Vail Resorts reports early-season revenue declines including skier visits, dining |

Vail Resorts reports early-season revenue declines including skier visits, dining

Daily staff report
While mountain resorts benefitted from a strong national economy and abundant snow, it looks as if average daily rate increases may have moderated from previous years.
Tomas Cohen |

BROOMFIELD — Vail Resorts on Friday, Jan. 12, reported certain ski season metrics for the comparative periods from the beginning of the ski season through Sunday, Jan. 7, and for the prior year period through Jan. 8, 2017.

The reported ski season metrics are for the company’s North American mountain resorts, adjusted as if Stowe in Vermont was owned in both periods and also adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying current period exchange rates to the prior period for results from Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada. The metrics exclude results from Perisher in Australia and the company’s urban ski areas in both periods. The data is interim period data and is subject to fiscal quarter-end review and adjustments.

Season-to-date total lift ticket revenue at the company’s North American mountain resorts, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was up 1.6 percent compared to the prior season-to-date period.

Ski School revenue down

Season-to-date ski school revenue was down 4.5 percent, and dining revenue was down 8.7 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period. Retail/rental revenue for North American resort store locations was down 11.5 percent compared to the prior season-to-date period. Season-to-date total skier visits for the company’s North American mountain resorts were down 10.8 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period.

“Given the truly historic low snowfall across our western U.S. resorts, we are pleased with our results to date, which reflect the stability provided by our season pass program and the investments we have made in our resorts,” Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said in a statement. “The 2017-18 ski season had a very challenging start across our western U.S. resorts due to poor conditions in the early season that continued through the holiday period, reducing both local and destination visitation and spending. In November and December, snowfall season to date in Vail, Beaver Creek and Park City was the lowest level recorded in over 30 years, and in Vail and Beaver Creek, snowfall is over 50 percent lower than the next lowest season, and Tahoe’s snowfall was 69 percent below the 20-year average.”

‘Behind typical conditions’

“Fortunately, conditions have improved at our western U.S. resorts in the last week with expanded open terrain due to recent storms, and we expect a portion of the Back Bowls at Vail Mountain and Peak 6 at Breckenridge to open this weekend,” Katz added. “However, we still remain behind typical conditions for this time of year in terms of open terrain and base depth.”

Katz continued, “As a result of the challenging conditions at our western U.S. resorts, we now expect full year resort reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to be modestly below the low end of the guidance range we issued on Dec. 7, 2017, assuming a continuation of the improvement in conditions that we are currently seeing, such that our western U.S. resorts reach a normal terrain package within the next few weeks. To the extent that conditions improve more slowly, there could be further downside below our guidance range. However, we are encouraged by the experiences we deliver for our guests and how we have performed financially in previous challenging seasons, such as in 2011/2012, given our constant reinvestment in the comprehensive guest experience across our resorts and the strength of our season pass program.”

For more information, go to http://www.vail

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