By Steve Cuff
Snow rumours are in Epic overdrive this morning with reports Vail Resorts intend to buy Falls Creek and Mt Hotham resorts.
The Australian Financial Review (AFR) has stated that Vail Resorts are planning to buy both the Victorian resorts for an estimated $120 million which will see them have a key stake in the Australian market owning three of the big five resorts. Thredbo and Mt Buller being the other big players with large visitation.
In 2015 Vail Resorts purchased Perisher, Australia’s biggest resort for $176.6 million and with their Epic Australia Pass skiers and snowboarders can also access some of the best resorts in North America.
Should the purchase go ahead, season pass holders of Hotham, Falls Creek and Perisher would be able to ski at all three resorts, plus have the best of Vail Resorts in North America and affiliated resorts including Japan’s Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu.
This may be good news for Falls Creek and Hotham accommodation houses to attract Perisher skiers and snowboarders if they can visit without incurring any additional cost of tickets. Plus Victorians could also visit Perisher.
Interestingly, the Australian Financial Review said that Vail Resorts had approached Mt Buller owner Lorenz Grollo about purchasing that resort, but the answer was no.
Mr Grollo told the AFR the $120 million price for Hotham and Falls Creek was ten times the earnings which was incredible for a ski resort.
Obviously, Vail Resorts value the Australian travellers, and this would see them have a stranglehold on Australians who venture for international snow holidays.
What is surprising is that this rumour is surfacing prior to any Vail Resorts announcement. Miss Snow It All has been spruiking during the week there was big news brewing and ran with the news today after the AFR story.
When Vail Resorts purchased Perisher it was the best kept secret in town and even the snow grapevine was taken by surprise then. In that Perisher deal it was suspected only a few select people at Perisher knew about the purchase, so it will be interesting to see if this rumour is in fact true.
From a Vail Resorts top management perspective, they may be disappointed this story has surfaced as they are a listed company with strict rules and regulations.
Many snow websites have run stories today with Snowsbest.com.au suggesting an official announcement could be made from Vail Resorts Broomfield headquarters this Friday (US time).
For anyone who would have purchased shares in Vail Resorts after they purchased Perisher have made a tidy profit. Although the share price has fallen in the recent share market sell off they have become the leader in the snow industry and offer a great season pass that allows multiple resorts.
Stay tuned for more news as it unfolds and actual confirmation these rumours are true.
The new Eagle Lift at Falls Creek. Photo courtesy Falls Creek.
Vail Resorts share price since 2016.