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Good Vail snow boosts Easter business

Melanie Wong
mwong@vaildaily.com
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Resorts reported on Friday that its ticket revenues, skier visits and hotel bookings in Colorado and California continued to slide through April 12.

Skier visits at the company’s five resorts ” Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly in Lake Tahoe ” were down 6.2 percent. Total lift ticket revenues were also down 8.7 percent compared to last year.

Lift ticket revenues were slightly worse than the 8 percent decline that Vail Resorts reported back in March. Revenues from ski school, dining and retail/rental also saw similar slides since then, said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz.



“This was attributable to a deterioration in our ski season metrics during the last two weeks of March 2009, where the close-in booking pattern, which had been strong throughout the winter ski season did not materialize to the same degree,” said Katz, referring to this season’s trend of last-minute bookings.

However, a busy Easter and good April snow has helped boost business, he said.



He added that Epic Pass sales for next season are going well. The Epic Passes sold to date this year are already outselling the passes sold in the spring sales period of last year, Katz said.

Jerry Jones, an Avon-based ski-industry veteran and former Vail Associates executive, said that the Epic Pass has saved Vail Resorts this year and probably will do so again next year.

“It’s made up for what could have been a disastrous season,” Jones said. “They probably did a lot better than they would have, and better than their competitors.”



The value of Vail Resort’s one-pass, five-resort package at a “1970s price” can’t be beat, he said.

“All things considered, they probably had a better season than anybody else. They have the best package, and nobody else can compete with that,” he said.

Vail Resorts also reported that booking so far this season at the company’s lodges were down 12.8 percent in room nights compared to last year.

Vail Resort’s occupancy numbers match up with what travel industry experts have been seeing, and the company is doing much better than others in the lodging industry, said Chris Romer, Vail Valley Partnership sales and marketing director.

Sales taxes tied to Vail lodges are dropping more drastically, which Romer attributes to lower room rates ” people are still booking rooms, but at lower prices than last year, he said.

The average daily room rate for this winter season is 10 percent to 12 percent lower than last year, Romer said.

Meanwhile, the Vail Valley Partnership’s Vailonsale.com, which offers last-minute room deals in Vail, has seen a 24 percent increase in nights booked.

More guests are waiting to book their vacations and looking for deals. The site is usually aimed at Coloradans, but this year people from across the country and even internationally are using the site, Romer said.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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