Vail Resorts: 16-17 ski season off to slow start, recent snow provides better outlook | TahoeDailyTribune.com

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Vail Resorts: 16-17 ski season off to slow start, recent snow provides better outlook

Vail Resorts, which owns and operates Heavenly Mountain Resort and Kirkwood Mountain, reported a slow start to the 2016-17 ski season. However, the company remains confident in its overall outlook for 2017.

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vail Resorts reported Friday certain ski season metrics for the comparative periods from the beginning of the ski season through Sunday, and for the prior year period through Jan. 10, 2016.

The reported ski season metrics are for the company's North American mountain resorts, adjusted as if Whistler Blackcomb was owned in both periods using actual exchange rates in each applicable period.

The metrics exclude results from Perisher, in Australia and the company's urban ski areas in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin.

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 up 4.3 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period.

SLOW START, GOOD OUTLOOK

Season-to-date ski school revenue was up 1.5 percent and dining revenue was down 6.4 percent compared to the prior year period.

Additionally, retail and rental revenue for North American resort store locations was down 2 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period.

Season-to-date total skier visits for the company's North American mountain resorts were down 13.2 percent compared to the prior year season-to-date period.

Commenting on the ski season to date, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said, "The 2016-17 ski season got off to a slow start across our U.S. resorts due to poor early season conditions that reduced visitation, particularly among our local guests.

"We had much more normal conditions at our U.S. resorts in the holiday period between Dec. 19, 2016 and January 8, 2017 during which time we saw strong visitation from our destination guests and growth in lift revenue and in each of our ancillary revenue lines, with ski school performing particularly well. Results at Whistler Blackcomb have also been strong, with increases in visitation and revenue at the resort compared to the prior record year.

"Although our season-to-date metrics were impacted by the weak start to the year, we remain confident in our outlook for fiscal year 2017," Katz added. "We had very strong season pass sales growth leading up to the ski season and our much improved results through the holiday period were in line with our expectations.

"Additionally, recent snow storms in January have created outstanding conditions for guests to enjoy across all of our Western resorts. As a result, we expect to achieve full year performance within the resort reported (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) guidance range we issued Dec. 9, 2016, assuming normal conditions at our resorts through the remainder of the season and a continuation of the current economic environment."

Vail Resorts stock was at $161.57 at the end of the New York Stock Exchange's Tuesday trading day, a decrease of $3.47.