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THE BATTLE OF OZ - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Thursday June 28, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The US ski company Alterra has added Thredbo in Oz to its Ikon Pass. Vail Resorts already owns nearby Perisher. The battle for Australian skiers begins. NEW

The battle for supremacy between the Epic Pass of Vail Resorts and Alterra's Ikon Pass now extends to Australia.

Thredbo, the Australian ski area in New South Wales becomes the latest addition to the Alterra Ikon pass.

"We're excited to announce that we have joined the Ikon Pass. Ikon Pass is the new standard in season passes and connects the most iconic mountains across North America, and now Australia, on one pass...Ride Thredbo this season, and then enjoy access to 26 iconic global destinations," said a statement from Thredbo.

Its rival, Perisher, is in the neighbouring ski area to Thredbo in NSW and is part of Vail Resorts - the extensive group of ski resorts that is part of the Epic Pass.

It bought the Oz resort back in 2015.

The distance between the two ski areas is 58.8 km, less than an hour's drive:

Thredbo & Perisher - approx 58.8km apartThredbo & Perisher - approx 58.8km apart

The two US companies are squared up to each other in North America and now the battle has gone Down Under.

So, why are the two battling it out in Australia?

In part for the revenue generated in Australia but of far more importance is each side wants to encourage Australians to visit their resorts in North America - where the real money is to be had.

If you had an Ikon Pass for Thredbo you would likely head to a resort with a reciprocal lift ticket if you decided to ski in the USA or Canada.

And if you had the Epic Pass for Perisher you would likely visit a North America resort owned by Vail Resorts.

Thredbo joins a group of North America resorts in the Ikon Pass  –  Aspen, Winter Park, Steamboat, Squaw Valley, Mammoth, Copper, Big Sky, Killington, Deer Valley, Jackson Hole, Alta, Snowbird, SkiBig3, Revelstoke, Sugarbush Resort, Tremblant and others.

The list from Vail Resorts with the Epic Pass includes - Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and Crested Butte (Colorado); Park City (Utah); Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood (California); Stowe (Vermont), Hakuba Valley (Japan) and  Whistler (Canada).

See here for an earlier PlanetSKI story as the two sides revealled their rival passes:

Meanwhile back in North America itself the battle between two giant US companies to dominate the North America snowsports industry continues. 

Alterra prepared to buy another resort this month (June) and Vail Resorts says it is looking at further acquisitions including overseas.

The two heavyweights are continuing to slug it out.


The newly formed US ski resort company, Alterra Mountain Company, has announced it is set to purchase Solitude Ski Resort in Utah.

It already owns Deer Valley in the state.

"With its close relationship with Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort is a natural fit for Alterra Mountain Co., and a tremendous addition to our family of destinations," said the CEO of Alterra, Rusty Gregory.

"We are especially excited to expand our reach within Utah and offer another ski and snowboard experience in a state known for its exceptional snow and mountain culture."

Alterra owns 13 resorts and has a lift pass arrangement with 26 resorts for its IKON pass.  

Now 27 including Thredbo in Australia.

Solitude, UtahSolitude, Utah


The CEO of  Vail Resorts, Rob Katz,  has responded to the latest aquisition of Alterra.

He made his comments in a recent conference call with a Bank of America analyst, Shaun Kelley.

He was asked if Vail Resorts is looking at more acquisitions.

"I think we absolutely believe there are still select opportunities in North America.

I think the benefit for us right now is that the ability for us to add something that is unique, that is very targeted, can be quite powerful to the overall network, even if the cost of the acquisition is not necessarily huge compared to the size of our company at this point."

And what about overseas?

"There are opportunities, though, as we've talked about, outside of North America that I think we can start to have some of the same impacts that we've seen in North America.

I feel like there is an opportunity for resorts in our industry to really have a lot of different choices.

Certainly, there are benefits to be stand-alone.

There are benefits to being stand-alone and aligning maybe with a pass product, and I think there are also benefits in becoming part of a company like us."  

Here at PlanetSKI we will be watching the battle between the two, both in North America and across the world, closely...

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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