Vail Resorts Inc. reported season-to-date total skier visits for the company’s North American mountain resorts were down 10.8 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period, impacted by low snow levels in the western regions.
Season-to-date ski school revenue was down 4.5 percent and dining revenue was down 8.7 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period. Retail/rental revenue for North American resort store locations was down 11.5 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period.
Season-to-date total lift ticket revenue at the company’s North American mountain resorts, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was still up 1.6 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period.
The period covered ski season metrics for the comparative periods from the beginning of the ski season through January 7, 2018 , and for the prior year period through January 8, 2017 .
The reported ski season metrics are for its North American mountain resorts, adjusted as if Stowe was owned in both periods and also adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying current period exchange rates to the prior period for Whistler Blackcomb’s results. The metrics exclude results from Perisher and our urban ski areas in both periods. The data mentioned in this release is interim period data and is subject to fiscal quarter end review and adjustments.
Commenting on the ski season to date, Rob Katz , chief executive officer said, “Given the truly historic low snowfall across our western U.S. resorts, we are pleased with our results to date, which reflect the stability provided by our season pass program and the investments we have made in our resorts. The 2017/2018 ski season had a very challenging start across our western U.S. resorts due to poor conditions in the early season that continued through the holiday period, reducing both local and destination visitation and spending. In November and December, snowfall season to date in Vail, Beaver Creek and Park City was the lowest level recorded in over 30 years and in Vail and Beaver Creek snowfall is over 50 percent lower than the next lowest season, and Tahoe’s snowfall was 69 percent below the 20-year average. Fortunately, conditions have improved at our western U.S. resorts in the last week with expanded open terrain due to recent storms, and we expect a portion of the Back Bowls at Vail Mountain and Peak 6 at Breckenridge to open this weekend. However, we still remain behind typical conditions for this time of year in terms of open terrain and base depth. Conditions and financial results at Whistler Blackcomb have been strong and are consistent with last year’s record performance, and Stowe is off to a strong start in our first year of operating the resort.”
Katz continued, “As a result of the challenging conditions at our western U.S. resorts, we now expect full year Resort Reported EBITDA to be modestly below the low end of the guidance range we issued on December 7, 2017 , assuming a continuation of the improvement in conditions that we are currently seeing, such that our western U.S. resorts reach a normal terrain package within the next few weeks. To the extent that conditions improve more slowly, there could be further downside below our guidance range. However, we are encouraged by the experiences we deliver for our guests and how we have performed financially in previous challenging seasons, such as in 2011/2012, given our constant reinvestment in the comprehensive guest experience across our resorts and the strength of our season pass program.”
Vail Resorts’ subsidiaries operate eleven world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado ; Park City in Utah ; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada ; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada ; Stowe in Vermont ; Perisher in New South Wales, Australia ; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin ; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan.
Photo courtesy Vail Resorts