Vail Resorts to buy Colorado Mountain Express |

Vail Resorts to buy Colorado Mountain Express

Scott N. Miller
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

BROOMFIELD, Colo. ” Booking a vacation through Vail Resorts will be closer to a one-call job next ski season.

Broomfield-based Vail Resorts announced Tuesday it has entered into an agreement to buy Colorado Mountain Express for $40.5 million. The sale is expected to close in late fall.

The shuttle service provides transportation between Denver International Airport and the mountains, including service to the Eagle County Airport, which serves Vail, the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and points in Aspen and Snowmass Village.

“We’re obviously very familiar with Colorado Mountain Express, and we identified it as a good opportunity for us,” Vail Resorts President Rob Katz said.

Buying Colorado Mountain Express provides Vail Resorts with a way to affect people’s first and last impressions of their vacations, Katz said. Katz said the company also believes putting resort visitors into vans and luxury SUVs is also a way to keep cars off the roads, Katz said.

Given the eyebrow-raising cost of gasoline, it might seem an odd time to buy a company with a 250-vehicle fleet. But, Katz said, bringing Colorado Mountain Express into Vail Resorts provides the potential for a lot of efficiency, from driver recruitment to insurance to being able to save a few cents per gallon on fuel bought in bulk.

“Those efficiencies can help keep it cost-competitive,” Katz said.

Despite its acquisition by Vail Resorts, Colorado Mountain Express is still going to take passengers to other resorts, Katz said, so the company needs to remain competitive with other companies providing similar services.

In a press release announcing the sale, Colorado Mountain Express Chief Executive Officer Jay Ufer said he looks forward to working with Vail Resorts.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to combine Vail Resorts’ commitment to the guest experience with CME’s commitment to reliable access to the resorts we serve. Vail Resorts will provide CME with expanded opportunities for growth in the hospitality industry,” Ufer said.

Katz said Vail Resorts intends to focus on the “hospitality” part of Colorado Mountain Express.

“It’s not a transportation company,” Katz said. “It’s a service to get people to Colorado ski resorts.”