What do you do when you already own the biggest, most popular ski resorts on the continent? Buy more ski resorts, of course.

In the early 1960s, Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton founded what would ultimately become Vail Resorts with one goal in mind: creating the next great ski mountain. Six decades later, there are many great ski mountains—but it’s starting to feel like Vail owns all of them.

Through a series of acquisitions and leasing agreements over the past couple of decades, Vail Resorts has grown from the owner of four of the state’s most popular mountains (Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Beaver Creek) to a corporate behemoth with 42 properties across North America and Australia, and partnership agreements in Europe and Japan.

Since the mid-1990s, and particularly in the past 15 years, Vail Resorts has acquired so many mountains—including Whistler, Park City, and Crested Butte, just to name a few—that some have even joked the Broomfield-based company might as well buy the rights to all North American snowfall, securing their grip on the ski industry and bringing them one step closer to total world domination. 

In 2019, Vail made its biggest splash by acquiring Peak Resorts, owner of 17 properties in the Midwest and Northeast—including Mt. Snow in Vermont and Attitash in New Hampshire—giving Epic Pass holders access to nearly 80 resorts. The conglomerate’s march to total ski industry domination slowed a bit since the pandemic, but it extended its reach into Europe and bought up another multi-resort giant in the States. Because it can be hard to keep track of every one of the juggernaut’s acquisitions, we created this complete timeline to understand how Vail became the most ubiquitous brand in ski resort management.

January 3, 1997
After its parent company, Gillett Holdings, went bankrupt six years earlier, private-equity firm Apollo Global acquires Vail in 1992. Five years later, in an effort to begin building its empire and much to the chagrin of skiing purists in the Centennial State, the newly publicly traded Vail Resorts acquires Breckenridge and Keystone from Ralston Purina (yes, the pet food company). The $310 million deal briefly includes Arapahoe Basin, but the U.S. Justice Department argues it violates antitrust laws because Vail, whose properties accounted for 12 percent of all skier days in Colorado, would triple that number with the addition of all three resorts. The DOJ orders A-Basin be sold to a third party at the beginning of the year and was independent from that point until just this February, when it announced a forthcoming partnership with Alterra Mountain Company.

March 26, 2002
The Ottoman—er, Vail Resorts—Empire expands once again, this time outside of Colorado. Heavenly Resort in Lake Tahoe, where musician Sonny Bono died after hitting a tree in 1998, comes under the Vail Resorts umbrella for a cool $102 million.

March 19, 2008
Now with five major resorts under its belt, Vail throws a knuckleball into the ski industry with the introduction of its “Epic Pass.” At $569 at the time, the annual pass gives holders an unlimited number of days at its quintet of ski areas. Industry leaders call them foolish; instead, they revolutionize the North American ski market.

Similar to many of its peers, Vail is hit hard by the fallout of the 2008 economic recession, with plummeting occupancy rates and decreased customer spending dragging its stock price down 45 percent. As it digs out of the financial hole, Vail continues expanding across Lake Tahoe, where it buys resorts on the northwest (Northstar) and southern (Kirkwood) ends of the lake to go along with Heavenly on the east side.

A section of the Northern Hemisphere is never enough, so Vail Resorts completes several new expansions:

Park City, Utah: Vail sends a tremor through the industry when it purchases Park City Mountain Resort for an estimated $182.5 million from Powdr Corp on September 11, 2014. It quickly merges Park City with Canyons Resort, acquired on a 50-year lease 16 months earlier, creating the largest ski resort in the U.S.

Perisher, Australia: Six months later, Vail acquires the largest mountain resort in Australia for $135 million. By late 2016, Vail Resorts’ stock price hits $162 per share, nearly 250 percent above its pre-recession price 10 years earlier. The global takeover—probably including one of those cool, holographic maps of the Earth sitting in CEO Rob Katz’ office—has commenced.

Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia: If Park City and Perisher were foreshocks, Vail’s purchase of the most-trafficked ski area in North America for $1.1 billion on August 8, 2016, might have broken the Richter scale. The purchase price is one of the largest ever for a mountain resort.

Money talks. With record-setting revenues despite an industry-wide downturn in visitors, Vail blitzes the Northeast and Northwest, snatching up Vermont’s Okemo and Stowe Mountain Resorts and Washington’s Stevens Pass, and completes an agreement to operate New Hampshire’s Mount Sunapee in a deal with Triple Peaks. Back home, one of the few local holdouts, Crested Butte, also a Triple Peaks property, is sold to Vail Resorts as part of the package.  The move comes as a shock to many skiers, particular Crested Butte locals who in previous decades prided themselves on not being Vail.

February 22, 2019
With Perisher already in its arsenal, Vail acquires Australian resorts Falls Creek and Hotham for a reported $124 million.

July 22, 2019
Exactly five months later, Vail sweeps across the Midwest and Northeast again with its acquisition of Peak Resorts, owner of ski areas in Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Hampshire. The purchase gives Epic Pass holders access to 37 ski areas in North America and Australia, as well as 11 resorts in Japan and 19 in Europe.

December 8, 2021
Vail announces that its purchase of Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania, which also includes Hidden Valley Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Area, for a reported $125 million.

August 4, 2022
Not content with owning resorts on two measly continents, Vail announces its first purchase in Europe: a 55 percent stake in the Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG resort in Switzerland for roughly $160 million. The commodification of the European ski resort market commences.

November 30, 2023
Vail announces its purchase of the posh Crans-Montana Mountain Resort in Switzerland from CPI Property Group for a reported $136 million. Crans-Montana is known for its gourmet restaurants; it also hosts the Ski World Cup, Omega European Masters, and Mountain Bike World Cup, among other global events.

Everything Vail Resorts Owns and Operates:

  1. Vail Mountain, Colorado: 1962
  2. Beaver Creek Resort, Colorado: 1980
  3. Breckenridge Ski Resort, Colorado: 1997
  4. Keystone Resort, Colorado: 1997
  5. Heavenly Mountain Resort, California: 2002
  6. Northstar California Resort, California: 2010
  7. Kirkwood Mountain Resort, California: 2012
  8. Afton Alps, Minnesota: 2012
  9. Mt. Brighton, Michigan : 2012
  10. Canyons Resort, Utah: 2013**
  11. Park City Mountain Resort, Utah: 2014
  12. Perisher Ski Resort, Australia: 2015
  13. Wilmot Mountain Ski Resort, Wisconsin: 2016
  14. Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada: 2016
  15. Stowe Mountain Resort, Vermont: 2017
  16. Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colorado: 2018
  17. Mount Sunapee Resort, New Hampshire: 2018***
  18. Okemo Mountain Resort, Vermont: 2018
  19. Stevens Pass, Washington: 2018
  20. Falls Creek, Australia: 2019
  21. Hotham Alpine Resort, Australia: 2019
  22. Paoli Peaks, Indiana: 2019
  23. Hidden Valley Ski Resort, Missouri: 2019
  24. Snow Creek Ski Area, Missouri: 2019
  25. Attitash Mountain Ski Area, New Hampshire: 2019
  26. Crotched Mountain Resort, New Hampshire: 2019
  27. Wildcat Mountain Ski Area, New Hampshire: 2019
  28. Hunter Mountain, New York: 2019
  29. Boston Mills Ski Resort, Ohio: 2019
  30. Brandywine Ski Resort, Ohio: 2019
  31. Mad River Mountain, Ohio: 2019
  32. Alpine Valley Resort, Ohio: 2019
  33. Jack Frost Ski Resort, Pennsylvania: 2019
  34. Big Boulder Ski Resort, Pennsylvania: 2019
  35. Roundtop Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania: 2019
  36. Whitetail Resort, Pennsylvania: 2019
  37. Liberty Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania: 2019
  38. Mount Snow Resort, Vermont: 2019
  39. Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Pennsylvania: 2021
  40. Hidden Valley Resort, Pennsylvania: 2021
  41. Laurel Mountain Ski Area, Pennsylvania: 2021
  42. Andermatt-Sedrun, Switzerland: 2022
  43. Crans-Montana Mountain Resort, Switzerland: 2023

**Vail Resorts leased this property and merged it with Park City Mountain Resort.
***The State of New Hampshire owns this property, but Vail operates it.