Last week, the ski industry had major news when Aspen Skiing Company announced that it was partnering with Denver-based KSL Capital Partners to create a new company and then acquire Intrawest Resorts Holdings for about $1.5 billion. This merger instantly formed another major player in the multi-resort passes competition. Days after this, the newly formed company announced that they acquiring Mammoth Resorts and its mountains adding yet another major resort to its collection.
Mammoth Resorts operate Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit, Bear Mountain and other properties and golf courses. Considering that operations for Aspen Snowmass, Intrawest, Squaw Valley/Alpine, and Mammoth will remain separate, it is apparent that this company created to compete for multi-mountain passes. Approximately 650,000 Epic Passes were sold by Vail Resorts last year. That’s a hefty amount of revenue. On top of that, it creates a loyalty to the other mountains and encourages travel to other mountains where additional revenue in lodging and food is added. This has become a successful business model for Vail Resorts that has allowed it to aggressively purchase numerous mountains including Whistler, Park City, Stowe, and others.
How does this affect me?
If you are an avid skier that likes to go to different mountains, multi-mount passes are a great pass to own. There are many passes available, but the major players are Epic Pass, Max Pass, and Mountain Collective. With the various purchases of different mountains, mountains are starting to move from one pass to another and some are being added. For example, this past winter Stowe was purchased by Vail Resorts and moved from Mountain Collective to Epic Pass. Sugarbush was added shortly after.
Considering that some of Aspens’ mountains are part of the Mountain Collective Pass, it’s hard to determine if there will be an all-new pass being created or if all of these mountains will be combined into an existing pass such as Mountain Collective. Industry sources are expecting passes will remain the same in 2017-18, but expect some major changes in 2018-19. But, the bottom line is that skiers/riders should expect even more options and value. It should be pretty exciting.
Mountains that will be included under newly formed company (current pass):
- Snowmass (Aspen Snowmass Pass + Mountain Collective)
- Aspen Mountain (Aspen Snowmass Pass)
- Aspen Highlands (Aspen Snowmass Pass)
- Buttermilk (Aspen Snowmass Pass)
- Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows (Mountain Collective)
- Stratton (Max Pass)
- Tremblant (Max Pass)
- Blue Mountain (Max Pass)
- Steamboat (Rocky Mountain Super Pass + Max Pass)
- Winter Park (Rocky Mountain Super Pass + Max Pass)
- Snowshoe (Max Pass)
- Mammoth Mountain (Mountain Collective + Cali4nia Pass)
- June Mountain (Cali4nia Pass)
- Snow Summit (Cali4nia Pass)
- Bear Mountain (Cali4nia Pass)