Ski operator Vail Resorts is a great fair-weather investment
US firm Vail Resorts operates many of the most popular ski resorts in North America. Its classic US ski destinations include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone - all of which played host to more than 1m skiers last year. In Canada, Vail's Whistler Blackcomb resort attracted 2.6m visitors, including many from overseas. The value in the portfolio and the group’s innovative marketing technique enabled the firm to generate 20% of its revenue before the ski season even started last year. Could this leisure business be the ideal way to gain exposure to an affluent, free-spending cross section of the US leisure market?
The ultimate ski pass?
In total, Vail Resorts' (US: MTN) portfolio includes 10 mountain ski resorts, three urban ski areas and a number of luxury resort hotels and apartment complexes. Back in 2008, the company stole a march on its rivals with the introduction of the annual Epic Pass which provides unrestricted skiing across the firm's network of resorts and was the first of its kind. Although it now faces growing competition from rivals such as Alterra's Ikon Pass, the Epic…
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