DENVER — The largest resort operator in North America is buying the continent’s biggest ski area, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Vail Resorts Inc. announced Monday that it was purchasing Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc., the Canadian ski resort company, for $1.06 billion, adding to its aggressive expansion.

Located in British Columbia, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest and most visited ski resort in North America. Colorado’s Vail is frequently the most visited ski resort in the U.S.

Two years ago, Vail Resorts bought Utah’s Park City Mountain Resort for $182.5 million and merged it with a neighboring resort. It operates nine mountain resorts and two ski areas in the U.S. and Australia.

The new deal is expected to close in the fall.

“Whistler Blackcomb is one of the most iconic mountain resorts in the world with an incredible history, passionate employees and a strong community,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said in a written statement.

Shares of Whistler Blackcomb rose above $27.36 each in Toronto. In New York, Vail Resorts stock also was trading at the highest rate in at least a decade, reaching about $154 per share at midday Monday.

Under the transaction, Vail Resorts would acquire all the stock of Whistler Blackcomb, whose shareholders would receive $13.30 per share in cash and 0.0975 share of Vail Resorts’ common stock, for a total value of $27.36 per share.

Vail Resorts said it intends to retain the vast majority of Whistler Blackcomb employees.

In addition to Vail and Park City, Vail Resorts operates Colorado’s Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone ski resorts. In California, Vail operates Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood ski areas. It also has ski resorts in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.