The Snow Gauge

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Is Charlotte Pass next in Vail’s sights?

Posted by on Jun 1, 2017 in Australia | 5 comments

Charlotte Pass

Charlotte Pass: Photo Charlotte Pass Facebook/Didj Mick Hopkins

It was a small gesture but an undeniably important one.

By Perisher opening Front Valley a week early, it’s the resort saying we’re on our toes and ready to move as the conditions dictate.

It’s another positive move by Perisher and comes amidst suggestions that Vail Resorts wants in at Charlotte Pass.

With the Vail buy out of Perisher in 2015, the Epic Pass system and suggestion of some serious developments to come, the once daggy cousin of Australian skiing and snowboarding is starting to re-invent itself.

“We’ve had a pretty long history of doing that,” Brulisauer told The Snow Gauge about the decision to  open ahead of schedule. “We did it in 2000 and 2012 and think that if our skiers and snowboarders want to ride and the conditions allow it we should.”

Advantage Perisher.

A willingness not to go by the playbook has been refreshing in an industry that otherwise hasn’t seen a huge amount of change here in the last two decades.

And if my source is correct, there could be another significant play yet to come: Vail Resorts snaring the Charlotte Pass lease.

Ok, it’s rumour at the moment, but my snout who is close to the situation said he wouldn’t be surprised if there was an imminent announcement. And it wasn’t as if he was unhappy about it, saying most people involved with Charlotte Pass would love to see “such a professional operator involved with the resort”.

The Charlotte Pass lease expires in October. You can read more about the background to that here.

While Brulisauer politely told The Snow Gauge “we’re not going into private discussions that are being held” our well placed source reckoned it was on like Donkey Kong. Others have said they couldn’t see the financial return for Vail, so I guess we’ll see.

Watch that one with interest and we’ll certainly update you as more concrete information comes to hand.

Getting much info out of Thredbo as to their future plans is equally fraught.

A few years ago there were stories like this suggesting a blueprint for a resort overhaul.

But things have been decidedly quiet since. Resort management feel a little burnt after previously offering up information on Thredbo’s future only for nothing to come to fruition.

While developments are at a stalemate on both sides of the mountain, it’s also advantage Perisher with the Epic Pass.

The Mountain Collective Pass retort is something but without at least a week’s offering at its many affiliated resorts it can’t really match the Epic I’m afraid.

Thredbo, as anyone who has been there knows, it is quite the charmer. It still has that village, runs cut amongst the trees and a style and look that Perisher may never be able to match. It’s still the best place to go when the snow is great.

Like an aging lover Thredbo may still point to its suaveness and, ahem, its length. But Perisher’s modern sell is this: it knows what to do with it better.

Over to you Thredders!

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5 Comments

  1. I think it’d be great if vail secured the future of CP and sunk a little money in. Better or at least more frequent transport in and out would surely be a priority. And some sort of cheaper tix or other incentive to get Perisher skiers to go to Charlottes at both peak and non peak times would be a plus too. Personally I think the place is ideal as an alternative to Perisher but only for a day or two. And would it be asking too much to build one of those kiwi style rope tows along the ridge line from the top of the chair to almost the top of my Stilwell? That would open up skiing on a third aspect of the mountain which admittedly faces the sun but still seems to hold it’s snow ok. Would also mean a proper 300m vert drop

  2. As a Thredbo veteran and lodge member, its current owners and CEO Jordan Rodgers are disappointing. No new lifts in years and the village is feeling very tired, with management I’ve spoken with quietly unhappy with this situation. With Perisher (and CP?) likely to benefit from upgrades, this should at least force Thredbo’s hand into spending up finally! #BringBackRamshead

  3. If VR get a hold of CP, I would wager that CP would be developed into an elite ski area for the well heeled! The ONLY snow bound resort in the country. Imagine the possibilities.

  4. so still no explanation of how Vail resorts will handle the extra crowds. Lots of different priced season passes with lift line priority for some maybe ?

  5. If Vail did secure CP that may open up scope for some sort of interconnected chairlifts that would open a whole lot of new runs and backcountry access.
    Bring it on

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