Vail Resorts To Buy Whistler For $1B

Vail Resorts has purchased Whistler Blackcomb resort in Canada for $1.06 billion, the largest deal ever for the Broomfield-based company.

The acquisition now gives Vail Resorts properties in three different countries, including Australia and their 12 locations in the U.S.

Vail acquired Perisher in 2015, the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere. In the same year they combined two resorts in Utah into the largest single ski area in the U.S. Now with the purchase of Whistler Blackcomb, Vail owns 100 percent of the stock of the largest ski resort in all of North America.

As reported by CNBC, Vail Resorts’ shares rose more than 7 percent Monday since the announcement and 20 percent since the start of the year. The Canadian resort is a premier destination two hours from Vancouver that caters to a large Asian market. Any Epic Pass holder will have access to the park during the 2017-18 season, meaning Asian skiers can visit both locations.

Dave Brownlie, Whistler Blackcomb’s chief executive officer, said in a statement that the purchase will increase financial strength and “broaden the geographic diversity of our company.”

He mentions how it supports their “ambitious growth plans,” including the Renaissance project; an initiative to make the resort more year-round friendly with differing activities, including a new action sports complex and an indoor “water-play” area.

In a statement, Vail pledged to “support the Whistler Blackcomb experience” by continuing with local Canadian leadership, maintaining local employment and “investing in the resort experience” by “continuing to build community and stakeholder support.”

Named after local marmots who “whistles” when they communicate, the resort was originally developed in hopes of hosting the 1968 Olympic games. That dream was eventually realized in with the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. In 2003, Whistler was purchased by neighboring resort Blackcomb Mountain after years of rivalry, and is now the number one ranked and most visited resort in North America according to Brownlie.

Brownlie will stay on as the resort’s chief operating officer, and a member of their board will join Vail Resorts. Vail expects to close the deal for Whistler later this year.