The Egyptian investor sells most of the winter sports facilities. On board are Americans who have similar commitments around the world.
The list is long: Vail Resorts has stakes in 40 ski resorts in the United States, Canada and Australia. Much like Beaver Creek, Vail and Park City belong to the company itself, while the company has a stake in others like Whistler Mountain in Canada. Now the Americans get on board in Andermatt.
This was announced by Andermatt Swiss Alps, the company of Samih Sawiris. Andermatt thus receives another powerful donor. Andermatt Swiss Alps, the company behind the Andermatt ski area, is largely directly owned by Orascom and Samih Sawiris. With this company, Sawiris developed the Andermatt ski area, built new facilities, new holiday apartments and new hotels, such as The Chedi, a 5-star luxury hotel in the mountains.
Vail Resorts invests nearly 150 million Swiss francs and takes over more than 55 percent of the shares in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, the operating company of the ski area. The company is a subsidiary of Andermatt Swiss Alps and manages all mountain and ski resorts in the city. 110 million Swiss francs will go into “improving the guest experience”, as announced by Vail Resorts. The rest directly in the real estate sector in Andermatt. “Entry into the European ski market is a long-term strategic priority for Vail Resorts,” said CEO Kirsten Lynch.
Thus Samih Sawiris sells part of his ski area to the Americans, but retains a 40% stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG. The parent company Andermatt Swiss Alps remains in the hands of Sawiris. Monday at 10:30 Sawiris explains the agreement with the American ski giant.
According to Vail Resorts, the money should be invested in new lifts to get snow sports enthusiasts to the ski area faster. The new snowmaking systems are also intended to improve snow quality and Vail Resorts intends to invest some of the money in expanding the restaurant area.
Sawiris’ commitment in Andermatt and the region is not without controversy. Only in February, therefore, did you revise your plan for the construction of new port facilities on Lake Uri. Before long, nearly 6,000 people signed a petition against Sawiri’s plans to build two new ports. At least from the port of Flüelen (UR), Sawiris no longer wants to know anything.
With the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts issues a special type of ski pass. With it, skiers can travel for free to all Vail Resorts ski areas. Also in 26 other ski resorts in Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France. In Switzerland, the Verbier 4 Vallées ski area is the partner destination of the ski pass.
With the investment of Vail Resorts in Andermatt, the ski area is now also integrated into the Epic Pass. As a result, and through investments in accommodation in the village and in the ski area itself, business in Andermatt is expected to grow strongly, Vail Resorts writes in a statement. The American company recorded sales of $ 1.9 billion in 2021 and is listed on the stock exchange.
In the past two years the company, like many winter destinations, has not been doing well due to Corona. Throughout 2019, Vail Sports sales continued to grow. The company hit the record in 2019 with over $ 2.2 billion.
Russi and Vail: a close connection
Interesting detail: Ski legend Bernhard Russi served on the board of Andermatt Swiss Alps until 2020. He is still on the board of Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG and has a very special bond with Vail. There he rebuilt a ski slope in the late 1980s for the 1989 World Championships. The “Rattlesnake Alley” (rattlesnake road), which Russi designed similar to a bobsleigh track, became the key scene of the descent – and a scare for the favorites. German Hansjörg Tauscher has won, never winning a World Cup race before or after.
Russi also designed the legendary “Birds of Prey” ski slope: it is located in Beaver Creek, which today is also owned by Vail Resorts. So now this connection is getting closer and closer.
Philipp Felber-Eisele he is corporate editor at Tamedia. He reports on economic policy directly from the Bern Confederation. The Germanist and historian has been a Tamedia journalist since 2019.