(note: Derek Taylor was the editor of Powder Magazine from 2008 to 2012. He wrote this piece for Outdoor Magazine.)
Vail has gotten a lot of flak recently. Their lawyer-powered acquisition of Park City ski resort in Utah has kept them in the headlines for the past year. Vail now owns 11 ski resorts:
Park City & The Canyons in Utah
Kirkwood, Heavenly, & Northstar in California
Beaver Creek, Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge in Colorado
Afton Alps in Minnesota
Mount Brighton in Michigan
Some think that this enormous consolidation of the ski industry is a bad thing. Derek Taylor thinks it’s a good thing. One thing is for sure: Vail’s Epic Pass is one helluva deal these days…
What do you guys think? Is Vail the enemy?
here’s an excerpt from Derek’s story:
But before you grab a torch and join the lynch mob, I have something to tell you. Vail is not your enemy. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done more than my fair share of Vail bashing. I used to live in a town (Crested Butte) that sold “Vail Sucks” shirts in most storefronts. And if I were to compile a list my favorite ski resorts, there might—might—be one from the Vail Resorts portfolio on the list. But when it comes time to spew venom, there’s something else to remember. Unlike many entities that storm in and adversely affect our little mountain utopias (Talisker?), Vail is a ski company.
Not only is Vail a ski company, it is a successful ski company. The eleven areas the company runs survive. They attract people. They create skiers. At a time when the buzz in the long-struggling ski industry is about increasing the size of the pie rather than fighting over the pieces, Vail is actually doing that.
The Epic Pass, the game-changing multiresort season pass the company debuted in 2008, is one of the best deals going. It sells to people who wouldn’t ordinarily buy ski passes, and it inspires them take their vacations in the mountains. Season passes went from something only local ski bums and wealthy second-home owners bought to being a great value for recreational skiers who take only a few ski trips a year. The Epic Pass, which now includes 18 resorts worldwide, has also made it more economically viable for skiers to visit new resorts. If you live in Colorado and have an Epic Pass, for example, skiing at other Vail Resorts in California and Utahbecomes much more affordable when you take the cost of lift tickets out of the equation. – Derek Taylor
Read the full article here: