Visits are down almost 11 percent to Vail Resorts’ 13 North American ski areas, including Park City Mountain, due to the limited snow so far this winter, the company reported Friday.
“Given the truly historic low snowfall across our western U.S. resorts, we are pleased with our results to date,” said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz, citing the mitigating influence of season pass sales. Although visitation is down 10.8 percent, he noted, lift-ticket revenue was up 1.6 percent compared to the same time last season.
Other revenue streams more accurately reflect the weather-driven decline in visitation. Ski school income so far this season is down 4.5 percent, dining revenue has fallen 8.7 percent and retail/rental income has dropped 11.5 percent.
Katz did not break down the results by resort, but observed how bleak the snow situation was throughout the western states where Vail has most of its biggest resorts.
“Seasonal snowfall to date in Vail, Beaver Creek and Park City was the lowest level recorded in over 30 years,” he said, adding that for Vail and Beaver Creek, the snowfall total is more than 50 percent less than the next lowest season. Similarly, at Vail’s three California resorts, snowfall was “69 percent below the 20-year average.”
Snow conditions have been better at Whistler Blackcomb Resort in British Columbia and Stowe in Vermont, both of which have been “strong” performers this season, Katz said.
The company told investors to expect earnings to fall below earlier predictions due to the “challenging conditions.” But Katz said he didn’t foresee a great worsening, even if recent storms don’t persist, because season passes represent guaranteed revenue and Vail has made other investments designed to provide a “comprehensive guest experience” that goes beyond the slopes.