Vail’s top competitor reports more skiers |

Vail’s top competitor reports more skiers

Kim Marquis

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Intrawest, Vail Resorts’ biggest competitor, realized a 3 percent increase in skier visits and a 5 percent increase in revenue per visit at its Western resorts, the company reported in a third quarter earnings call Tuesday.The company’s Western resorts include Copper Mountain and Winter Park, Mammoth Mountain, Calif., and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia. Rain in January and warm weather that followed through mid-March crushed business at Whistler Blackcomb this season, reducing skier numbers by 16 percent. The ski resort, which is still open, usually sees nearly 2 million visitors each season, but Tuesday reported only 1.7 million.Panorama Mountain Village, the company’s second Canadian ski resort, was also impacted by the weather and reported a 10 percent decrease in skier visits.”It was one of those one-in-a-lifetime events that we’ve never seen before and hope to never see again,” said Intrawest chief executive officer Joe Houssian, adding that, despite decreased skier visits at its Pacific Northwest resorts, the company is optimistic about its business plan over the next three years.Total revenue for the quarter that ended March 31 was $504.8 million, compared with $437.9 million for the same period in 2004. The increase mainly resulted from revenue generated by the company’s recently acquired 67 percent share of Abercrombie & Kent, an international adventure travel company. Real estate revenue decreased from $91.5 million in the 2004 quarter to $52.1 million, the company reported Tuesday, due to fewer unit closings and a decrease in average price per unit.Prices were discounted at Copper Mountain and another Intrawest resort in an effort to sell long-standing inventory. At Copper, the inventory was built about five years ago as part of a redevelopment at the center village.Despite the need to sell overbuilt units, Houssian said he is optimistic about the mountain resort real estate market.”We continue to see that the buyers of our real estate are in their baby boomer years … they continue to prove to us that our buyers are increasing in size, wealth and need to acquire vacation homes,” Houssian said.Vail, Colorado

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