In just one season, the face of skiing has changed forever. Whether or not that new appearance will attract the skiing public has yet to be seen.
But one thing is for sure– the ski industry will continue to undergo massive consolidation. As long as resort groups like Vail and KSL continue to pick up small ski areas and add them to their roster of resorts, the future of the industry lies in the hands of executives and shareholders. Inevitably, we must ask the question, “which resort group does a better job at monetizing and managing their respective ski areas while providing the best product to the consumer?”
And that’s where we find ourselves. Basically speculating as to “whom will win the battle for ski industry dominance– KSL/Aspen or Vail Resorts?”
To begin answering that question, we need a proper evaluation of both companies and their ski areas. From vertical drop to pricey lift tickets– here’s our side by side view of KSL/Aspen’s offerings vs. Vail Resorts.
KSL Capital Partners / Aspen Skiing Company Vs. Vail Resorts
KSL/Aspen Vs. Vail Resorts
KSL + Aspen Skiing Company
|Biggest Ski Resort||4,000 acres (Squaw Valley)||7,400 acres (Park City)|
|Total Skiable Terrain||25,854 acres||42,951 acres|
|Total Vertical Drop||38,482′||33,630′|
|# of Ski Areas||16||14|
|Most Visited Ski Area (*Skier visits)||Mammoth Mountain (1,128,500)||Whistler Blackcomb (2,200,000)|
|Most Expensive Day Ticket||$159 (Steamboat)||$175 (Vail/Beaver Creek)|
|Least Expensive Day Ticket||$68 (Blue Mountain)||$58 (Afton Alps)|
|Recent Acquisitions||Mammoth Resorts + Intrawest||Stowe Mountain Resort + Whistler Blackcomb|
|Multi Resort Pass Offering||Mountain Collective||Epic Pass|
Looking at the numbers, the two resort groups stack up remarkably well. That should come as no surprise as they’re marketing to the same demographics as well as covering the same geographic locations with the exception of Australia. That said, we have to give the nod to Vail Resorts which sold a whopping 650,000 epic passes last year. We predict it’s going to be a while before KSL/Aspen closes that gap.