Vail's Fourth Quarter: Season Pass Sales Strong

skierVail Resorts reported fourth quarter results boosted by growing season pass sales and continued strong performance at its Colorado resorts. 

Sales of season passes through September 21, 2014, for the upcoming 2014/2015 ski season were up approximately 14 percent in units and approximately 18 percent in sales dollars versus the comparable period in the prior year. Vail estimates that approximately 55 percent to 60 percent of the company's total sales are made by this date. 

CEO Rob Katz said, "We are very pleased with our performance this fiscal year.  We achieved record Resort revenue and Resort Reported EBITDA that reflects an outstanding season in Colorado, with a particularly strong spring break and late season, and significant year-over-year EBITDA growth in our Lodging business. We achieved these results despite near record low snowfall through January in the Tahoe region. Canyons and the Urban Ski Areas delivered strong results in line with our expectations. Our results continue to reflect increases in overall visitation, pricing, average guest spend and season pass sales. Summer revenue increased over the prior fiscal year as we continue to build out our summer activities, including new zip lines at Vail and Breckenridge, as well as challenge ropes courses at Vail and Heavenly."

"Total Mountain net revenue increased 11.1 percent for fiscal 2014," Katz said. "This was primarily driven by a 10.2 percent increase in total skier visits and a 14.4 percent increase in lift revenue. This included a 20.1 percent increase in season pass revenue, which represented approximately 40 percent of total lift revenue in fiscal 2014. Our Colorado resorts had a particularly strong year with 8.4 percent visitation growth, combined with an improvement in yields per skier visit in our ancillary ski school, food and beverage and retail / rental businesses. The challenging conditions in Tahoe resulted in a 16.2 percent decline in visits, with modestly lower declines in the ancillary lines of business. Overall, we are enthusiastic about the trends we saw last year in guest spending which supported our strong results."

"Additionally, our Lodging business showed strong growth with net revenue increasing 14.8 percent compared to the prior fiscal year, and an increase in EBITDA of 37.5 percent primarily driven by increases in both the Average Daily Rate (ADR) and occupancy, leading to a 12.7 percent increase in Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR)," Katz said. 

Commenting on Vail Resorts' recent acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort, Katz said, "We anticipate that Park City Mountain Resort will contribute approximately $35 million of EBITDA in fiscal 2015, excluding litigation, transaction and integration expenses, which we estimate will be approximately $5 million in fiscal 2015.  We expect to generate significant additional EBITDA growth as we implement our plans to combine the ski experience of Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons into the largest mountain resort in the United States with over 7,000 acres of skiable terrain.  We believe the combined resort, with an unparalleled location in Park City, will attract destination skiers from across the United States and around the world and will drive season pass sales, visitation and ancillary business.  We intend to build the lift and other infrastructure that will connect the two resorts during the summer of 2015 and will be looking to upgrade or add new lifts, restaurants and snowmaking capabilities at both resorts, all subject to regulatory approval.  We intend to provide more detail on our full capital plans in March 2015.  We look forward to working with the Park City community as well as local and county officials to finalize this plan."