Vail Resorts reports earnings down |

Vail Resorts reports earnings down

Daily Staff Report
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Resorts released numbers today showing that skier visits, lift ticket revenue and bookings were all down compared to the same period last year.

The numbers are for the comparative periods from the beginning of the ski season through Jan. 4, 2009, and for the prior year period through Jan. 6, 2008, with both periods including the holiday period through the first Sunday after New Year’s Day.

The company, which operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly in Lake Tahoe, reported that:

– Season-to-date total skier visits for Vail Resort’s five mountain resorts were down 5.8 percent compared to the prior year period.

– Season-to-date total lift ticket revenue, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was down 7.5 percent compared to the prior year period.

– Bookings at the company’s owned and managed properties as of Dec. 31, 2008, were down 14.8 percent in room nights compared to the prior year period.

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said the decline was expected, but added that total skier visits for the two-week holiday period, normally the busiest time of year, was actually up compared to last year.

Dining and retail/rental revenues declines were similar to lift ticket revenue, while ski school revenue saw a 20 percent decline.

“We believe the greater decline in ski school revenue was due to lower guest spending on certain higher priced items during their trip, a trend that was matched in lower check averages at certain of our fine-dine restaurants,” Katz said.

In regards to lodging, many guests are booking their rooms last minute, he said. The current booking numbers are an improvement from the 23.3 percent decline in bookings as of Nov. 30, 2008.

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