Intrawest mountain resorts experienced mixed results with generally good weather conditions in the East and in the U.S. west, but this was offset by the most unfavorable weather conditions for the ski industry in 40 years in British Columbia. Total skier visits at Intrawest resorts throughout the year inched-up 1.0% to 7.23 million compared to 7.15 million last year. Revenue from resort and travel operations was $862.5 million in 2005 compared with $541.3 million in 2004. Revenue from the mountain segment increased from $488.2 million to $545.4 million while revenue from the non- mountain segment increased from $53.1 million to $317.1 million.
The companys mountain resorts saw a 6% increase in revenue at the eastern Canadian and U.S. resorts and an 11% increase in revenue at the western U.S. resorts. This was partially offset by a 10% decrease in revenue at the western Canadian resorts.
British Columbia experienced heavy rainfall in mid-January followed by warm, dry conditions through mid-March. Although conditions improved after mid-March, the company said it was too late to change market perceptions and the decline in visits continued in the fourth quarter. As a result, skier visits decreased 14% at Whistler Blackcomb and 7% at Panorama in 2005.
Intrawests eastern and western U.S. resorts benefited from strong season pass programs, the maturing of their villages and generally good weather conditions, particularly in the third quarter. Consequently, skier visits increased 7% at the eastern resorts and 9% at the western U.S. resorts. For the company as a whole, the 1% increase in skier visits boosted mountain segment revenue by $4.4 million. Revenue per skier visit increased moderately from $56.36 in 2004 to $56.74 in 2005.
Revenue from golf and other summer activities increased 7% across the companys mountain resorts from $39.1 million in 2004 to $42.0 million in 2005, led primarily by Whistler Blackcomb – due in part to continued growth in mountain bike park visits – and Tremblant – due to a 32% increase in summer lift rides.
Revenue at Alpine Helicopters decreased 4% in 2005 due to reduced heli-skiing revenue in the weather-challenged third quarter and lower revenue from forest fire-fighting activities in the summer. Strong visit growth in the western U.S. and the opening of a new outlet store in Summit County enabled the Intrawest Retail Group to increase its revenue by 21% in 2005.
The company said that its newly acquired luxury adventure travel tour business, Abercrombie & Kent, “far exceeded our expectations” as the market rebounded from several years of contraction brought on by economic and geo-political events. The company provided no guidance for the coming quarter or year.