Vail Resorts Buys Australian Ski Area

Marks company’s first international purchase

Mar 31, 2015
Outside Magazine

Perisher is Australia's largest and most visited ski area.    Steve Cuff/Perisher Media

Vail Resorts said in a statement Monday that it has purchased Australia’s Perisher Ski Resort for $136 million. It’s the Colorado company’s first international acquisition. Once the New South Wales government approves the sale, Perisher will be added to the 2015–16 season’s Epic Pass, meaning pass holders can take advantage of both Northern and Southern Hemisphere winters.

Australia’s largest and most-visited ski area, Perisher operates on seven mountains, encompassing 47 lifts, 3,076 skiable acres, and more than 100 groomed trails. It’s located in Kosciuszko National Park, near Australia’s southeast coast, and holds a long-term lease and license with the New South Wales government until 2048.

Australia is also a large market for Northern Hemisphere ski resorts, generating more than 1 million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan, and Europe, said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz in the statement. Vail bought Perisher from Murray Publishers and Transfield Corporate. Murray Publishers is a subsidiary of the company owned by James Packer, head of Crown Casino in Melbourne, the Australian reports.

Perisher will reopen sales of its Freedom Pass for the upcoming season, which starts June 6. It now includes unlimited skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Park City, and Kirkwood. Holders also get 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek, according to Curbed Ski. This means Epic and Freedom Pass holders will be able to ski from November to April in the United States, and then from June to October down at Perisher.

“This acquisition is part of Vail Resorts’ continued strategy to drive season pass sales and deepen ties with one of our most important international markets,” Katz said in Vail’s statement. Vail sold more than 400,000 season passes last year, according to Curbed Ski, and bought Park City for $182.5 million last September after a drawn-out battle over an unrenewed lease.