Intrawest Earnings Rise After Debt Load Falls

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SAM Magazine—Denver, May 14, 2014—Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc. results for the three months ended March 31 improved, largely due to reduced interest expense following its successful IPO offering in February. Net income for the January-March quarter was $108.9 million, compared to $62.1 million for the year-ago quarter.

Intrawest attributed the large gain to reduced interest expense and improved revenues from mountain operations.

Restructuring aside, several measures show that the January-March quarter was better than the prior season for Intrawest’s portfolio (Steamboat and Winter Park, Colo.; Canadian Mountain Holidays in B.C.; Tremblant, Que.; Stratton, Vt.; Snowshoe, W.V.; and 50 percent of Blue Mountain, Ont.). For the quarter, total revenue was $285.7 million, a 2.5 percent increase; skier visits rose 5.5 percent (and more than 10 percent at the Colorado resorts). Stated in “constant currency” for U.S. and Canadian dollars, total revenue rose 7.8 percent.

For the year to date, revenue from season pass and frequency products increased 18 percent, and comprised 37.2 percent of total lift revenue—compared to 32.8 percent in the same period of the prior year. Intrawest saw visits increase by 7.9 percent year-to-date, while ski school and F&B revenues both increased by more than 8 percent. Expanded air traffic into Steamboat, particularly increased capacity from California, played a role in the increased revenues.

Despite the increase in pass sales, the effective ticket price was nearly flat: $44.95 for the third fiscal quarter of 2014, compared to $45.66 for the same period in 2013. Intrawest attributed most of the change to unfavorable foreign currency translation.

"The strong results in our mountain segment were driven by a significant increase in revenue from season pass and frequency product sales and investments in select projects that enhanced our customers’ experience and resulted in strong returns on invested capital,” CEO Bill Jensen said. “We continue to see ongoing opportunities to improve our core business segments and remain focused on delivering shareholder value through targeted initiatives.”

Revenue for the nine months ended March 31 was $469.9 million, compared to $465.3 million in the prior year period. Mountain revenue increased nearly 4 percent from the prior year period, but revenues from real estate and the “adventure” segment fell slightly.

With Easter falling in late April, visits and revenues for the fourth quarter are likely to show additional gains from year-ago levels for the mountain segment. Nonetheless, with lower revenues from its “adventure” and real estate segments, Intrawest expects total revenue for full fiscal year to fall slightly, but to be flat in constant currency.