“We plan to offer our Chicago and Milwaukee guests new season pass offerings that will provide the chance to experience the best skiing and snowboarding locally and in the West and we will use our best-in-class technology to create more sophisticated channels of communication with everyone who skis at Wilmot,” said Vail Resorts chief Rob Katz in a statement.
This is not really a surprise with Vail having purchased the Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton to get coverage in the Minneapolis—St. Paul and the Detroit markets respectively. Vail concluded that deal back in 2012 and that was a surprise, but it did not take long for people to figure out the game.
Vail Resorts Buys Wilmot Mountain — The Game
The game is to purchase small ski resorts in major markets and use them to funnel more customers to Vail’s portfolio of destination resorts. Wilmot is perfect for this as it is located about half-way between the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan markets. This move indicates the tactic is working for Vail Resorts and is likely to be repeated. The question is where and when the next move will occur?
This is not Vail’s only presence in Wisconsin. I know of at least one gear shop they own and it is a shop where I spend much time (and dollars) at. During the summer I ride with a group out of the Outdoor Outlet and during the winter I look for skiing gear and say hi to my friends there.
Vail Resorts Buys Wilmot Mountain — The Competion
There is one possibly two resorts that will feel pain from this move. The first is bound to be Devil’s Head. Devil’s Head draws so much traffic from the Chicago land area the staff are all Bear fans! While Devil’s Head will need to watch and adapt I believe they will do fine, but not without some pain. I suspect some of the other resorts around Traverse City in Michigan may feel it too, not so much for Boyne, which owns its own portfolio of destination resorts but Nub’s Knob will likely feel some pain in this move. However, they have been living with Mt. Brighton around Detroit for nearly four years. It will be fun to watch the season’s pass battles this coming spring.
Where will Vail’s next acquisition be? In Wisconsin? How about Ohio or Pennsylvania?