Vail Resorts’ Status YTD: Some Good, Some Bad

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SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., Jan. 16, 2013—Vail Resorts has reported the early-season performance of its seven destination resorts, and the news reflects the up-and-down season endured by its Colorado contingent. Overall, though, VR shows a slight uptick from last year, and projects net revenues to double from last year’s reduced level.

Season-to-date visits for VR’s seven mountain resorts were up 2 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date, including higher utilization by season passholders. Season-to-date lift ticket revenue, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue, was up 4 percent.

Season-to-date ancillary spending outpaced the growth in skier visitation, too. Snowsport school revenue rose nearly 3 percent, and dining revenue grew by 9 percent. Retail/rental revenue was up also, by almost 8 percent.

VR resorts achieved this growth despite what CEO Rob Katz called “very weak results” through mid-December, when snowfall was “very poor and highly unusual” at its Colorado areas. But the holiday season saw double-digit percentage increases in visitation, along with double-digit revenue growth in snowsport school, dining, and retail/rental. “In fact, a number of our resorts broke visitation and revenue records during the holiday period,” Katz said.

In response to the mixed performance, Katz cut VR’s financial forecast for the year, estimating net income of $39 million to $49 million in fiscal 2013—assuming normal levels of snowfall and visitation. This would still more than double last year's results, he said.

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