While Vail Resorts is creating some consumer excitement over the coming 2005-06 ski season, the company’s first fiscal quarter, which relies primarily on real estate sales, conferences, and summer activities, is seeing some considerable improvements to its top line. Even though the company is operating at a considerable loss during these seasonally slow quarters, it was able to improve its EBITDA margin as a percentage of sales.

Vail’s Mountain revenue for the first fiscal quarter of 2006 was $40.3 million, a 16.8% increase from $34.5 million for the comparable period last year. Lodging revenue for the quarter decreased 9.7%, to $41.8 million. Resort revenue, which is the combination of Mountain and Lodging revenues, inched up 1.6%, to $82.1 million while Resort expense, excluding stock-based compensation expense, increased 1.1%, to $108.6 million. The Resort segment’s EBITDA was a loss of $27.1 million, a 2.9% improvement from a loss of $27.9 million LY.

Looking ahead, Vail’s CEO Adam Aron is excited about the early season momentum the company’s various resorts have generated. Every one of Vail’s Colorado resorts is reporting record snowfall for the season-to-date, and early bookings at the resort are increasing in the low- to mid-single digits. At the same time, third party hotels and travel agencies are reporting double-digit increases in Colorado ski vacations. Vail also has booked over $50 million in season pass sales, a 7% increase over last year.