Vail Resorts is reporting sales of its season passes are up for the 2023/2024 snow season.
In its first quarter earnings report, the company said pass sales through Dec. 4 for the upcoming season increased about 4% in units and approximately 11% in dollars compared to the same period last year.
“The results of our North American pass sales demonstrate strong loyalty among our pass holders, with particularly strong pass sales growth from renewing pass holders, and also from guests in our database who previously purchased passes but did not buy a pass in the prior season,” said Kirsten Lynch, CEO of Vail Resorts, on an earnings call with investors.
Vail Resorts operates 37 mountain resorts and regional ski areas including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Crested Butte in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area; and Stowe, Mount Snow, and Okemo in Vermont.
The company’s main pass product is the Epic pass.
Q1 2024 Results
Vail’s net loss widened to $175.5 million for the quarter compared to a net loss of $137 million for the same period last year, owing primarily to “weather-related challenges” in Australia.
Resort net revenue fell 8.9% to $254.3 million in the quarter.
Total net revenue decreased 7.5% to $258.6 million for the quarter compared to the prior-year period.
“Our first fiscal quarter historically operates at a loss, given that our North American and European mountain resorts are generally not open for ski season operations during the period,” Lynch said.
The quarter’s results are driven by winter operating results at Vail’s Australian resorts and its North American resorts’ summer activities.
“We are pleased with our results for the quarter, which exceeded our expectations due to the timing of expenses, primarily related to season ramp-up activities,” Lynch said.
Mountain Segment Down
For the company’s mountain segment, net revenue decreased 14.5% to $172.5 million for the three months ended Oct. 31, 2023, compared to the prior-year period.
The decrease was primarily driven by Vail’s Australian ski areas, which had poor weather that affected terrain in the current year, compared to record visitation and good snow conditions in the prior year.
Heading into the 2023/2024 North American and European ski season, Vail’s Rockies resorts and Whistler Blackcomb have opened with “typical conditions” for the time of year, according to Lynch.
Andermatt-Sedrun resort has had “particularly strong conditions” to start the season.
“Tahoe’s early season has been more challenging with limited snowfall and warm temperatures to date, and our resorts in the East have experienced typical seasonal variability for this point in the season,” Lynch said.
On November 30, Vail announced it had acquired a majority stake in Crans-Montana Mountain Resort in Switzerland, the company’s second ski resort in Europe.
When the acquisition closes, the company will acquire an 84% ownership stake in Remontées Mécaniques Crans Montana Aminona SA, which controls and operates all the resort’s lifts and supporting mountain operations, an 80% ownership stake in SportLife AG, which operates one of the ski schools located at the resort, and 100% of 11 restaurants located on and around the mountain.
The enterprise value of the resort operations is expected to be CHF 118.5 million (US$135 million.)
For fiscal 2024, Vail is reaffirming its guidance of net income between $316 million and $394 million and EBITDA between $912 million and $968 million.
The guidance assumes the economic environment and weather conditions will be normal for the 2023/2024 North American and European ski season and the 2024 Australian ski season.
“Heading into the 2023/2024 North American and European ski season, we are encouraged by staffing levels on track to deliver an outstanding guest experience and the strength of our pass sales, though it is important to note that our growth in pass sales is expected to be partially offset by reduced lift ticket sales as we continue to successfully convert guests from lift tickets to pass products,” Lynch said.
“In addition, there continues to be uncertainty around the economic outlook and the impact that may have on travel and consumer behavior as we head into our primary operating season.”
Bart Schaneman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.