Whistler Blackcomb, one of the most iconic ski areas in the world, is being acquired by Vail Resorts in a deal worth $1.05 billion. The deal was announced Aug. 8 in a Vail Resorts press release. Whistler Blackcomb becomes only the latest addition to Vail’s massive portfolio.
Whistler Blackcomb is about 75 miles from Vancouver, B.C. It draws over 2 million people every year. Although business has increased steadily at the British Columbia resort, management of the 8,100-acre ski area have expressed concern about the effect of climate change, which has caused delayed season openings or early season closings due to lack of snow.
Dave Brownlie, chief executive officer at Whistler Blackcomb, said that the B.C. resort could expand its ski terrain by about 25 percent. Vail said it plans to “invest substantially” in the infrastructure of its latest addition, and continue to expand the resort’s four-season activities.
Brownlie said, “As the number one ranked and most visited resort in North America, Whistler Blackcomb has enjoyed tremendous success by delivering an exceptional mountain experience for our passionate and loyal guests — both locally and from around the world. That’s going to continue as we work with our new colleagues at Vail Resorts as well as our employees, local businesses, community and government stakeholders to make Whistler Blackcomb better than ever.”
Vail plans to keep local leadership at Whistler Blackcomb, and retain most of the staff. Brownlie will continue as the CEO, and will become a senior leadership team member for the Vail Resorts’ mountain division.
Vail Resorts will continue ongoing negotiations that are being held with First Nations groups regarding master development plans.
The Epic ski pass, which presently covers 11 ski areas worldwide, will be extended to Whistler Blackcomb.