Chip Perfect isn’t worried about a new round of consolidation in the ski resort industry, even if the trend is hitting closer to his Dearborn County home.
Vail Resorts Inc. this week announced the purchase of Peak Resorts Inc., adding 17 new properties to its portfolio including Paoli Peaks near Louisville and Mad River Mountain near Columbus. The $264 million purchase will give the Colorado resort operator new access to snow enthusiasts in Indiana, Ohio and five other states.
Vail plans to invest $15 million to improve its new properties and use them to cross market its Colorado properties to Peak's customers.
"We just see it as a positive,” said Perfect, whose family will celebrate its 40th season in the ski business this winter. “Vail is going to be a good partner in promoting snow sports. We’re going to continue doing what we do in being the family-owned and family-oriented ski area for Cincinnati and portions of the Midwest.”
Perfect North is investing more than $1 million this year in lighting and snow-making improvements. It’s also planning some upgrades to its lodge and beginner ski areas.
“We have a good market, a good product,” he said.
The Peak Resorts sale follows a trio of 2018 acquisitions by Vail, Peak and Alterra Mountain Co. Perfect said other Midwestern resorts have been swallowed up by bigger companies in the last five years but no one has approached Perfect North about selling. He has been approached about other kinds of partnerships to jointly market season passes with other resorts, but doesn't see a reason to partake.
“Almost half of the ski areas in the country now are involved in some other group. That means half of us are still independent and trying to figure it out,” Perfect said. “We’re going to do what we do. I don’t think we need anything that they’re offering.”