Vail Resorts reports significant revenue declines in early season

EAGLE — It’s no surprise that Vail Resorts is reporting some significant declines in its business this season.

On Friday, Jan. 15, the company reported metrics for the beginning of the ski season through Jan. 3 compared with the same period last season. The metrics are for the company’s North American ski areas, including Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort in Summit County and Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek Resort in nearby Eagle County.

The report indicated losses in the following areas:

Skier visits down 16.6%

  • Lift ticket revenue, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue, down 20.9%
  • Ski school revenue down 52.6%
  • Dining revenue down 66.2%
  • Retail and rental revenue down 39.2%

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz indicated that the declines were a result of pandemic-related restrictions and low snowfall early in the season.

“As expected, COVID-19 has had a significant negative impact on our 2020-21 North American ski season-to-date results,” Katz said in a news release. “Visitation across our North American resorts declined relative to prior year levels, primarily as a result of declines in visitation from nonpass, lift ticket purchases. We expect these declines were primarily driven by reduced demand for destination visitation at our Western resorts and COVID-19 related capacity limitations, which were further impacted by snowfall levels that were well below average at our Colorado, Utah and Tahoe resorts through the holiday season.”

Vail’s two resorts in Summit are significantly behind on snowfall. Breckenridge reached the 100-inch mark on the season Sunday, Jan. 17, a milestone it hit more than a month earlier on Dec. 14 last ski season. Keystone is sitting just shy at 99 inches. As of Monday, Jan. 18, Breckenridge had 49% of terrain open. Keystone was faring better at 82%.

The lack of snow is especially difficult for resorts this winter, when ski area capacities are limited. The ski areas and Summit County government have declined to say what exactly those capacity limits are, citing trade secrets.

Beyond skier visits, the resorts are seeing even bigger declines at restaurants and ski school operations.

“Consistent with our expectations, our ancillary lines of business saw material season-to-date revenue declines in excess of the declines in visitation as a result of the COVID-19 limitations and restrictions, particularly in food and beverage and ski school,” Katz said.

Katz added that despite the setbacks, “We are pleased with our overall revenue performance compared to the prior year period.”

Katz added that if capacity restrictions remain stable and normal snowfall conditions return to Colorado, Utah and the Lake Tahoe area, the company expects to see “improved performance” for the remainder of the season.

This story is from VailDaily.comSummit Daily contributed to this report.