Consolidation is Reshaping the North American Ski Market
Ski season is going to be a bit different in North America this year. Two ski industry giants, Vail Resorts and Aspen Skiing Company, have been picking off notable ski areas like pawns on a snow-covered chessboard. Vail acquired Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia toward the end of 2016 and then grabbed Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont this summer. This year, Aspen Skiing Company, in a venture with KSL Capital Partners, also made moves, acquiring Mammoth Mountain in California and the assets of Intrawest, which include Mount Tremblant in Quebec and Steamboat in Colorado. Aspen Skiing Company independently operates four ski areas around Aspen/Snowmass.
On another front, Aspen Skiing Company, or Skico as it is familiarly called, is growing its hotel business. The storied Little Nell has been part of its portfolio since the 1980s. However, in 2010, Skico purchased an existing property in Aspen and named it the Limelight Hotel. The second hotel under the moniker was built from scratch by Skico and opened earlier this year in Ketchum, Idaho. The move raised some eyebrows, as Ketchum is a mere mile down the road from the privately-held Sun Valley Resort. Could a move into the greater Sun Valley real estate market be a harbinger of things to come?