Vail, Colorado-October 25, 1999- Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE:MTN) today announced that it has entered into an agreement to purchase VailNet and InterNetWorks, local Internet companies that provide both Internet access and Web site design and hosting services. VailNet currently provides Internet access to more than 5,600 users in Eagle, Summit and Pitkin counties. InterNetWorks, the major providers of information about the Vail Valley and Summit County on the Internet, designs and hosts Web sites for local and national customers and currently has over 300 clients linked together under the domain names www.vail.net, www.breck.net and www.colorado.net. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
VailNet and InterNetWorks will operate as independent businesses within Vail Resorts. John Uhley, president of VailNet, and Jerry Nichols, managing partner of InterNetWorks, will retain their current responsibilities and leadership positions.
Charlie L’Esperance, vice president and chief information officer for Vail Resorts, said that rapid growth in Internet usage by travelers is one of the main reasons behind Vail Resorts’ purchase of VailNet and InterNetWorks.
“With more than 100 million Americans having access to the Internet, and industry experts predicting that the on-line travel industry is poised to grow from $3.1 billion in 1998 to $29 billion in 2003, the Internet clearly represents a tremendous opportunity for our communities, our resorts and our guests,” said L’Esperance.
“The combined resources of VailNet, InterNetWorks, and Vail Resorts’ existing Internet operations will enable local resorts, businesses, and communities to collectively provide a more seamless, comprehensive, user-friendly experience for all our customers, which should translate into more business for everyone,” continued L’Esperance.
“I am really excited about the terrific benefits this will bring immediately to our dial-up, high-speed and Web site customers,” said Uhley. “Vail Resorts provides us with access to the capital and resources needed to improve our Internet connection speed up to tenfold, as well as to provide more reliable service for all of our clients. We are thrilled to be able to deploy the next generation of high-speed Internet technology today. This agreement also allows us to keep VailNet and ColoradoNet running as a local business, providing a level of service that many national providers simply are not willing to deploy in non-urban areas”
“This will be a great benefit for our existing Web site customers,” said Nichols. ” We already generate a huge amount of Web traffic, helping visitors and residents get direct access to local information within a few keystrokes. The combined traffic generated by Vail Resorts Web sites, which include vail.com, beavercreek.com, breckenridge.com and keystoneresort.com and our three sites of vail.net, breck.net and colorado.net will make our customers’ sites even more successful marketing tools.”
Added L’Esperance, “Our snow.com Web site generates about 15 million page views per year. We expect a good portion of those viewers also will access the community businesses on vail.net, breck.net and colorado.net. This will also help us improve our overall guest service, as more people use the Internet to research, plan, and book their vacation experiences on-line,” L’Esperance said. “The Internet has already proven itself to be a critical sales and marketing tool for the travel industry. Consequently, we need to make sure that our Internet-related capabilities are the best they can be.”
Vail Resorts, Inc. is the premier destination mountain resort operator in North America, operating the Colorado resorts of Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson, Wyoming. For more information on Vail Resorts, visit the company’s Web site at www.snow.com.