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The U.S. Government tried to stop ski resort acquisitions 20 years ago but they seem to be the norm

Twenty years ago, the United States Government and the State of Colorado tried to stop Vail Resorts from acquiring Breckenridge, Keystone, and A-Basin. They had the foresight to know that these types of acquisitions would be detrimental to the average skier because they would decrease competition and raise lift ticket prices. The government's attempt was largely unsuccessful, and twenty years later there have been more ski resort acquisitions by mega-corporations than anyone could have predicted.

Last week Aspen/KSL Capital announced the acquisition of several major mountains including Stratton, Tremblant, Steamboat, Winter Park, Mammoth, and several others. The ski industry is quickly consolidating into the hands of a few mega-corporations, and the pace doesn't seem to be slowing down. As of today, between Vail and Aspen/KSL, 30 of North America's most popular mountains are owned by 2 companies.

The complaint filed by the government twenty years ago against Vail Resorts warned of this type of consolidation, saying "the effects of the proposed transaction... may be to lessen competition substantially and to tend to create a monopoly in interstate trade". This complaint was filed when Vail only owned 6 resorts. Now they own 14, and Aspen/KSL owns 16.

What does this extreme consolidation mean for competition in the ski industry? It's too early to tell, but it will likely cause even higher lift ticket prices in the coming years. The government tried to protect skiers from this twenty years ago but they couldn’t block the entire acquisition. No Boundaries certainly doesn't have the power of a mega-corporation or the US government, but we'll continue to do everything we can to fight the trend of consolidation, decreased competition and rising prices by offering the best ticket deals we can find.


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