is bedded-down, season-pass holders at Falls Creek and Hotham will find themselves on Vail's Epic pass, meaning they can ride the lifts at the three Australian resorts as well as a vast Northern Hemisphere network including Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and Vail, Telluride, Sun Valley and Breckenridge in the US, along with Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu in Japan.
Australian skiers and boarders are by and large rusted-on to their areas, but the purchase wil influence those with some mobility, leaving the two of the big-five Australian resorts not in the Vail network - Thredbo in NSW and Mt Buller in Victoria - out in the cold somewhat. The benefits of the Epic Pass for travelling skiers and boarders are substantial.
Falls Creek, Victoria's largest ski resort by terrain (Mt Buller is easily the busiest by numbers), features a variety of terrain including fantastic beginner and intermediate trails that are well suited to families and first-timers. Considered the 'Powder Capital' of Australia, Hotham is unique with its village located on top of the mountain, ensuring ski-in, ski-out opportunities.
"We are thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of both Falls Creek and Hotham into the Vail Resorts family and further strengthen our position in Australia, which is one of our most important international markets." said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts.
"After our success connecting with skiers in Sydney and across New South Wales since acquiring Perisher in 2015, we have a huge opportunity to create a deeper connection with Melbourne and broader Victorian skiers and riders."
The purchase, which is subject to certain regulatory approvals, is expected to close prior to the commencement of the Australian snow season in June 2019.
For a Traveller interview with Rob Katz, follow this link