Courtesy of Vail Resorts
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April 27, 2009 — The final numbers on Vail's 2008-09 ski season are in, and the most significant one was probably the 437 inches of snow that fell during the season -- a full 87 inches above the seasonal average of 350.
Twenty-six inches off last season's third-highest all-time total of 463 inches, it was still nearly enough snow to offset the global economic collapse that hit last fall.
Skier visits were off 6.2 percent and lift ticket revenue was down 8.7 percent through April 12, compared to the 2007-08 season. Bookings at Vail Resorts owned and managed hotels, however, were off 12.8 percent.
The good news? Epic Pass sales (a season pass offering unlimited skiing to all five Vail Resorts mountains -- Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Heavenly, Calif., Keystone and Vail, plus Arapahoe Basin) were ahead of last spring's pace. That was when the $599 pass was first announced.
But here's the Vail Resorts' press release on the "certain ski season metric," because nothing says it quite the way the Investor Relations Department does:
BROOMFIELD, Colo. -- Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) today (April 17) reported certain ski season metrics for the comparative periods from the beginning of the 2008/2009 ski season through April 12, 2009, and for the prior year period through April 13, 2008, which includes interim period data and is subject to fiscal third quarter end review and adjustments.
· Season to date total skier visits through April 12, 2009, for the Company’s five mountain resorts were down 6.2% compared to the prior year season to date period ending April 13, 2008.
· Season to date total lift ticket revenue through April 12, 2009, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was down 8.7% compared to the prior year season to date period ending April 13, 2008.
· Additionally, the Company is providing the following update on lodging: Bookings for the 2008/2009 ski season through the Company’s central reservations and directly at the Company’s owned and managed properties as of March 31, 2009, were down 12.8% in room nights compared to the same prior year period, inclusive of actual guest stays season to date.
Commenting on the ski season metrics season to date, which does not include the final week of ski season operations at Vail, Breckenridge and Heavenly as well as any quarter end adjustments, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer said, “Our season to date metrics through Sunday, April 12, 2009, compared to the prior year period ending Sunday, April, 13, 2008, experienced a slight decline in the trends compared to the prior interim season statistics released through March 1, 2009, as compared to March 2, 2008, with total lift revenue down 8.7% versus the 8.0% reported for the March 1, 2009, season to date period.
"Ski school, dining and retail/rental revenue all experienced similar slight declines over this time period. This was attributable to a deterioration in our ski season metrics during the last two weeks of March 2009, where the close-in booking pattern, which had been strong throughout the winter ski season did not materialize to the same degree.
"This was partially offset by a recovery in our ski season metrics in April 2009, with Easter occurring on April 12, 2009, compared to March 23rd in the prior year period and with favorable snow conditions at our Colorado resorts.”
Commenting on Epic Season Pass sales, Katz continued, “On March 11, 2009, we announced the return of the Epic Season Pass for the 2009/2010 ski season. We are very pleased with the number of 2009/2010 Epic Season Passes sold to date, which is already significantly exceeding the number of Epic Season Passes sold in the entire prior year spring sales period through May 31, 2008.”
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