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Vail Resorts reports significant downhill drop in skier visits from last season

Through the opening weekend of this year, dining revenue is down 3.6% and retail revenue at resorts has fallen 1.8% compared to last season.
Credit: DBJ

Paltry early-season snow in British Columbia and Washington state is dragging down visitation for Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) throughout its North American portfolio, leaving skier visits down 7.8% through Jan. 5 as compared to last year despite the fact that holiday-season visits were up at all of the Broomfield-based company’s other resorts this season.

Skier visits is not the only number in decline year-over-year for the company, which operates 34 resorts in the United States and Canada, including five in Colorado — Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte. Through the opening weekend of this year, dining revenue is down 3.6% and retail revenue at resorts has fallen 1.8% compared to last season. Meanwhile, lift-ticket revenue is up 0.4%, while ski-school revenue has jumped by 2%.

In a news release, CEO Rob Katz attributed much of the skier drop-off following last year’s good season to the poor conditions at Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and at Stevens Pass in Washington, noting that season-to-date snowfall at Whistler in particular is 60% below the 30-year average. That has impacted both destination and local ski visits at one of the company’s largest resorts, though Katz added that improved conditions there in recent weeks have enabled officials finally to get all of Whistler Blackcomb open.

Even with the early-season stumbles, Katz added, he is not lowering guidance for company earnings in the 2019-20 fiscal year, citing strong season-pass sales along with other factors.

>>>Read more at the Denver Business Journal.

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