Vail Resorts Heading into the 2013/2014 Season
Throughout the past year, there have been many changes as it relates to Vail Resorts. When most people think of Vail Resorts, they think of the resort in Vail. Much to the surprise of many people living outside Colorado, Vail Resorts is a public company that owns and operates Vail Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, Breckenridge Resort, Keystone Resort, Heavanly, Kirkwood, Canyons in UT, and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. As a public company, Vail Resorts must report back to their shareholders meaning that they need to show growth and profit to get continued support from their investors.
Continued Growth for Vail Resorts
While some people might not appreciate Vail Resorts continued growth, I feel it’s important to look at both sides of the picture. Being an optimist and loving to understand the business side of the outdoor/athletic industry, I find the growth of Vail Resorts very fascinating. In the last year, there have been a number of changes with Vail Resorts and its companies/resorts they own. For starters, Breckenridge Resort got the green light to add chair lifts and open up Peak 6. I for one am very excited to ski the new in-bounds terrain and I think it will be nice to spread out skiers over the busy resort. The thing that most people don’t think about is that there needs to be a lot of money to make this happen, both in legal teams, equipment, and running the day to day operations. The good and bad of this is that it’s usually a large public company that has enough funds to make this happen. This is often times why you see Vail Resorts growing and expanding at such a fast pace and smaller resorts finding it hard to grow.
While the opening of Peak 6 at Breckenridge Resort is noteworthy, Vail Resorts is constantly investing tens of millions of dollars in all of their resorts to make sure that their services stay competitive. The good thing through this is that the experience is often more rich for those that can experience. The downside is that ticket prices rise faster and faster leaving a bitter taste for some, but most are still willing to pay for a pass. For many years, Vail Resorts offered Colorado season passes to locals starting at around $350 for the season. This was about 8 years ago, today’s season pass rates are closer to $550. For some, this sounds expensive and for others, they think this is extremely cheap. For example, take a look at many resorts in Utah and you will see season pass rates around $1200 a year, that is except for the Canyons Resort which Vail Resorts recently acquired and immediately lowered the season pass rates.
Other ways in which Vail Resorts is continuing to grow is through their lodging properties such as Rock Resorts which offers a number of high-end lodging options. As the economy continues to grow, more and more people are spending money on these types of resorts which is a big plus for Rock Resorts.
According to the 2014 winter outlook by the Farmers Almanac, the season is going to shape up pretty nicely. With all the erratic weather patterns we have had over the past year, my very unscientific prediction is that it will be a good year.
For the Vail Resorts season openings and closings, you can expect the following;
Afton Alps: TENTATIVE
Beaver Creek: November 27th– April 20th
Breckenridge: November 8th– April 20th
Canyons: November 29th– April 13th
Heavenly: November 22nd– April 20th
Keystone: November 1th– April 20th
Kirkwood: November 22nd– April 27th
Mt. Brighton November 27th– March 9th
Northstar: November 22nd– April 20th
Vail: November 22nd– April 20th
Vail Resorts Season Pass Deals
As mentioned in the above sections, Vail Resorts offers season passes that are competitive to many other resorts in the United States. These season passes can be found here. http://www.snow.com/epic-pass.aspx
These passes are often a good deal when you compare them to day passes where most exceed $100/day and some get close to $130/day which is a little pricey.
Vail Resorts in the Future
As Vail Resorts continues to grow and report to its’ shareholders, my hope is that they take a responsible approach and allow those who enjoy skiing, snowboarding, etc. to ski the Vail Resort mountains at a reasonable rate.