SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., Jan. 19, 2023—Vail Resorts experienced gains in visits and ticket revenue and is up substantially in ancillary revenue year-over-year across its North American portfolio for the season-to-date period ending Jan. 8, 2023.
Total skier visits were up 12.5 percent, and total lift ticket revenue, including a portion of season pass revenue, was up 5.3 percent for the period.
The largest gains were in ancillary revenue. Season-to-date ski school revenue was up 35.6 percent, and dining revenue was up 58 percent, while retail/rental revenue for North American resort and ski area store locations was up 34.4 percent.
Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch attributed the growth to stronger staffing levels this season. “Increased staffing levels relative to the prior year period enabled our mountain resorts to deliver full operations of lifts and mountain terrain and normal operations of important guest experiences such as our restaurants, lodging, ski and ride school, and rental and retail locations, which helped drive a return of ancillary spending,” said Lynch.
Elevated Omicron infection rates, challenging early season conditions, and staffing-driven capacity constraints dampened visitation and spending during the same period last year.
Improved early season conditions in Colorado, Utah, and California bolstered local visitation in those regions this season, and the easing of travel restrictions in Canada has helped destination visitation at Whistler Blackcomb rebound.
Nonetheless, "Season-to-date destination guest visitation at our western U.S. resorts was below our expectations, which we believe was negatively impacted by the extreme weather causing resort closures and the airline disruptions that impacted travel across the U.S. during the peak holiday period,” said Lynch. Although, she anticipates that strong conditions at VR’s western resorts, pre-committed guests, and current lodging booking trends, will strengthen visitation later in the season.