Sales at Specialty Sports Ventures Ltd (SSV) nearly reached the $200 million mark in the year ended July 31, according to the latest earnings report from its parent company Vail Resorts Inc.

Vail Resorts reported its retail/rental revenues, which are derived primarily from SSV’s 180 retail/rental shops, reached $199.4 million, up 9.7 percent from fiscal 2012. That included $22.6 million in fourth quarter revenue, which was up 8.7 percent. SSV’s stores shift their focus toward selling cycling, tennis, golf and other gear as well as outdoor furniture in the fiscal fourth quarter. The company did not break out comp store sales growth.

The increase in retail sales was due primarily to Any Mountain stores in the San Francisco bay area and stores near the company’s Tahoe resorts, where sales increased a combined $5.5 million due to increased skier visitation during the 2012/2013 ski season and the addition of the Kirkwood resort. Sales at stores near MTN’s Colorado resorts were up a combined $3.7 million, while sales at increased $2.8 million. These gains were partially offset by decreases at Colorado front-range stores which were negatively impacted by the slow start to the 2012/13 ski season. Excluding acquisitions, retail/rental revenue increased $13.6 million, or 7.5 percent.

Retail cost of sales increased 9.5 percent to $88.5 million, or 44.2 percent of retail/rental sale. The increase was primarily due to higher retail sales and an increase in on-line sales, which generate a lower gross profit margin. There was also more discounting by stores located in major urban areas.

MTN has acquired Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan and taken over operations of Canyons in Park City, Utah since the first quarter of 2013. It already owned Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada and the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, WY. 

Season pass bookings up sharply headed into 2013/14 season

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said that  as of Sept. 22, the company’s season pass sales for the upcoming snow season were running 19 percent ahead of comparable levels a year earlier in units and 23 percent in dollars.

“These growth rates are consistent with the growth rates we reported in Spring 2013 and exceeded our expectations,” said Katz. “Since announcing the Canyons transaction in late May 2013, we have seen a material acceleration in pass sales in the Tahoe and Utah markets as well as in our destination markets. Our Minneapolis and Detroit markets continue to show growth rates well in excess of our overall results and we continue to see strong performance in Colorado as well. We believe this will be a strong overall year for pass sales, though we expect the final growth rates for the full selling season to be materially lower than where we are through September, as we know a portion of the significant increase in sales to date is due to pass holders who purchased last fall buying passes earlier in the year.”

MTN expects Mountain Reported EBITDA, which reflects EBITDA from lift tickets sales, ski lessons, equipment rental, dining, private clubs and retail sales, will reach between $263.0 million and $278.0 million in fiscal 2014, up at least 15.0 percent from fiscal 2013. The guidance anticipates contributions from newly acquired resorts and stores as well as “normal weather conditions and a continuation of the current economic environment.”

“Fiscal 2014 will be an exciting year for Vail Resorts,” said Katz. “We are integrating Canyons Resort, Afton Alps and Mount Brighton into our pass products, marketing efforts and operations. The opening of Peak 6 at Breckenridge, Chair 4 at Vail and the new Red Tail on-mountain restaurant at Beaver Creek will be important drivers of growth for these critical resorts in Colorado. And we will continue to build and open more summer activities over the course of the fiscal year as part of our Epic Discovery program across our resorts.”