Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) has taken a significant step in expanding its European footprint by announcing the acquisition of Crans-Montana Mountain Resort in Switzerland from CPI Property Group (“CPIPG”).
This acquisition marks Vail Resorts’ second ski resort in Europe and is set to open in early 2024. The resort, spanning over 1,400 meters of vertical terrain and 140 kilometers of trails, is located in the Valais canton of Switzerland, easily accessible from major cities such as Geneva, Milan, and Zurich.
Crans-Montana is renowned as one of Europe’s premier ski destinations, known for its breathtaking views of iconic peaks like the Matterhorn and Mont Blanc. The resort has a rich heritage as an outdoor sports hub, hosting prestigious events like the Ski World Cup and Mountain Bike World Cup. The region is also home to gourmet restaurants, luxury retail stores, and five-star hotels, including the recently developed Six Senses Lodge and Spa.
Kirsten Lynch, CEO of Vail Resorts, emphasized that the acquisition aligns with the company’s growth strategy in Europe, enhancing value for Pass Holders globally. The addition of Crans-Montana to Vail Resorts’ portfolio is expected to drive growth and offer unique experiences to guests.
Vail Resorts is acquiring significant ownership stakes in key operational elements of the resort, including 84% in Remontées Mécaniques Crans Montana Aminona (CMA) SA and 80% in SportLife AG. Additionally, the company will own 100% of 11 restaurants on and around the mountain. These acquisitions are part of Vail Resorts’ plan to broaden its appeal to international guests seeking a high-end resort experience in the Swiss Alps.
Crans-Montana will be included in select Epic Pass products for the 2024-25 ski season, providing skiers and riders access to an array of resorts at incredible value. However, it will not be part of the Epic Pass for the remaining part of the 2023-24 season post-deal closure. The Epic Pass currently offers access to various European resorts, including five days at Verbier4Vallées in Switzerland and seven days each at Les 3 Vallées in France and Skirama Dolomiti in Italy.
David Greenbaum, CEO of CPIPG, expressed confidence in Vail Resorts’ capability to enhance the growth and success of Crans-Montana. The Association of the Municipality of Crans-Montana echoed this sentiment, anticipating a positive impact on the region’s economy and the organization of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in 2027.
Vail Resorts plans to invest approximately CHF 30 million over the next five years in Crans-Montana, focusing on gastronomy efficiencies and snowmaking capabilities. The resort is expected to generate over CHF 15 million of annual EBITDA following these investments.
The transaction, subject to certain third-party consents, is anticipated to close during the 2023-24 ski season. Vail Resorts is committed to retaining the majority of the resort’s employees, operational infrastructure, and local expertise, while integrating its business strategies to enhance guest experiences.