As the biggest player in the ski industry, Vail Resorts has proudly touted its successes as a company with three goals: to operate ski resorts, provide lodging to skiers through its RockResorts properties, and to develop real estate at the base of mountains. This plan has made Vail loads of cash. But a recent article in Vail's local newspaper, the Vail Daily, indicates that the company's approach to
world domination real estate development is changing.
Real estate has always been a part of the Vail Resorts plan. Here's what the company has to say about their Real Estate Development Strategies:
"Real estate is a critical part of our mission and core business. We ensure that our Company maximizes its profit from each and every real estate project. At the same time, one of the primary goals of our projects is to increase the bed base at the foot of our mountain resort, enhance the resort aesthetics, significantly add new resort amenities, all of which enhances and drives our potential Mountain and Lodging profitability. Our development activity typically represents projects with a relatively small number of ultra-luxury units."
But at a recent meeting of the Vail Homeowners Association, company president Rob Katz told the audience that Vail Resorts is looking to modify things. According to the Vail Daily, he said "We now own 11 ski resorts, and we hope to own more. The challenge has been real estate development. It would be hard for us to be the primary developer in all those markets."
Katz went on, "We'd rather spend our money on the mountains," he said. "That's where our money, focus and attention should go."
So what does this all mean? If Vail Resorts spends less time developing real estate themselves, this will allow them to seek out third-party developers for projects. Plenty of those "Vail Sucks" t-shirts that pop up in ski towns stem from conflicts over real estate development.
Katz wants to change this, saying, "We're going to work with communities to find the best developers and put together what works best for all of us." He went on, "Now we can sit on the same side as communities."
Whether Vail Resorts has turned to this new policy as a way to court community favor or as a natural consequence of owning so many ski areas in so many places, this is a change in direction. While Vail has always been about the on-mountain experience, this announcement can only mean newer lifts, better facilities, and better skiing at all of the Vail properties. The other fact that clearly emerges from Katz's comments? Don't expect Vail Resorts to stop acquiring ski areas anytime soon. A focus on the mountain means Vail isn't done growing yet.
· Vail Resorts [Official Site]
· Resort company to focus on mountains [Vail Daily]
· Vail Will Replace Avanti Express With New Six-Person Chairlift [Curbed Ski]
· What It Means To Ski in a Vail-Dominated World [Curbed Ski]
· Vail To Get Huge $25M Mountain Adventure Theme Park [Curbed Ski]
· The Seven Most Insane Moments from the PCMR-Talisker Battle [Curbed Ski]