Vail Resorts

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Vail Resorts
Traded as NYSEMTN
Founded 1997
Headquarters Broomfield, Colorado, USA
Key people
Robert A. Katz, chief executive
Number of employees

Vail Resorts, Inc. runs four ski resorts in Colorado (Vail Ski Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, Keystone Resort, and Breckenridge Ski Resort), three in Lake Tahoe (Heavenly Mountain Resort, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Northstar California), one in Utah (Park City Mountain Resort in Park City), one in Minnesota (Afton Alps), one in Michigan (Mount Brighton), one in New South Wales, Australia (Perisher Ski Resort) and a summer resort in Wyoming. They also own luxury resort hotels throughout the world. The company trades on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol MTN. The company is headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado.


Vail Resorts was founded as Vail Associates Ltd. by Pete Seibert (former WWII 10th Mountain Division ski trooper) and Earl Eaton in the early 1960s. Earl and Peter were both ski patrol guides at Aspen when they shared their dream of finding the "next great ski mountain". Earl, a life long resident and son of pioneer families in the area lead Peter to the area in March of 1957. Peter set off to secure financing and Earl engineered the early lifts. On a string and a prayer, the ski resort was founded and it opened in 1962.[2] George N. Gillett, Jr. purchased Vail Associates in 1985.[3] Vail Associates changed its name to Vail Resorts and went public in 1997[4] after Gillett Holdings (owned by George N. Gillett, Jr.) went bankrupt.[5] Apollo Management, headed by Leon Black, bought the company out of bankruptcy and took Vail Resorts public, controlling Vail Resorts through its growth until around 2003, when Apollo divested themselves of the controlling interest. Former Apollo executive, Rob Katz, currently runs the company. The skating rink at Beaver Creek was named the Black Family Skating Rink after Leon Black.


Vail Resorts operates the Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone ski areas in Colorado, Northstar at Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, and Heavenly Ski Resort on the California-Nevada border. It acquired the Grand Teton Lodge Company within the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in 1999. The GTLC properties include the Jenny Lake Lodge, Jackson Lake Lodge, and Colter Bay Village.

On October 25, 2010, Vail Resorts Inc. announced the acquisition of a long-term lease on Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort in California for $63 million cash.[6]

On February 22, 2012, Vail Resorts Inc. announced the acquisition of Kirkwood Mountain Resort for approximately $18 million.[7]

On December 6, 2012, Vail Resorts Inc. announced the acquisition of Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan for $20 million cash.[8]

On May 29, 2013, the company announced a 50-year lease of Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.[9]

On September 11, 2014, Vail announced the acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort in Park City, Utah for 182.5 million in cash.[10] In 2015, Vail would merge Park City Mountain Resort with Canyons Resort via an interconnect gondola to make one large resort operating under the Park City name.[11]

On March 30th, 2015 Vail announced its acquisition of its first Australian resort, Perisher Ski Resort in NSW for approximately US$136 million.


In 2001, Vail Resorts acquired the renowned luxury hotel chain Rockresorts, which contributed substantially to their brand recognition. RockResorts (with the second "R" now capitalized) was named for its original owners, the Rockefeller Family. As of December 2014, the properties include:

The Pines Lodge at Beaver Creek, CO
The Lodge at Vail, CO
The Osprey at Beaver Creek, CO
The Arrabelle at Vail Square, CO
One Ski Hill Place at Breckenridge Ski Resort
Half Moon Bay, Jamaica

Subsidiaries and Affiliates

All of the company's retail operations are run by a smaller company, [Specialty Sports Venture, aka SSV], of which Vail owns 70%. The owners of the other 30% are the Gart Brothers, specifically Tom Gart, Ken Gart and John Gart. The Gart family have been in the sporting goods business for 3 generations and were the former owners of Gart Sports, the large chain of sporting goods stores in the western US. Gart Sports was sold by the Gart family in the 1990s and then recently sold again to Sports Authority, which discontinued the use of the Gart Sports name in 2006. In 2010, Vail completed the buyout of the Specialty Sports Venture brand and is now the 100% owner of all SSV operations. In addition to all of the ski shops in the Vail Resorts portfolio of ski areas, the SSV chain of stores includes Bicycle Village in Denver, Colorado Ski & Golf, Boulder Ski Deals, Aspen Sports, Telluride Sports and Mountain Sports Outlet in Summit County and Glenwood Springs and many others. SSV is reportedly the largest Trek bicycles dealer in the world.

Vail Resorts also owns just over 50% of Slifer, Smith and Frampton (SSF) Vail Real Estate, the largest real estate brokerage company in the Vail region, controlling over 70% of the real estate transactions in the market. Slifer, Smith and Frampton was called Slifer, Smith and Frampton/Vail Associates Real Estate, but they dropped the "Vail Associates" name in 2003. The founders of SSF are Rod Slifer, a former ski instructor who was recently the mayor of the Town of Vail, Mark Smith, a real estate broker/turned developer who currently also runs East West Partners with Harry Frampton, who was the former President of Vail Associates and currently owns East West Partners. East West Partners has built most of the large building that make up the Beaver Creek Village, including the Marketplace Building, Village Hall and One Beaver Creek. Not to be confused with East West Resorts, a separate property Management Group.

Vail Resorts Development Company (VRDC) is the wholly owned real estate development company that Vail Resorts uses to develop all of its company-owned real estate, other than the projects that East West Partners develops. VRDC developed Bachelor's Gulch, one of the most upscale, ski-in/ski-out resorts in the business with its own Ritz Carlton and just over 100 slopeside mansions. President Gerald Ford kept his ski house in the Strawberry Park section of Beaver Creek, which is between Beaver Creek and Bachelor's Gulch. Arrowhead is the third "peak" in the heavily promoted "village to village ski experience" in which you can ski from Beaver Creek to Bachelor's Gulch to Arrowhead and back again. Arrowhead was a separate ski area unrelated to Beaver Creek for years before they were finally bought by Vail Associates in the early 1990s. VRDC also developed "club" division of Vail Resorts, including the Beaver Creek Club, the Arrowhead Alpine Club, and Game Creek Club (in Vail). VRDC also developed Red Sky Ranch in Wolcott (approximate 10 miles (16 km) west of Beaver Creek), which includes two golf courses and many million dollar golf course homes. All of these clubs are now operated by the "Mountain Division" of Vail Resorts.


  1. Company profile
  2. Moran, Lauren (19 March 2011). "Vail visionaries". Vail Daily. Swift Communications. Retrieved 2012-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Wyrick, Randy (20 May 2011). "1985: The year the deals got done". Vail Daily. Swift Communications. Retrieved 2012-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "Vail Resorts Inc. - 10-K Annual Report - 9/30/1997". Retrieved 2012-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Gillett Bankruptcy Filing". New York Times. The New York Times Company. 18 August 1992. Retrieved 2012-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Miller, Scott (25 October 2010). "Vail Resorts acquires Northstar-at-Tahoe". Vail Daily. Swift Communications. Retrieved 2012-08-06.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Vail Resorts To Acquire Kirkwood Mountain Resort". Retrieved 22 February 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Vail Resorts to Acquire Two Ski Areas in Midwest, Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan". Retrieved 6 December 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Vail Resorts acquires long-term lease to Canyons, Utah's largest ski resort". KDVR. 2013-05-29. Retrieved 2013-05-29.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Goodbye Canyons, hello Park City: Utah ski resort on track to be biggest in U.S." Los Angeles Times. July 29, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links