SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., Sept. 30, 2019—Vail Resorts, Inc. (VR) reported a 14.6 percent increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) for its fiscal year 2019, ending July 31, to $706.7 million. However, net income dropped 20.7 percent, to $301.2 million for fiscal 2019, as 2018 results were positively impacted by one-time benefits of U.S. tax reform.
VR also noted that Epic Pass sales for the 2019-20 season were up 14 percent in units and 15 percent in revenue through Sept. 22.
"With a strong base of high-end consumers, we are continuing to leverage our growing network of resorts and sophisticated marketing strategies to drive guest spending across our Mountain segment," said VR CEO Rob Katz in discussing the fiscal 2019 results.
For the year, total net revenue from mountain operations increased 13.5 percent, to approximately $2.0 billion. Total skier visits rose a whopping 21.5 percent, to 14,998,000, vs. the prior year's total of 12,345,000. The growth stemmed, in part, from the acquisition of Triple Peaks (Crested Butte Mountain Resort, Okemo, and Mt. Sunapee) in fall 2018, and in part from favorable snow conditions across VR's western resorts.
Total lift revenue increased 17.4 percent, to $1.03 billion. The effective ticket price dropped to $69, down from $71 a year ago, as Epic passholders averaged more visits in 2018-19 than in 2017-18.
VR's lodging division saw revenue rise 10.9 percent, "primarily due to the incremental operations of Triple Peaks," Katz said. The average daily rate decreased slightly, also due largely to the inclusion of the Triple Peaks resorts.
Ski school revenue increased 13.2 percent and dining revenue increased 12.7 percent, which Katz attributed to incremental revenue from acquired resorts and the overall increase in skier visits across all VR resorts.
Regarding the strong 2019-20 season Epic Pass sales, Katz said, "In particular, we have seen very strong growth in our Northeast markets, which are benefiting from the first full year of pass sales with unlimited access at Stowe, Okemo, and Mount Sunapee included on the Epic and Epic Local pass products, and the improved impact of the expanded guest data and insight we now have in that region." These results do not include the impact of VR's purchase of Peak Resorts, which closed Sept. 24.