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Exclusive: business as usual for Perisher hotels

Pete Brulisauer NEW - EDITED

Perisher’s CEO, Peter Brulisauer, says it is business as usual for the alpine resort following this week’s sale for AUD$176.6 million to American company Vail Resorts.

“The staff are very excited to be working for Vail Resorts and this is a big vote of confidence in Perisher,” Brulisauer told HM.

Vail Resorts is purchasing 100 percent of the stock in the entities that operate Perisher from Murray Publishers Pty Ltd and Transfield Corporate Pty Ltd in Sydney.

Perisher, Australia’s largest ski resort, holds a long-term lease and licence with the New South Wales Government under the National Parks and Wildlife Act, which expires in 2048 with a 20-year renewal option.

The acquisition includes the resort areas known as Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega, along with ski school, lodging, food and beverage, retail/rental and transportation operations, which together comprise Perisher.

Perisher Front Valley - EDITED

Brulisauer told HM the sale included the purchase of the Perisher Valley Hotel and The Station at Jindabyne and at this stage there were no plans by Vail Resorts to increase the amount of accommodation on offer at Perisher.

Vail Resorts is a leading accommodation operator in the United States and in a recent interview with HM, Vail Resorts’ Chairman and CEO, Rob Katz, said a “major priority” was increasing its hotel portfolio at the same time as it continued to buy ski fields across America.

Katz also oversees the Vail Resorts Development Company – the luxury resort developer; RockResorts; National Parks contracts such as Wyoming-based Grand Teton Lodge Company; Legendary Lodging property management which manages thousands of hotel and condominiums in the U.S. and Caribbean; Iconic Weddings, offering wedding services in their destinations; Colorado Mountain Express, a ground transportation company; numerous golf courses, a marina and more.

Australia is a top three market for Vail Resorts and the addition of Perisher is seen as a strategic move to not just move into the lucrative Australian ski market, but also tap into Perisher’s regular skiiers and encourage them to hit the slopes at Vail’s United States resorts.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2015 following the satisfaction of certain conditions, including approval by the New South Wales Government under the long-term lease and licence noted below.

Perisher - EDITED

“The acquisition of our first international mountain resort is a significant milestone for our Company. We’re thrilled to welcome the guests and employees of Perisher, Australia’s largest and most iconic resort, into the Vail Resorts family and deepen ties with one of our most important international markets,” said Katz.

“This acquisition is part of Vail Resorts’ continued strategy to drive season pass sales and build loyalty with guests from around the world.

“Australia is one of the most important international markets for ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere, generating an estimated over 1 million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe.

“We see this as a ground-breaking acquisition that will dramatically enhance the connection between our Company and Australian skiers and riders. We also see the acquisition as a natural fit, as Perisher is the Australian leader in innovation and guest experience – both hallmarks of Vail Resorts,” he said.

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