Vail Resorts has recently acquired a resort in New South Wales, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The newly acquired Perisher Resort will be included on Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, which offers pass holders unlimited access to included resorts. In addition, three resorts in France, Switzerland, and Japan have partnered with Vail Resorts to offer pass holders five consecutive days at each resort. With Vail’s 11 resorts on the pass in addition to the Perisher Resort, pass holders are able to take advantage of two full seasons of skiing.
Vail Resorts’ major goal with the acquisition is to draw more Australians to their resorts in the United States. Last year, 34,000 passengers traveled between Australia and Denver, according to data from Denver International Airport. Denver was recently ranked the seventh best city for sports travel in a study from Hotels.com and SeatGeek.
Patrick Byrne, public affairs manager for Colorado Ski Country, told the Denver Post that Australian tourists are the number one market for Colorado ski resorts. The Colorado Tourism Office’s Asia Pacific market manager, Lydia Cheng, added that Australian travel agents have disclosed that Colorado is a popular destination.
Australian skiiers are a lucrative market for several reasons. They tend to arrive in Colorado during the off-season, in January, and often stay for 10 to 14 days at a time. Leisure travelers tend to have an average age of 47.5 years old, and in 2014, over 1.2 million Australians visited the United States. Vail Resorts hopes that its acquisition of the Perisher Resort and its inclusion in season passes will encourage more Australians to choose Colorado over resorts in Japan and Canada for skiing during their summer.
Perisher Resort will be extending sales of their Freedom Pass through the end of April, allowing Australians to buy the season pass that grants them access to resorts in the United States for next season.