Last week, Blaise Carrig, President of the Mountain Division at Vail, joined BHHS Management and our agents for a discussion of Vail’s future plans.
Mr. Carrig gave an overview of Vail’s strategy with regards to mountain acquisition and growth, real estate development, growing appeal for winter sports, and running and operating resorts. The presentation was illuminating, and Mr. Carrig answered many of the remaining questions surrounding Vail’s recent acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort and the company’s immediate and future intentions towards its two local resorts.
A large part of the discussion revolved around the unique capital strength commanded by Vail. The business acumen of Vail Resorts allows the company to take a different and long-term approach to acquiring, maintaining, and growing its ski resorts. In his explanation of the business structure of Vail Resorts, Mr. Carrig shared that the Mountain Division (ie. its ski operations) accounts for the overwhelming majority of Vail’s revenue. This is an important indicator of priority. While Vail does have lodging, retail, and real estate holdings, their main focus remains the successful running of ski resorts.
Vail’s interest in real estate stems from the company’s commitment to providing the best ski vacation experience, which extends to lodging. Mr. Carrig conveyed that Vail only develops real estate when it feels that additional lodging options are required (particularly around the base of a resort) to ensure quality accommodations for guests.
Beyond having the capital reserves to make a purchase along the magnitude of Park City Mountain Resort, Vail invests heavily into mountain maintenance and improvements.
Mr. Carrig reiterated that Vail’s first order of business will be on-mountain improvement at Park City Mountain Resort. While he indicated that Vail has intentions of rehabilitating the base at Park City Mountain Resort, the company’s primary focus will be enhancing the immediate skier experience at PCMR by addressing lifts, restaurants, and snow-making. A two-way lift connecting Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort is intended to be installed next summer assuming approval by all necessary parties. The new combined ski resort, which will be the largest in America with over 7,300 acres of skiable terrain, will likely use Park City Mountain Resort as its lead brand.
Vail is committed to building on their already established reputation of community involvement. The company just launched their community-giving organization, Epic Promise, which will be active in Park City. As a community partner, Vail has traditionally focused on youth and environmental programs. Vail is also in talks with Deer Valley, Ski Utah and the Utah Office of Tourism to potentially create symbiotic marketing campaigns geared towards maintaining and increasing visitation to Park City and Utah.
Our takeaway: Vail runs a strong business and will be good for Park City.
For more information on Vail’s business performance last year, see their latest fiscal report.