Vail to buy Australia’s biggest ski resort

A rider at Perisher in Australia. Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts.

A rider at Perisher in Australia. Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts.

Acquisition-hungry Vail Resorts is going down under.

Vail Resorts is buying Australia’s Perisher ski resort for $136 million, the Broomfield-based ski giant announced Monday. The deal is scheduled to close by the end of July, and Vail will pay for it with cash and a revolving credit line.

The acquisition comes as part of Vail Resorts’ strategy to drive season pass sales, CEO Rob Katz said in a press release. Katz said Australians make 1 million annual ski visits to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe.

Vail Resorts also announced that Perisher season pass holders will get access similar to Epic Local Pass holders, including unlimited days at Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin and 10 days of skiing between Vail and Beaver Creek.

Perisher will also be included on Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass. Australia’s ski season is June through October.

“Australia is one of the most important international markets for ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere,” Katz said in the press release. “We see this as a ground-breaking acquisition that will dramatically enhance the connection between our company and Australian skiers and riders.”

Perisher is the most visited ski resort in Australia, according to the Vail Resorts press release, and the largest resort in the Southern Hemisphere. The acquisition includes the resort’s terrain along with its ski school, lodging, food and beverage, retail, rental and transportation operations.

Perisher operates under a long-term lease with the New South Wales government that runs through 2048 and includes a 20-year renewal option.

Perisher is the second nine-figure acquisition for Vail Resorts in the past year. Vail bought Park City last September for $183 million and has another $50 million worth of upgrades slated for the Utah resort.

Vail Resort’s U.S. holdings include Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge in Colorado, plus resorts in California, Michigan, Minnesota and Utah.

The summit on Mount Perisher is 6,738 feet.

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