Vail Resorts Just Took Over Australia | Purchases Falls Creek & Mount Hotham

Oz Brains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
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Mount Hotham Alpine resort, now a part of the Vail Resorts empire. Credit: Mt. Hotham Facebook

Vail Resorts is planning to buy Victoria’s Mount Hotham and Falls Creek ski resorts for about $120 million to expand its global offering of resorts reports the Australian Financial Review (paywall).

Vail Resorts, which already owns 15 ski fields across the US, Canada, and Australia – including Perisher in NSW, Australia’s largest ski field – is understood to be paying a hefty 10 times earnings for the two ski fields. The purchase gives Vail Resorts a dominant presence in Australia, as Falls Creek, and Mount Hotham are Australia’s 3rd and 5th largest resorts respectively (Thredbo 4th, Mt Buller joint 1st).

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Falls Creek, Australia’s 3rd largest resort

The company sees the southern-hemisphere market as a way to tap the fast-growing market of Chinese skiers that has the potential to supercharge the global skiing industry.

“What’s happening on a global scale is changing the game,” said businessman Lorenz Grollo, whose family owns the Mount Buller resort, also in the Victorian Alps.

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Falls Creek, Australia is now even more epic. Credit: Falls Creek Facebook

For Vail Resorts, adding Falls Creek and Mount Hotham increases the value of their Epic Pass to existing holders, which allows them unlimited access to its resorts. Although not all skiers see it like that. After Vail resorts added Whistler Blackcomb to their portfolio, Canadian skiers complained that the resort favored high spending tourists over locals and the pass priced in US dollars pushed up costs for people paying in the weaker Canadian currency.

Mr. Grollo said Colorado-based Vail Resorts had also approached his family about buying Mount Buller and the multiple it was prepared to pay on Mount Hotham and Falls Creek showed it was confident about future growth prospects for the industry.

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