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Why North American ski resorts are at par with Alpine properties

Demand from America's super rich keeps prices at a premium

Established ski destinations in North America don't come cheap

 

Established ski destinations in North America don't come cheap

Our four-part series covers the dip in demand for winter resort properties that’s causing some concern on the slopes of North America, Europe and Japan. Click here to read Part Two.

North America’s skiing market dwarfs Europe – at 1.5 million square miles, the Rockies, Appalachian and Sierra Nevada mountains cover ten times the area of the Alps – and no single country can top the United States’ 56.9 million annual ski visits.

However, as the Savills Alpine Property Market report notes, “For such a large country, the US has relatively few resorts of worldwide renown.”

North American skiing destinations are heavily reliant on domestic visitors, and with US participation levels at no more than 4 percent; the market is left exposed to changes in national skiing habits.

The main North American resorts being spread over such a large area in comparison to Europe means that, on the one hand, it is a less cohesive and more dispersed market than the Alps, whose interlinked resorts are surrounded by densely populated areas.

Destinations such as Breckenridge in Colorado sum up the diversity available in the North American wintersports market

Destinations such as Breckenridge in Colorado sum up the diversity available in the North American wintersports market

But on the other hand, North America’s extra space means there is space to build and grow on its slopes and, as Savills highlights, “North America is home to the largest number of wealthy individuals globally, so with the right product there remains a ready demand base to tap in the home market.”

Savills points to Vail in Colorado, US, as being capable of delivering that right product to the high-net-worth community. While prices slumped during the crash of 2008, the resort’s ultra-prime market is helping recovery – prices come in at USD2,639 per square foot in Vail, putting it on a par with the leading Alpine resorts.

“Inventory is low and the best properties rarely trade. Demand from America’s super rich and limited supply keeps prices at a premium,” reports Savills.

“Privately owned and operated, Vail Resorts has invested more than USD500 million on improvements in the last five years.”

 

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