SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., June 10, 2019—Vail Resorts (VR) reported net revenue increased 13.8 percent, to $957.7 million, in its fiscal third quarter ended April 30. VR attributed the increase primarily to increased visitation and spending at its U.S. resorts, strong North American pass sales growth for 2018-19, and incremental revenue from the purchase of Triple Peaks and Stevens Pass. Net income was $292.1 million for the quarter compared to the prior year's third quarter of $256.3 million.
For the full 2019 fiscal year, which ends July 31, 2019, VR expects total revenues of $2.27 billion, and EBITDA of $707 million.
Revenues and expenses. Total lift revenue grew 16.4 percent. Other revenue sources grew as well, but at a lower rate. Including Triple Peaks (Okemo, Vt., Mount Sunapee, N.H., and Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Colo.) and Stevens Pass, Wash., ski school revenue grew by 9.4 percent, dining grew 11.7 percent, and retail/rental revenue was up 9.5 percent over the prior year.
Lodging revenue grew nearly 17 percent year-over-year, primarily due to the incremental operations of Triple Peaks, said VR CEO Rob Katz. This increase came despite a 3.4 percent decline in average daily rate, which Katz attributed primarily to the Triple Peaks resorts.
Operating expenses increased 12.7 percent, primarily due to incremental operating expenses from Triple Peaks, Stevens Pass, Falls Creek and Hotham (Australia), VR said. Resort reported EBITDA was $480.7 million for the three months, an increase of 14.5 percent compared to the prior year.
Skier visits. Visits totaled 7.2 million for the period, up 14.3 percent from third quarter 2018, and 14.2 million for the season through the end of April—an increase of 19.3 percent from the prior year. VR attributed growth in the quarter primarily to visits at Triple Peaks resorts and Stevens Pass.
"Our Colorado, Utah and Tahoe resorts experienced strong local and destination visitation throughout the third fiscal quarter, supported by favorable conditions across the western U.S.,” Katz added. “The Company continued experiencing relative weakness in international visitation compared to the prior year, particularly at Whistler Blackcomb.”
2019-20 pass sales. Season pass sales for the 2019-20 season increased 9 percent in units and 13 percent in dollars through May 28 compared to the prior year. Those results include Triple Peaks resorts and Stevens Pass, but exclude VR's sizable military pass sales for both years.
"Our pass sales growth was primarily driven by strong results in our destination markets," Katz said. "In particular, we have very strong growth in our Northeast markets, which are benefiting from the first full year of pass sales with Stowe, Okemo, and Mount Sunapee included with unlimited access on the Epic and Epic Local pass products."