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SAM Magazine--Vail, Colo., Oct. 1, 2004--Vail Resorts reported improved results for fiscal 2004 compared to the previous year. VR posted a 7.4 percent rise in resort revenue, to $676.8 million, for fiscal 2004 compared to 2003. Resort expense increased just 1.7 percent, to $530.1 million. Despite a warm March and an early end to the 2003-04 season, both Beaver Creek and Heavenly resorts experienced record skier visits for two straight years, and average realized price for lift tickets at all Vail resorts grew 10.4 percent.

Mountain revenue for fiscal 2004 was $500.4 million, up 7.8 percent, while mountain expense climbed only 0.7 percent, to $369.0 million. Lodging revenue grew 6.3 percent, to $176.3 million, while lodging expense increased 4.0 percent, to $161.1 million.

Real estate revenue and expenses both decreased, due to the timing and mix of real estate projects. Revenue was $45.1 million, with expenses of $16.8 million.

As a result of the above, income from operations for the fiscal year improved by 137.2 percent, to $81.8 million compared to $34.5 million for the same period last year. Nonetheless, the resort reported a net loss for 2004 of $6.0 million, compared to a net loss of $8.5 million in 2003. The loss stemmed from one-time charges for early extinguishment of debt and for mold remediation. Without these items, net income would have been $20.4 million. Vail estimates that the early retirement of debt will save the company more than $5 million a year for the next five years.

Vail Resorts is projecting net income of $14 to $22 million for fiscal 2005. One reason for optimism: to date, sales of season passes and other advance purchase products are up by 25.7 percent.