Future just got brighter for Whistler Blackcomb with purchase by Vail. (Whistler Blackcomb)
Holders of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass will have to wait a season before adding another 8,000 acres to their winter portfolio, after Vail Resorts announced the purchase of Whistler Blackcomb for more than $1 billion.
Vail Resorts said it expects to close the deal this fall but not in time to include Whistler Blackcomb in its multi-resort season pass program this season. The non-Vail Mountain Collective passes will be honored at Whistler for the 2016-2017 season, but no plans have been made for future years.
Whistler-Blackcomb season pass holders will go on as before, but no reciprocal arrangements between the Canadian resort and Vail Resorts have been made at this time.
“Nothing (on reciprocal tickets) at this time,” Vail’s Kelly Ladyga told SnoCountry.com. “It will take several months to close this transaction as there’s a comprehensive regulatory review process it has to go through.”
The sale of North America’s largest ski and snowboard resort brings the Colorado-based company’s winter resort holdings to 13 – a dozen in North America and one in Australia – and will put the British Columbia into Vail Resorts season pass mix for the 2017-2018 season.
Vail officials said the purchase will benefit the much-touted Renaissance Project, a $345 million effort to bring four seasons of recreation to Whistler-Blackcomb Resort -- pushing that project, which was unveiled in April, toward fruition faster than before.
As one of the largest resorts in the world, Whistler Blackcomb regularly welcomes two million visitors a year. The 200-plus trail system spreads across two peaks – Blackcomb and Whistler – and over 5,000 vertical feet. It is served by 37 lifts including a peak-to-peak gondola that is the world’s longest unsupported cable span in the world.
The resort opened Whistler Mountain portion in 1966 as part of Vancouver’s unsuccessful bid for the 1968 Winter Olympics. Blackcomb Mountain came on in 1980. In 2010, the resort hosted alpine events for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.