Vail Resorts Quits Colorado Ski Country

Denver, CO – Vail Resorts, operator of four popular Colorado ski and snowboard resorts, announced Wednesday that it will not renew its membership in Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA), the state’s ski marketing group, citing “philosophical differences” with other members over the future direction of the organization.

“For 45 years, Colorado Ski Country has been an integral part of the development of Colorado’s ski industry,” said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz. “However, we believe the change in Colorado resort ownership in the past several years, coupled with a rapidly changing economy and competitive marketplace, has necessitated a review of the right future for Colorado Ski Country.”

Katz indicated that his company, which operates Vail Mountain, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone Resort in Colorado, wanted CSCUSA to focus on public policy on behalf of the state’s ski industry and leave marketing efforts to the individual resorts and the Colorado Tourism Office. “We had hoped to be a catalyst for positive change, but unfortunately, a number of the other members did not agree with our vision and we were unable to resolve these differences,” Katz continued.

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“They let us know today that they will be withdrawing from the organization,” CSCUSA spokesperson Jennifer Rudolph confirmed on Wednesday. “It was obviously a business decision that they made, and we respect that.”

Rudolph, however, asserted that CSCUSA takes on a public policy role in addition to it marketing programs. “We’ve always been an advocate for the ski industry on Capitol Hill,” Rudolph said, citing the group’s efforts to implement transportation improvements along the I-70 corridor between the Denver metro area and the state’s ski resorts, and mandatory chain laws for semi-trailer trucks.

Vail Resorts’ four Colorado ski areas, some of the largest in the state, represent a significant portion of both Colorado’s skier visits and CSCUSA’s annual budget, reported to be approximately $3.5 million. CSCUSA’s operations are funded by corporate partners, pass product sales and dues from the member resorts, which are charged based on annual skier visits.

Rudolph indicated that CSCUSA will forge on, with or without Vail Resorts.

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“We will remain intact,” she said. “We’ll move forward and keep going on with our programs.”

Katz, likewise, avoided burning any bridges. “We intend to maintain a very cooperative and close working relationship with Colorado Ski Country, regardless of the status of our membership in the organization,” Katz said. “We also intend to continue our role as a leader in driving tourism to the State of Colorado. Our commitment to promoting Colorado as a top tourism destination worldwide has never been stronger.”

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