Vail Resorts races into the Epic 2018/2019 ski season with new alliances and resort investment

Hakuba Valley is the first resort in Japan to join the Epic Australia Pass.

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Colorado-based Vail Resorts knows how to make skiers and snowboarders rejoice. Its Epic Pass and Epic Australia Pass offer year-round riding at 24 of the best ski resorts across four countries, including the Southern Hemisphere’s largest resort, Perisher in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

The latest coup is a long-term alliance with Hakuba Valley on Japan’s main island of Honshu. The sprawling ski area in the Nagano Prefecture comprises nine resorts, which Epic Australia Pass-holders will be able to enjoy for five consecutive days with no blackout dates.

Hakuba was one of the main topics of conversation over an intimate media dinner at Saint Peter seafood restaurant in Paddington, Sydney on Wednesday night. Tina Sampson, VP of International Sales, May Lilley, Senior Manager of Australia Destination Marketing, Johnna Muscente, Senior Manager, International Communications, and Laura Kirby, Manager, International Marketing & Sales, shared the latest from Vail Resorts’ Colorado HQ, joined by NSW-based Richard Philips, Sales & Marketing Manager at Perisher.

Hakuba isn’t the only one joining Epic Australia Pass for the 2018-19 season; Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado, Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont and Mount Sunapee Resort in New Hampshire have also entered into a long-term alliance, giving pass-holders seven days of riding at each resort.

Vail Resorts has long prided itself on reinvesting in its partners. Two of the most exciting developments are taking place at Perisher and Whistler Blackcomb, a newcomer to the Vail stable last season. At the former, an AU$4.2 million investment will go towards snowmaking upgrades and the replacement of the Leichhardt T-bar and Home Rope Tow with a new quad chairlift, expected to increase lift capacity by 75% in the popular Leichhardt area.

At Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, an AU$67 million investment will include the addition of new 10-passenger gondola, resulting in the world’s first triple gondola connection.

Prior to the seafood feast (featuring shared plates of grouper and seaweed terrine, salt and pepperberry whitebait, octopus and kohlrabi, barbecue coral trout with a smorgasbord of salads and sides and a delightfully wobbly lemon tart and chocolate Swiss roll), game guests took on the alpine simulator at Off-Piste Ski & Snowboard in The Entertainment Quarter in an epic race to win a weekend at Perisher this winter.

Perisher lead image © Vail Resorts

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