Vail Resorts Fiscal 2013: It Was a Pretty Good Year

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SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., Sept. 27, 2013—Vail Resorts (VR) rebounded nicely in 2012-13 from a very poor 2011-12 season, and early indicators, such as pass sales, suggest the coming winter will be strong. That’s the big picture presented by VR’s year-end financial report, released today.

For the year ended July 31, total net revenue was $1.121 billion, a 9.4 percent increase from the prior year. Net income of $37.7 million more than doubled the $16.5 million from 2012.

EBITDA for 2013 reached $240.9 million, a 17.3 percent increase from 2012. The 2013 figure includes a contribution of $5.5 million from the acquisitions of Kirkwood, Afton Alps, and Mt. Brighton, and $7.6 million in losses related to VR’s lease of Canyons.

“Total mountain net revenue increased 13.2 percent for fiscal 2013,” VR CEO Rob Katz said. “This was driven by a 13.6 percent increase in total skier visits [up to 7 million, from 6.1 million in 2011-12], driving a $48.3 million, or 14.1 percent, increase in lift revenue compared to prior year. Lift revenue, excluding season pass revenue, increased $36.4 million, or 17.6 percent, and season pass revenue increased $11.9 million, or 8.8 percent, compared to prior year.”

Ancillary departments showed growth as well: fiscal 2013 dining revenue increased 18.7 percent, ski school, 13 percent, and retail/rental, 9.7 percent.

Lodging revenue showed a smaller gain, with net revenue up just .2 percent, despite a 6.5 percent gain in gross revenue. "Our lodging segment benefited from improved summer visitation and increased winter demand during peak holiday periods,” Katz said. The average daily rate and revenue per available room increased 1.7 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively.

All the positive year-end news obscured a wider loss for VR’s fiscal fourth quarter ($59.9 million in 2013, $53.8 million in 2012), as small increases in most segments were not enough to compensate for an 81 percent drop in real estate revenues for the period.

But VR also had good news about the upcoming 2013-14 season. “Based on our current estimates, our fiscal 2014 guidance range anticipates resort reported EBITDA of between $280.0 million and $295.0 million,” Katz said.

One concrete indicator: sales of season passes through Sept. 22 for the upcoming season were up approximately 19 percent in units and 23 percent in revenue versus the comparable period in the prior year. VR typically records 55 to 60 percent of its total pass sales by this date. VR noted that 26 resorts are included in its Epic Pass, up from 12 a year ago, due to its acquisitions and reciprocal deals with new U.S. and European partners.

Katz also acknowledged that the ongoing litigation with Park City Mountain Resort would impact the bottom line in 2014. “We anticipate that [Canyons] integration and litigation related expenses in fiscal 2014 … will be approximately $7.2 million, including an estimated $5.0 million in fees associated with the Park City Mountain Resort litigation,” he said.

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