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Vail skiers visits drop 12 percent, revenue holds steady

Ticket sales, international visits help stabilize business in tough season

Vail Resorts had a tough season, but managed to sustain revenues with season pass sales and high lift ticket prices.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Vail Resorts reported a 9.8 percent drop in skier visits for the third quarter of the fiscal year, as poor snow conditions across the West kept skiers home in droves. For the season, skier visits at Vail Resorts were down 12.1 percent.

But the resort company, with major holdings in Colorado and California, was able to increase ancillary per-skier skier revenue by more than 11 percent and total mountain net revenue over last year, with increases in ticket-sales revenue and ski school operations.

Never prone to understatements, Vail CEO and board chairman Rob Katz called the winter of 2011-2012 “the most challenging winter in the history of the United States ski industry,” which might come as a surprise to some old-timers who lived through the mid-1970s drought, not to mention a low-snow year in the early 1980s on par with the season just past.

“Cumulative snowfall levels for the 2011/2012 ski season were down more than 50 percent across our resorts, compared with the prior year, and snowfall at our Colorado resorts was down more than 70 percent in March,” Katz said. “The lack of snow, combined with unseasonable temperatures, affected visitation levels during the key spring break and Easter vacation periods,” he added.

Katz said lift ticket revenue for the third quarter was up slightly, as was season pass revenue. International visits for the season increased 2 percent over last year.

Season pass sales for the coming year are up 17 percent, according to the latest earnings statement from Vail Resorts. Read the entire earnings statement here.

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