Vail Resorts CEO Robert Katz has spoken of his intention to add a Japanese ski resort to Vail’s burgeoning portfolio in a bid to attract travellers from Australia, China, India and Southeast Asia.

In a recent interview, Katz described Japan as “the likely first stop for new emerging skiers” and that China, India and Southeast Asia would be “…where the vast majority of new skiers are created over the next decade”.

Katz is also keenly aware that Japan is the favoured international destination for Australian skiers, a market he considers critically important given Australians’ inclination to take longer holidays and spend more than their North American counterparts.

“Australians represent a very important market to North America and to Whistler in particular,” said Katz.

Katz’s comments follow months after upgrading Hakuba Valley, Japan’s largest ski resort, to a full member of the Epic Pass – a multi resort lift ticket that services the full ensemble of Vail-owned resorts and partners. The pass is a key component in the Vail Resorts business model, and the addition of a Japanese resort to the portfolio would be done with a view to selling more passes in those key emerging regions.

Under Katz’s leadership, Vail Resorts has become the largest owner and manager of ski resorts in North America. In addition to its own resorts, which include Vail (USA), Stowe (USA), Whistler Blackcomb (Canada) and Perisher (Australia), it has also set up partnerships with several European resorts, including Les 3 Vallees (France), Tignes-Val D’Isere (France), 4 Vallees (Switzerland) and Arlberg (Austria). For more info, visit the Epic Pass website.