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Breaking: Vail Resorts Goes International With Purchase of Australia's Perisher Ski Resort

Just days after Vail Resorts' plan to create America's largest ski area received approval, the ski company has dropped another bombshell: the purchase of Australia's Perisher Ski Resort for AU$176.6 million (about $US136 million). Located in New South Wales, Perisher is the largest and most visited ski resort in Australia, with 3,000 skiable acres, 47 lifts, and 7 mountain peaks. The sale includes all of the ski areas known as Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow, and Guthega as well as the ski school, lodging, food and beverage, retail/rental facilities, and transportation operations. With the purchase of Park City Mountain Resort for $182.5 million last year, this marks the second time in the space of 8 months that Vail Resorts has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire a new ski area.

In the past, Vail Resorts chairman and chief executive officer Rob Katz had hinted that Vail was poised to take over the world expand internationally. In today's press release, Katz stated that the move to buy Perisher "is part of Vail Resorts' continued strategy to drive season pass sales and build loyalty with guests from around the world. Australia is one of the most important international markets for ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere, generating an estimated more than 1 million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe. We see this as a ground-breaking acquisition that will dramatically enhance the connection between our Company and Australian skiers and riders. We also see the acquisition as a natural fit, as Perisher is the Australian leader in innovation and guest experience – both hallmarks of Vail Resorts."

Once you wade through all the PR-babble, what Katz is saying is that with the latest purchase of Perisher, Vail Resorts continues to follow their winning season pass strategy. Selling more than 400,000 season passes each year, Vail Resorts has consistently looked to buy ski areas in markets that will drive destination skiers to their other resorts. The proof is in the number of skiers from Minnesota's Afton Alps and Michigan's Mount Brighton who buy Epic Passes and head to Colorado each year to ski.

More on Vail Resorts:
10 Fast Facts On The Ski Industry's Biggest Player: Vail Resorts
Colorado Boosts Vail Resorts' Profits, Tahoe Lags Behind
Vail Resorts Plans to Focus on Mountains, Not Real Estate
What It Means To Ski in a Vail-Dominated World
CEO Admits that Vail Resorts Wants to Take Over World

With that in mind, Perisher has re-opened season pass sales for its upcoming ski season, which is set to debut on June 6. Perisher's "Freedom Pass" will now include unlimited skiing and and riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada. It also will include 10 days of free skiing and riding at Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado.

As Katz will tell you, "Our Company looks forward to welcoming an even greater number of Australian guests to our domestic resorts to showcase the incredible experience we provide."

So there you have it, Curbediverse. Vail Resorts is now officially international. Thoughts?

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