Consolidating resort group
The Crown-KSL foray has roiled an industry that had found an uneasy, albeit fleeting, equilibrium.
On one side, there were major independent ski resorts, including Whistler Blackcomb and Mammoth, who joined together to offer the Mountain Collective Pass, which, at 9, gives skiers two full days plus 50 percent discounts on additional days at a basket of more than 14 independent destination resorts.
Braxton Myers, Vice President of Operations at Blackstone, oversees operations and serves as the interim general manager for one of the properties.
So with Avendra’s price breaks on 85 percent of what I purchase on a yearly basis, the impact is great.” said Myers.
This leads many skiers to make a choice that determines where they will spend their ski holidays and their money.
As Vail Resorts grew, so did the portfolio of the Mountain Collective as independent resorts sought to challenge the Epic Pass.
For destination skiers, however, who generate more lucrative margins and periphery business—lodging, rentals, food—for ski resorts and are thus more sought after, the choice has grown more complicated.
Buying individual lift tickets remains an option, but Vail Resorts in particular has made this route punitively expensive: one-day tickets at some of the company’s top-tier mountains hit 9 last season.The newly formed and yet to be named resort company also includes Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, California, which KSL already owned.The company clearly wants to emulate the path taken by Vail Resorts, a public company whose stock has nearly quadrupled in price during the last five years, valuing it at .7 billion.In fact, six months after an acquisition, Blackstone will compare the financials from when they acquired the property.