BROOMFIELD — Following record season pass sales in the spring of 2013, Vail Resorts again reported an increase in early pass sales this spring.
Spring season pass sales through May 27 for the upcoming 2014-15 season increased 14 percent in units and 20 percent in sales dollars.
“These strong season pass results followed record sales last spring and are driven by our successful marketing efforts, the compelling value of our products and our ability to drive the purchase decision earlier in the year,” said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz.
Early season pricing for the Epic Pass, which provides all-season skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin with no blackout days and five days of skiing at other Vail Resort mountains goes for $729.
Many of those pass sales were in Colorado, offsetting weaker sales in Tahoe. Many pass buyers were also from destination markets, representing more than half of total growth for the spring selling period.
“(Destination markets) remain the largest area of untapped potential for our season pass program. We saw continuing success expanding the pass holder base in our urban ski area markets in Minneapolis and Detroit, with both metropolitan areas growing faster than any of our other major destination markets,” said Katz. That rate of growth isn’t expected to continue through the fall, since spring growth includes pass holders who purchased this past fall. Still, the early purchases provide stable and consistent growth, company officials said.
Those Midwest locations did well in terms of skier visits and food and beverage sales as well.
“It was cold weather in the Midwest, so we had a good snowmaking year — although some days it was so cold the resort couldn’t even operate,” said Katz. “Other piece is that we have much higher awareness, and we’ve gotten good PR.”
Impressive third quarter
A successful spring pass sale season followed an impressive third quarter report by Vail Resorts.
The resort reported EBITDA increased 18.9 percent for the third quarter compared to the same period in the prior year. Skier visits also went up 11.2 percent, including the addition of Canyons Resort. Colorado visits were particularly bolstered by plentiful snow.
“Our results in Colorado were particularly encouraging,” said Katz. “Compared to the prior year, total visitation at our Colorado resorts increased 5.6 percent, ski school revenue increased 11.3 percent and dining revenue increased 9.5 percent, despite the unfavorable late timing of Easter in the current year.”
Colorado’s strong performance helped offset negative effects of poor snowfall and warm weather in Tahoe throughout the season. However, California did get some late season storms that brought local visitors to the resort. The company reported that total skier visits in Tahoe were down 4.4 percent in the third quarter compared to the previous year.
Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 or at email@example.com.
“These strong season pass results followed record sales last spring and are driven by our successful marketing efforts, the compelling value of our products and our ability to drive the purchase decision earlier in the year.”
CEO of Vail Resorts