LUDLOW, Vt. – Vail Resorts Inc. announced that the company plans to invest approximately $175 million to $180 million in the guest experience in time for the 2019-20 winter ski and snowboard season across its network of 18 resorts. This latest investment is in addition to approximately $150 million invested for this season, bringing the company’s industry-leading resort investment total to more than $1.2 billion over the last decade.
The company announced significant investments that showcase its commitment to getting skiers and snowboarders on the mountain earlier in the season and faster. Other significant investments include exciting upgrades to lifts, dining, ski school, and skier services.
“Vail Resorts has been the leader in resort investment year after year and this year is no exception,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “We are continuing to raise the bar for skiers and riders with meaningful, impactful improvements that will help to provide consistent, reliable and seamless experiences all season long.”
Projects expected for the 2019-20 winter season, subject to government approval, include improvements to direct-to-lift access across Vail Resorts’ 17 North American mountain resorts.
Vail Resorts plans to increase express lift ticket fulfillment capacity by 40 percent through new handheld, mobile technology at its 17 North American resorts to allow skiers and snowboarders who purchased tickets in advance to bypass the ticket window altogether, and obtain their RF-enabled lift ticket from roving ticket agents at base area lifts. Guests will then be able to move directly into the primary lift line to begin their day on the mountain.
“Reducing guest wait times is a top priority across Vail Resorts,” said Katz. “Direct-to-lift technology enhancements for advance purchase lift tickets is one of the more significant transformational investments we can make to improve the guest experience.”
Also new for 2019-20, season pass holders or their guests can purchase Ski With a Friend or Buddy benefit tickets online and take advantage of express fulfillment with the company’s new mobile capabilities at base area lifts.
As part of Vail Resorts’ two-year, $35 million commitment to investments across Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont, Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire, Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado, and Stevens Pass in Washington state, the company plans to execute the first phase of investments at Stevens Pass and Okemo, subject to government approvals.
Vail Resorts also plans to upgrade Okemo’s two on-mountain restaurants, Sugar House and Summit Lodge, to offer new concepts and menus, as well as an updated look and feel to interior finishes and furnishings.
The company will also invest over the coming year in planning and approvals for upgrades at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Okemo Mountain Resort, Mount Sunapee, and Stevens Pass based on opportunities recognized this season to improve guest experiences.
In addition to these exciting investments, Vail Resorts will continue to invest in upgrades to its ticketing and fulfillment systems to even further streamline the guest experience in accessing the slopes. Vail Resorts also continues to invest in planning efforts to explore other future on-mountain and base area improvements across the company’s network of resorts, including terrain expansions such as the newly approved McCoy Park area in Beaver Creek, which it hopes to open for the 2020-21 winter season; upgrades to a number of chairlifts; and restaurant renovations. Some of these improvements will be subject to government or regulatory approval.
The recent announcements follows $52 million in investments debuting this season at Whistler Blackcomb, including the world’s first three-gondola inter-connect; and $50 million in recent lift infrastructure and on-mountain dining improvements at Park City Mountain in Utah.