March 31, 2015 will go down as the day Australian skiing went global.
Not us going o/s, that’s been going on forever (90% of our readers do just that), but the world getting involved with Vail Resorts plopping down a serious $USD 136 million to take over our largest resort, Perisher.
Since Vail Resorts is already the #1 ski resort company on the planet, who’s revolutionary Epic Pass has indeed revolutionised ski ticket sales in North America, and swung the pendulum seriously back in favour of the consumer, it’s awesome news. Made all the awesomer by Perisher immediately re-releasing their Freedom Pass Season Pass as an Epic Season Pass, with most of the American VR resorts like the mega new Canyons–Park City, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly etc also included. As a quick calculation you could be skiing from June 6 at Perisher to mid-October, then again at Arapahoe Basin from November to perhaps June – quite possibly skiing in 12 months of the year on one pass! (you read that here first). And the price is just $50 more than the lowest October last year Freedom Pass pricing at $749. That’s (like all prices in this issue except as noted) $AUD, making it the awesomest value ever now our dollar has dropped. It’s on sale at that rate till May 31. We’ll have the full story on Canyons-Park City and a lot more in Travel Bible IV out July 2nd.
A lot of waffle has already been written about what the VR takeover of Perisher means (hey, the modern Aussie whinger can invent a reason to dislike anything), but apart from the best ski pass deal I can remember in Australia, and obviously more real competition to flow from that as others respond, what’s not to love?
An interesting fact is that Perisher is now run by an actual 100% ski resort company. These guys know what they are doing. Not that Perisher’s management didn’t of course, but in the overall scheme of the company they were part of Perisher was a drop in the bucket; now they have real ski company owners, so watch this space, these guys don’t talk, they do. – Owain Price