Vail Buys Two Midwest Resorts
SAM Magazine—Dec. 6, 2012—Vail Resorts, Inc., will create its own skiers in the Midwest, announcing today that it has entered into agreements to purchase Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan, for total cash consideration of $20 million. According to the release, both ski areas serve major snow sports markets in the Midwest with more than 468,000 active skiers and snowboarders in the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul and Detroit metropolitan areas. Vail Resorts plans to upgrade and enhance the experience at each resort and create opportunities to connect guests from each of these ski areas to its seven resorts in Colorado and Lake Tahoe through season pass and other lift ticket products. The season pass products will be available for the 2013/14 season.
"These acquisitions are part of a new strategy for Vail Resorts to drive season pass sales and build broader guest loyalty by looking at premier smaller ski areas located near major urban markets," says Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts. "We plan to bring state-of-the-art racing, terrain parks, coaching and technology to the guest experience. We also will connect these urban ski areas to our world-class resorts in Colorado, California and Nevada with new season pass offerings, providing the chance to experience the best skiing and riding locally and in the West.”
And Vail has big plans for these small resorts including upgrading lodges, increasing snowmaking, creating new summer activities and much more. The Vail also will invest in each ski area’s infrastructure to improve parking and access to provide a more consistent experience throughout the season. Vail will be outlining its plans in the coming months and meeting with the local communities to seek their input.
Nearing its 50th anniversary, Afton Alps, founded by the Augustine family, has 48 trails on nearly 300 acres, 18 lifts, four base areas, night skiing and riding, tubing and an 18-hole golf course.
Open since 1960, Mount Brighton features 26 trails on 130 acres, six lifts, night skiing and riding and an 18-hole golf course.