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Vail Resorts 2012 earnings, revenue and skier visits down

Company reports increases in season pass sales and advance bookings

Breckenridge ski resort peaks seen from Dillon, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After one of the toughest seasons in memory, Vail Resorts wrapped up its fiscal year 2012 with earnings down about 7.5 percent from 2011, according to the company’s earnings statement released today (Sept. 25).

Total net revenue was $1,024.4 million in 2012 compared to $1,167.0 million in the prior year, a 12.2 percent decrease.

For 2012, VR reported a net income of $16.5 million, down from $34.5 million in 2011, as skier visits dropped steeply at the company’s California and Colorado ski areas. In Colorado (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge) visits dropped 8.9 percent, from 5.2 million in 2011 to 4.8 million in 2012.

Overall VR skier visits dropped by 12.1 percent, from 7 million in 2011 to 6.1 million in 2012.

The company’s California areas saw visits drop 22.4 percent, from 1.6 million in 2011 to 1.3 million in 2012, with the decline partly offset by a higher effective lift ticket price, up for $49 in 2011 to $56 in 2012.

Skiers and snowboarders apparently are optimistic for the coming season. During the quarterly earnings call, Vail CEO Rob Katz said season pass sales through Sept. 23 are up 17 percent, with revenue from pass sales up 21 percent over the previous season.

To-date, the company has sold about 178,000 season passes, CEO Rob Katz said in the earnings statement.

“I am very pleased with our fourth quarter and fiscal year results,” Katz said. “In the fourth quarter, our Resort Reported EBITDA was improved compared to the prior year, reflecting enhanced summer guest visitation.

“For the full fiscal year, I am very proud of our results given that the 2011/ 2012 ski season was the most challenging winter in the history of the United States ski industry and our performance demonstrated the resiliency of our business model.”

“In the Mountain Segment, net revenues actually increased 1.9 percent for Fiscal 2012 despite total skier visits declining 12.1 percent compared to Fiscal 2011,” Katz said, attributing the gain to higher ticket prices, season pass sales, more spending by skiers at resorts and increased international visits.

Similarly, in the lodging sector, Katz said that, even though the poor snow season had impacts, the effects were offset by higher room rates and summer operations, especiall at the  Grand Teton Lodge Company operations, adding up to an increase in total lodging revenues.

“Resort Reported EBITDA declined 3.8 percent from Fiscal 2011 when adjusting for one time items (including the timing of the Northstar, Kirkwood and Skiinfo acquisitions and a prior year litigation settlement),” Katz said. “We feel this modest decline is particularly noteworthy when considering that Fiscal 2011 was an all-time record snowfall year and Fiscal 2012 was the lowest snowfall season in our history.”

Net real estate revenue was down from more than $200 million in 2011, to just $47.2 million in 2012, with the year-to-year variance “driven by the Fiscal 2011 closing of 71 condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail for $186.4 million, which included 45 units sold to The Ritz-Carlton Development Company at the completion of construction on the project,” according to VR.

In 2012, the company closed on thirteen condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail ($33.2 million of revenue with an average selling price per unit of $2.6 million and an average price per square foot of $1,146) and seven condominium units at One Ski Hill Place ($8.6 million of revenue with an average selling price per unit of $1.2 million and an average price per square foot of $975).

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