Vail Resorts sets profit record
VAIL, Colorado ” Vail Resorts reported record profits for the fifth straight year Thursday.
The company saw profits for $102.9 million for the fiscal 2008 year, compared to $61.4 million for the previous year.
But, facing a turbulent economy ” as well as fewer pass sales and hotel bookings ” the company scaled back financial expectations.
“We have extraordinary, world-class resorts and a unique customer demographic, but we are certainly not immune to the dramatic challenges facing the economy today,” said Chief Financial Officer Jeff Jones.
The company expects profits of $60 million to $76 million next year, it said in its year-end earnings conference call Thursday.
The company didn’t release information on how Epic Season Passes, its new, dramatically discounted season pass, it has sold. However, it did say Colorado season pass sales, including Epic passes sold to Front Range skiers, are down 8.4 percent compared to last year. Bookings for hotel rooms for the upcoming seasons are down 17.7 percent compared to last year, said CEO Rob Katz.
“We have certainly begun to see the impact of the current economic softness during these unprecedented times,” Katz said, adding that it’s unclear whether skiers are waiting longer to buy passes or they’re not going to buy passes at all.
Resort communities are “more resilient” than other places, Katz said, but the economy could affect the timing of real-estate projects.
Vail Resorts might be more inclined to hold on to land at the base of ski resorts rather than push forward with projects, Katz said. The company has proposed a $1 billion ski village called Ever Vail on land it owns in West Lionshead. A start date for that project has not been set.
For the fourth quarter, the company reported its customary loss during the summer period. It lost $11.1 million during the three months of May, June and July.
Broomfield-based Vail Resorts owns Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly. It also owns and operates hotels in the West, East and Caribbean.
Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 970-748-2929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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