Major capital investments announced for upcoming seasons
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Vail Resorts said business bounced back after a slow start to the season, with some of the company’s resorts posting record business during the Christmas holiday period. VR’s net income climbed 30.5 percent, to $60.5 million in the second fiscal quarter compared to last season, with skier visits up 2.9 percent and mountain net revenue up by 9.5 percent.
“We are very pleased with our performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, which was notable for two distinct dynamics we experienced in the quarter,” VR CEO Rob Katz said this week during a call announcing the company’s second quarter earnings. “The first was our results through the middle of December, which were marked by unusually warm and dry weather in Colorado that limited the terrain we could open, leading to lower than expected results for our four Colorado resorts.
“The second began with the Christmas and New Year’s holidays as weather conditions in Colorado returned to more normal patterns, leading to strong visitation and significant consumer spending in our ancillary businesses producing a record holiday season,” Katz said, adding that the momentum continued though the end of January.
Lift revenue, excluding season passes, climbed 11.9 percent; dining revenue increased 11.7 percent; retail andrental revenue up 10.7 percent, and ski school revenue climbed 9.5 percent.
Katz said the company’s lodging business benefited from increased holiday visitation and a higher demand for luxury rooms, with revenue at VR hotels and condos increasing 5.5 percent from last year.
Capital investments planned
Vail Resort also announced it will invest more than ever before in improvements during the coming year, including the first phase of an ambitious summer recreation plan (pending final U.S. Forest Service approval), with zip lines, ropes courses, climbing walls, mountain roller coasters and summer tubing. The company estimates the summer attractions will generate about $7 million of new revenue during the first full summer of operation.
Vail is also planning on adding new lift-served terrain on Peak 6 at Breckenridge, touting it as “another iconic feature,” that will better disperse skiers at the crowded Summit County resort.
Community and environmental groups opposed to the Peak 6 expansion are still considering a lawsuit that would challenge Forest Service approval for the project.
Other Colorado improvements include a new 500-seat restaurant at Beaver Creek and replacing aging lifts at Vail.
“The 2013 capital plan is unprecedented in its size and underscores our operating philosophy of continually reinvesting in our resorts to offer the absolute highest quality experience to our guests and highlights several of our unique growth opportunities in Epic Discovery and newly acquired resorts,” Katz said.
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