Carnes: Vail Resorts destroys drug kingpins |

Carnes: Vail Resorts destroys drug kingpins

OK, so my headline, in addition to sounding like something out of The Onion, perhaps takes hyperbole into the stratosphere, but the point still remains that Vail Resorts just made yet another massive move to protect its dominance over the wide, wide world of skiing.

And Vail Resorts did it by purchasing 17 ski areas formerly controlled by the (allegedly) ultra-evil Sackler Family, currently the most hated family in the nation since the Mansons for (allegedly) fueling the nation’s opioid crisis with deceptive and aggressive advertising for their addictive painkiller OxyContin.

Truth be told, though, the (again, alleged) evil ones barely owned the resorts for a year, so that’s not really the strategy behind Vail Resorts’ latest acquisitions. 

The brilliance behind the move to purchase all of Peak Resorts was actually to increase Vail Resorts’ lead over the only other true competitor remaining; Alterra and its highly competitive Ikon Pass.

Is VR striving for an obvious monopoly?

Isn’t the brain trust at VR afraid of potential anti-trust violations blowing the whole deal up in an avalanche of disapprovals this fall?


What we have here is a good ol’ American duopoly, ala Coke and Pepsi, Visa and Mastercard, Android and iOS, just to name a few.

Sure, Parker Brothers will probably soon release its latest version, calling it “Ski Resort Monopoly,” but the Epic Pass is again undoubtedly king of the hill as far as season ski passes go.

Checking the online comments from skiers back east was eerily similar to comments from Park City enthusiasts back in 2014 when VR purchased their mountain, only these latest ones are — how can I put this delicately — more colorful.

Stereotyping? Sure, but the proof is in the powder, so to speak.

“Stupid Vail bought my hometown hill!”

“Yay, Peak is finally out!…but crap, it’s Vail coming in!”

“I’m gonna need a ‘F—k Vail’ bumper sticker.”

“It’s the beginning of the end…”

“They jack up prices and take away all the deals!”

“Gotta keep the shareholders happy.”

“Hating Vail is like hating Nickelback. People just do it because they think it’s cool.”

That last one is, in my opinion, the most relevant.
Friends and family in the Park City area are now singing a different tune, and I think this is great news for all 17 Peak Resorts ski areas located in the East and Midwest.

Along with expanding the empire comes millions upon millions invested in ski mountain infrastructure, and although modern society conditions us to automatically dislike large corporations, without VR we wouldn’t have half of the mountain improvements we now take for granted.

So although my 100% complete lack of scientific evidence claims far less than 1% of all western skiers will ever take advantage of having a season pass at any of these new resorts, that is far from the point.

No matter the bitching and whining about corporate overlords, Vail Resorts knows how to run a ski mountain.

Besides, they’re OUR corporate overlords, and most of us are still here because of their success as resort industry leaders, especially when they take out crime lords.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at

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