More than a quarter of all ski visits are to resorts owned by four
megaresort companies that have formed in recent years.
Some people regard this with misgivings. For instance, Craig
Cook, president of Travel Organizers, a wholesaler-retailer based
in Englewood, Colo., foresees resorts behaving much like the
airlines: Investing heavily in the product but charging higher
But agents should view this development as good news, says Bruce
Rosard, president of Moguls Ski and Snowboard Tours, an operator in
Boulder, Colo. "Consolidation gives resorts more marketing clout to
compete with other leisure products. They're buying real estate, so
they don't have to make money by raising lift ticket prices. They
can do better with hotel rooms and restaurants."
A spokeswoman for one of the megacompanies agrees. "We are
expanding beyond owning ski areas," says Kathleen Willis of
American Skiing Co. "For instance, we now have five of our own
Grand Summit Resort hotels at various areas. These are luxury
hotels with restaurants, lodging and conference facilities."
Willis says consolidation has been around for years -- "usually
'mom and pops' owning two or three areas." The more recent
consolidations, she says, can mean "an extremely large amount of
cost saving across different regions. It also gives us the
opportunity to create new products -- like multimountain passes and
A positive effect of consolidation, and one agents should be
aware of, says Willis, is that the megacompanies are seeking the
kind of consistency that was never a force in skiing -- quality of
snow, efficient lift services, good guest service -- all within the
context of resort individuality.
Willis says agents and consumers should be aware of the brand
names of the big ski companies so they know what to expect when
they visit a new resort.