Vail Resorts says it broke records in visitation, revenue and earnings last ski season
Company says pass sales also up 6% over this time last year
Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said Thursday the company grew visitation, resort net revenue and resort reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to record levels during the 2022-23 season.
Lynch’s remarks came during a conference call with Vail Resorts analysts that summarized the company’s results in its third fiscal quarter, which ended April 30. Resort Reported EBITDA was $623.3 million for the quarter, up more than $12 million over the same period in 2021-22, and the company’s total net revenue increased $61.8 million to $1,238.4 million for the three-month period that ended April 30, as compared to the same period in the prior year. The company did not share visitation numbers but said those numbers were also higher than in previous years.
Lynch said the company is pleased with the overall results for the quarter, especially considering the weather-related challenges some ski areas in the Vail Resorts network faced during the 2022-23 season. Vail Resorts owns 37 different ski areas in North America.
“The winter season included significant weather-related challenges related to the travel disruptions over the peak holiday period, abnormal weather variability across our Eastern U.S. resorts, and significant storm-related disruptions at our Tahoe resorts,” Lynch said. “Despite these weather events, the company grew visitation, resort net revenue and resort reported EBITDA to record levels, supported by the stability created from our advance commitment strategy, and a strong finish to the season with good spring conditions at our resorts in Colorado, Utah, Tahoe and the Northeastern U.S.”
Lynch said the company’s ancillary businesses, including ski school, dining and retail/rental, experienced strong growth compared to the prior year period, as well. Vail Resorts CFO Angela Korch said the company’s efforts to fully staff its resorts drove the growth in those areas.
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“Getting us back to full staffing allowed us to fully operate, and that had a big impact, year over year,” Korch said.
Korch and Lynch said one area of ancillary business which still has room for improvement is food and beverage, which have not seen volumes return to pre-COVID levels.
“Even though food and beverage growth was very strong versus prior year, we didn’t get all the way back to where we expected to be on food and beverage, and have very specific plans in place next year to continue to build and get that business back to where it was pre-COVID,” Lynch said.
Lynch said the company is also pleased to see that pass sales for the upcoming 2023-24 season have increased by approximately 6% in units and approximately 11% in sales dollars through May 30.
“It’s always a concern when we have some resorts that are in geographies where there’s extreme weather disruptions, there’s always a concern about what impacts those are going to have on our passholders and their desire to pull the pass,” Lynch said. “And so we watch those very closely and I’ll say I’m very pleased — if you break down what we call the East resorts into Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast, we collectively call that our East region resorts — we had growth in the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic, and the Northeast, and I think that’s very encouraging and it shows the loyalty of our passholders and the value of the pass, that even after a tough season, they still believe that they will get the usage and the value out of their pass, skiing locally or taking a destination trip, or maybe even both.”