Deer Valley Joins the Battle for Ski World Domination

24th of August 2017


Utah is at the centre of the season pass war right now, and Deer Valley has just been tagged in. Image::Provided

Mountainwatch | Kate Allman

The battle for global ski resort domination against Epic Resorts ramped up again this week, as an affiliate of Aspen Skiing Co. announced its acquisition of Deer Valley resort in Utah.

The exclusive skiers-only resort dropped the bomb on Tuesday (Monday in the US), releasing a media statement announcing that a new company formed from owners of Mammoth Resorts, Squaw Valley, Intrawest Resorts and Aspen Skiing Co. had bought it out for an undisclosed sum.


Deer Valley sits alongside Alta in Utah as the two resorts that prohibit the use of Snowboards on their hill. Image:: Provided

“We thought the eclipse was the biggest news of the day until we learned that Deer Valley had sold,” Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort General Manager Dave Fields told The Salt Lake Tribune , reflecting the surprise within Utah’s $1.1 billion ski industry.
The company, which is so young it doesn’t have a name yet, is controlled by KSL and Henry Crown and already owns a number of resorts across the US including powder mecca Steamboat and the four-resort colossus of Aspen Snowmass. Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley and Mont Treblant also come under the company’s umbrella, stretching its reach over 13 popular US ski areas from Quebec to Colorado.

The acquisition is exciting news for holders of the Mountain Collective Pass, which offers reciprocal rights to skiers at all of these ski areas as well as Thredbo in Australia. At the time of writing, holders of the Mountain Collective receive two free days’ skiing and 50 per cent off additional days at 16 Collective destinations including Thredbo, Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Banff, Lake Louise, Mammoth Mountain, Revelstoke, Snowbird and Telluride.


Thredbo pass holders are cheering. Image:: Provided

Deer Valley, which has been voted “Best US Ski Resort” at the World Ski Awards for the past three years in a row, would be an illustrious addition to the pass that is selling in Australia at an early discounted rate of $469 for the 2017-2018 season.

The move appears to be a serious play against Epic conglomerate Vail Resorts, and could potentially offer Thredbo skiers more reasons to choose the Mountain Collective over Perisher’s Epic Pass. The Epic Pass is currently on sale for $779, and offers season-round skiing at Perisher in Australia as well as access to legendary US ski areas like Breckenridge, Park City, Heavenly, Lake Tahoe, Whistler Blackcomb, Beaver Creek and Vail.


The orange bubble lift on the Canyons ski area of Park City. Image:: istock

“It’s logical that we (Deer Valley and the Mountain Collective) will collaborate, but it’s way too soon to say exactly what lift-ticket or pass products will come out of the new venture,” said David Perry, the president and chief operating officer of the new joint venture, in an interview with Aspen Daily News. The Aspen Daily article speculates that an “all-encompassing pass will eventually be offered that can compete with the 15-resort Epic Pass offered by Vail Resorts”.


Park City’s township is amidst the blitzkrieg between resorts. Image:: Provided

Deer Valley is 45 minutes’ drive from Salt Lake City international airport and literally a stone’s throw away from Epic resort Park City. Park City and its neighbouring resort Canyons were bought by Vail Resorts in 2014 in a $182 million purchase that placed one of the largest ski areas in North America under Vail Resorts’ control. Both Deer Valley and Park City meet at their bases at historic Utah mining town Park City, which is a popular tourist spot that attracts throngs of celebrities to the Sundance Film Festival every January.


While Resorts may be war-ing it out, the Skiers on Deer Valley’s frontline are having a great time. Image:: Provided

“There will be no two bigger lift-ticket brands in the country and we’re going to have both,” said Park City Chamber Bureau President Bill Malone to The Salt Lake Tribune. “It’s on par with New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago having both American and National League baseball teams. That’s a pretty compelling place to be.”

Mountainwatch will continue to bring updates on Deer Valley and the Mountain Collective as they come. Stay tuned.

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