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$150 Million Before the First Toilet Flushes

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson takes an inside look at Whistler, Vail, and the economics of the mega-resort.
posted: 02/15/2012
Andrew Couperthwait came to Vail and all he got was this lousy face shot.
by Sam Bass

We all know skiing is a powerfully addictive pastime. It's intoxicating, with an allure that often overcomes common sense. What else would make you drive headlong into howling blizzards, spend thousands on plastic shoes, or think it's good idea to start your own ski company? Especially considering the fact that entire pursuit of all things ski is based on a fundamentally unpredictable factor like snowfall. Or is it? Seems that large resorts have found a way to make piles of money whether or not it snows. The Atlantic's Derek Thompson, despite thinking that Tahoe is a "California peak also owned by Vail Resorts," explains how they do it—and the resortgoer's role in the process.

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