Just came across an article on Outside Magazines website written by Derek Taylor that talks about Vail's recent takeover of PCMR.
In the article Taylor talks about the positives of having a company such as Vail in an industry that has struggled in recent years. He states, "Not only is Vail a ski company, it is a successful ski company. The eleven areas the company runs survive. They attract people. They create skiers. At a time when the buzz in the long-struggling ski industry is about increasing the size of the pie rather than fighting over the pieces, Vail is actually doing that."
He goes on to talk about the Epic Pass and how it provides people who would not normally purchase a season pass the option to get a season pass. In turn he says that this encourages new groups of people to use their one or two weeks of vacation a year to go see and ski at different mountains.
Quotes from the article for those who don't want to read it:
"Great, you say, but you'd prefer not to ski just at Vail's resorts. That's fine, but you still owe a debt to Vail. The Epic Pass has also ushered in a completely new era of affordable, multiresort passes. It's now just one of more than a dozen different pass options being offered by various alliances of resorts across the country."
"Later that year, Vail bought two more resorts, Afton Alps near Minneapolis and Mt. Brighton outside Detroit ... small areas like Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps have for generations been the gateway drug that hooks people on skiing. Over the past three decades, many have struggled to survive. Vail has invested $10 million each in these little hills."
"... Vail isn't pumping up these two ski areas as an act of philanthropy. It's doing it to create a pipeline from the Midwest to its nine destination resorts. It's doing it to pad its own bottom line."
He makes some other good points in the article as well and its worth a read. I personally don't have an issue with Vail I work at Northstar and see it as a great company to work for.
I know there was alot of uproar over the PCMR takeover and I was wondering if this article has changed anyones stance. Do you see Vail as a driving force in the ski resort community? Are the changes mentioned by Taylor really helping other resorts out or is Vail just feasting off of a drained industry?