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Aspen Skiing Co. Is Open to Acquiring Out-of-State Ski Areas

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A recent article by Scott Condon in the Post Independent argues that although it's been more than 20 years since Aspen Skiing Co. has acquired a ski area, the company is open to expanding out of state. Mergers and acquisitions have been the name of the game recently (just ask Vail Resorts, Deer Valley, or Mammoth Mountain), and with the latest speculation that as many as 31% of today's ski areas won't survive, it makes sense for Aspen Skiing Co. to consider acquisitions. The company has already targeted Sun Valley, Idaho as the next location for their value-oriented Limelight Hotel brand, but acquiring other ski areas would be a big step.

In the Post Independent's article, the hot topic is consolidation of the ski industry, and Aspen Skiing Co. is watching.

"Consolidation means more resorts have the resources to compete with us for our target markets," Aspen Skiing Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Kaplan said in an email interview with The Aspen Times. "We are seeing this in the form of additional investments from our competitors in on-mountain improvements, improved technology, growing international markets, enhancing air service, and building out their bed base."

When asked if Skico is interested in acquiring other ski resorts, Kaplan said, "Nothing is imminent and I will not speculate, but we are considering opportunities as they arise."

Aspen is already part of the Mountain Collective, a ski pass aimed to combat the reciprocal pass benefits of Vail Resorts's Epic Pass. With a Mountain Collective pass, skiers and snowboarders get two days each at Aspen-Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Alta-Snowbird, Mammoth, Squaw Valley-Alpine Meadows and Whistler-Blackcomb.

But which ski areas would Aspen Skiing Co. be interested in acquiring if the opportunity arose? That's the big question no one will answer. So we're throwing it out to you, Curbediverse. What do you think? Which ski areas are ripe for a merger or acquisition, whether by Aspen Skiing Co. or by any of the other industry leaders (Vail Resorts, Powdr. Corp, etc.)? Send us an email, or let us know in the comments.

· Aspen Skiing Co. sets course to handle ski industry consolidation trend [Post Independent]
· Limelight Hotel Gets Green Light for Sun Valley Location [Curbed Ski]
· Breaking: Vail Resorts Buys Park City Mountain Resort [Curbed Ski]
· Deer Valley Buys Solitude Mountain Resort [Curbed Ski]
· Mammoth Acquires Big Bear Resorts for $38M [Curbed Ski]
· Industry Expert Says 31% of Ski Areas Are Dying [Curbed Ski]
· New Ski Company Just Bought Purgatory Ski Resort [Curbed Ski]