Could Vail Resorts buy Whistler?

What if an Epic Pass got you access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and Whistler? A Vail Daily report suggests Vail Resorts acquiring Whistler -- it's largest competitor -- isn't as far fetched as it might sound.

Intrawest Holdings, which owns Whistler, is set for auction in February, and Vail Resorts might just be an interested buyer, according to the Vail Daily report.

With Intrawest Holdings set for auction in February, some ski industry analysts see reasons to suspect that Vail Resorts might have interest in the sale.

Intrawest's Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, with a combined 8,000-plus skiable acres between the two mountains, lays claim as the largest ski area in North America, while Vail comes in as the second largest ski area, with 5,289 skiable acres. That alone could mean Vail Resorts' executives have their sights set on buying Intrawest Holdings, which has defaulted on a $524 million payment on its $1.4 billion loan -- that is if Vail Resorts has the kind of money for such a deal.

"(Intrawest) is a very depressed company, struggling a great deal -- the group with the money can have the greatest opportunity," said Jerry Jones, a ski industry consultant and developer.

Vail Resorts' spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga said the company has no comment on the subject of February's Intrawest auction.

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Chris Outcalt
Contact: Chris Outcalt