Copper skier numbers expected to fall |

Copper skier numbers expected to fall

Kim Marquis

Skier numbers at Copper Mountain Resort are expected to be down about 6 percent for the 2003-04 season, according to a quarterly earnings report released Tuesday by Intrawest, Vail Resort’s top competitor in the ski industry.

Final skier numbers for the state’s ski resorts are expected in June, according to Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit trade association representing 24 Colorado ski resorts.

According to Intrawest’s report for its third-quarter earnings, Colorado’s warm March weather caused fewer skiers and therefore lower revenues than last year during the resort’s traditionally busiest time of spring break.

The warm Colorado weather paired with too-cold temperatures at the company’s eastern ski resorts to produce an overall 5 percent company-wide decline in skier visits compared to last year.

Visits to Intrawest’s Western resorts were down 6 percent due primarily to the impact of the stronger Canadian dollar on U.S. visits to Whistler and to the weather, according to the report. The company’s Western resorts include Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Mammoth and Whistler/Blackcomb in British Columbia.

“We have shown significant improvement in cash flow this year,” said Joe Houssian, Intrawest’s chief executive officer. “All the pieces are now in place to increase the profitability of our resort operations and grow our resort real estate business while driving down debt.”

Revenue from real estate development for the quarter increased to $91.5 million from $87.1 million in the same period last year, but the number of units closed was down. Profit from real estate development was $9.5 million compared with $11.4 million in the same quarter last year.


Financial footing

Intrawest, Vail Resorts’ top ski industry competitor, released its third quarter financial report this week. All numbers, except for the year-to-date figures, are for the quarter ending in March:

Resort operations revenue: $299.5 million, up from $283.4 in 2003.

Resort operations profit: $100.9 million, down from $104.6.

Income from continuing operations: $56.2 million, or $1.17 per share, down from $56.8 million, or $1.19 per share.

Cash flow: $73.1 million, up from $47.4 million.

Cash flow (year-to-date): $178.9 million, compared to $75.2 million deficit last fiscal year.

Year-to-date revenue: $1.1 billion, up from $729.4.


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