Vail Resorts releases 2nd quarter results | VailDaily.com
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Vail Resorts releases 2nd quarter results

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado

VAIL ” It’s been a good fiscal year so far for Vail Resorts.

The resort company Monday announced its second quarter earnings for its 2007 fiscal year, which began Aug. 1 of last year. Everything from lift ticket revenue to lodging to real estate sales were up. In the case of real estate, development in Vail Village, Lionshead and Breckenridge fueled a revenue increase of $46.5 million, nearly five times the increase for the same period a year before.

Along with news about earnings, Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz said the company also expects to spend several million dollars on upgrades at the company’s five ski resorts.

That spending will include new snow cats, company uniforms and rental equipment at all resorts, as well as a couple of big-ticket items at Vail and Beaver Creek.

The biggest news at Beaver Creek will be a gondola for ski school students, running from the bottom to the top of the beginner’s Haymeadow run. A new ski school building will be built at the top of Haymeadow.

At Vail, the company this year expects to replace and re-route Chair 10 and Chair 14. Chair 10 will end up at the Two Elk restaurant.

“If that’s where it’s going, it’s a good move,” said Troy Goldberg, owner of Troy’s Ski Shop in Vail Village.

And, while Goldberg said the older, two-place lifts due to be replaced generally led to good snow, he said he understood the reasons for replacing them.

“If we’re one of the most expensive resorts in the United States, we have to be the best,” Goldberg said. “That means you need to get people up the hill quickly and efficiently.”

Goldberg said Vail Resorts’ success at Vail is reflected in his business.

“The lodges are booked,” he said. “People are coming and they’re happy with their experience.”

In Avon, Venture Sports owner Mike Brumbaugh said spending on the ski hills is good for everybody.

“Vail Resorts spends more, and that brings more skiers,” Brumbaugh said. “It’s a good thing all around.”

Analysts were also happy to hear about Vail Resorts’ most recent results, but had a few questions about operations in both the ski industry and in Florida.

Responding to a question about cost overruns at the Arrabelle project in Lionshead, Katz said the company has new internal policies to ensure that what’s been designed can be built according the schedule and budget.

“We have a lot of third party review in the process now,” Katz said.

Vail Resorts is also getting more active in Florida. Katz said the company has projects “in the pipeline” in the Miami area, but isn’t ready to discuss them until the deals are signed.

Analysts apparently liked what they saw in the report. Vail Resorts stock, which had been trading at or near 52-week highs since March 8, started a solid rise just after the end of a Monday conference call with reporters and analysts. The stock ended the day at $58.33, up $3.33 for the day. That mark is a new 52-week high.

Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 748-2930, or smiller@vaildaily.com.


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