You don't think Peak would be doing the same without the buy out? Peak spent a lot of money on improving snowmaking and adding terrain in the last few years. Presumably bought the PA ski areas in hopes they would be drawn to Hunter for early and late season skiing.
I thought Hunter has been one of the first to open for a while. I stopped by on the way to Lake Placid for Thanksgiving in 2013. Was surprised to find that people were skiing at Hunter that Monday before.
I assumed he meant the other way around, that he originally thought Vail wouldn't keep up with Peak. Still of course TBD.
Oh, didn't think of that.
In general, VR wants to win the First To Open and Last To Close honors in as many regions as possible. Killington obviously has that wrapped up for the northeast. That can be a reason for people from NYC/NJ to buy Ikon. So Hunter has value for early season turns as part of the Peak buy out. So much the better than Peak has been spending big bucks so not much need for capital money for a big project in the near future.