Whistler Blackcomb Sold To Vail Resorts

Words Cam McRae
Date Aug 8, 2016

It’s being reported that Colorado-based  Vail Resorts Inc., has purchased Whistler Blackcomb. If you are lucky enough to have Whistler shares it’s been a good day for you; the stock jumped over 40 percent on the TSX, rising $10.80 to $35.94.

In April Whistler announced major re-development and expansion plans aimed in part to make the resort less vulnerable to poor winter conditions brought about by climate change. The three-phase $345 million project remains subject to approval by government and other interest groups, including the local First Nations.

The sale has apparently been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Vail owns resorts in Colorado, Utah, California, Wisconsin and Australia.

Commentary on Teton Gravity Research’s Facebook page media did not welcome this transaction.


What this means for mountain biking remains to be seen, but hopefully the best bike park in the world will continue to develop as it always has, without ticket prices going ballistic.

How is that landing for you?


Matt  - Aug. 8, 2016, 11:28 a.m.

Well. There goes the neighborhood.

My condolences, Sea to Sky/Lower Mainland friends.


Cam McRae  - Aug. 8, 2016, 11:40 a.m.

Why do you say that Matt? What has been your experience with Vail?


Matt  - Aug. 8, 2016, 11:58 a.m.

Vail has a bit of a history with exorbitant pricing, catering to only the richest of the rich, heinously restrictive risk management and poor treatment of their staff. They also come in with a lousy track record in their dealings with local communities - see: Park City. Not to mention their bad habit of buying up surrounding real estate and driving prices through the roof, giving small business the boot and homogenizing future development.

Basically, Vail is a large corporation that acts like one.

That said, every resort is different, and it's not like WB is a little mom and pop operation as it is. Hopefully the concerns all amount to nothing.


DrewM  - Aug. 8, 2016, 6:48 p.m.

One thing that may be worth noting re. "heinously restrictive risk management" is that while Canada seems to be increasingly litigious the settlements/payouts are peanuts compared to the USA and a large percentage of their customers are Canadians with health coverage so are less likely to sue for minor injuries. Also, unlike USA insurance companies that may payout to an injured rider and then sue the resort on their behalf those cases are very rare (note worthy) in cases where riders have private income loss insurance.

I can't imagine them raising the prices more than a few % a year unless they are adding a lot of new terrain… but what do I know?!


Matt  - Aug. 8, 2016, 8 p.m.

I would agree on that, although I think the take home point here would be that Vail is consistently more risk-averse than their competitors. So while they may not be as restrictive as their US resorts in Whis, they can probably be expected to be the most risk averse among Canadian resorts.

As for prices, a single winter day ticket at Vail costs $160 USD during peak season. Even by Whistler's standards that's extortionate.


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