Snow boosts Vail Resorts’ second-quarter profit, improvements planned |

Snow boosts Vail Resorts’ second-quarter profit, improvements planned

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — As Vail Resorts Inc. plans improvements at many of its resorts, the company’s second-quarter earnings rose 30 percent from the same period a year ago, thanks in part to a strong holiday season as snow returned to Colorado in time for people celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve, the company said Wednesday.

The company also announced that its board of directors has authorized increasing the quarterly cash dividend 10 percent to 20.75 cents per share, payable April 9 to shareholders of record on March 25.

The Broomfield, Colo.-based ski company said it also plans $130 million to $140 million in capital spending this calendar year.

Vail Resorts reported net income of $60.6 million, or $1.65 per share, for the three months that ended Jan. 31. That was 5 cents below analysts’ expectations. Revenue increased 13 percent to $422.4 million.

The company’s shares closed Wednesday down 21 cents to $56.70 but gained $1.40, or 2.5 percent, in extended trading after the results were released.

Vail Resorts operates Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area; Afton Alps near Minneapolis; and Mount Brighton near Detroit.

Excluding newly acquired Kirkwood, Afton Alps and Mount Brighton, skier visits at the company’s resorts were up 2.9 percent in the quarter compared to a year earlier.

Vail Resorts’ capital spending plan for this year includes nearly $10 million in improvements at Afton Alps and nearly $10 million at Mount Brighton. The company plans dramatic snowmaking improvements to extend the season, plus state-of-the-art terrain parks.

About $25 million in spending is planned for the first phase of Epic Discovery, the company’s plan to transform summer activities at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly and Northstar with activities like zip lines, climbing walls and rope courses.

A 30-foot tall climbing wall, a separate 40-foot tall climbing structure, a zipline canopy tour and four approximately 1,000-foot-long ziplines near the top of Heavenly’s gondola are among the proposals planned at the resort this summer.

Other spending will add two lifts and 543 acres to Breckenridge as part of its Peak 6 expansion, building a 500-seat restaurant at Beaver Creek in advance of the 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships, replacing a lift at Vail with a high-speed, six-person version, and rolling out the fourth generation of its EpicMix online and mobile application that lets customers track their mountain activities.

— Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Adam Jensen contributed to this story.

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