On Monday, Vail Resorts announced it’s acquisition of Persher – the largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere. The purchase was made for US$136 million. Persher is in New South Wales, Australia, in the south-east corner of the continent. This is a 5 and a half hour drive south west of Sydney. The purchase will be in effect for the 2015/2016 season pending the New South Wales government’s approval.
“The acquisition of our first international mountain resort is a significant milestone for our Company”
- Rob Katz, Vail Resorts CEO
With a now two-hemisphere presence, Vail Resorts is touting year-round skiing, being the only mountain resort company to own ski areas in both hemispheres. Persher has reopened the sale of their Freedom Pass, but with the benefits of the Colorado Epic Pass. Now, holders of Persher’s Freedom Pass get unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado; Park City and Canyons in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in Lake Tahoe, California; Afton Alps, Minnesota and Mt. Brighton, Michigan. Additionally, holders get a total of 10 combined days at Vail and/or Beaver Creek. The Freedom Pass is on sale for AU$749.
The Persher acquisition marks Vail Resorts’ first step towards global ski resort domination. Though it may be a bit of a stretch to assume there will be a mass Colorado ski-bum summer migration to Australia, ‘summer’ skiing is definitely an interesting proposition for those already looking to travel to Australia.
Persher is located in the Australian Snowy Mountains of Kosciuszko National Park. It is mere miles from the tallest mountain in Australia – Mount Kosciuszko (7,310 feet). The resorts’ base elevation is 5,640 feet which climbs to a peak elevation of 6,739 feet. With 3,076 skiable acres stretching across 7 peaks, the resort is similar in acrage to Vail’s other recent acquisition – Park City Mountain Resort.
The Persher acquisition comes on the heals of Vail Resorts’ big merger news between Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Resort.