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Vail Resorts Reports Drop in skier numbers thus far in ’24…..

No shocker here, Vail Resorts, owner of a multitude of resorts across America is reporting a significant drop of 16% in skier visits. This is no surprise and Telluride has experienced a similar slow down. Numerous reasons from cheaper travel to Europe for skiing compounded by a slow start of quality snow conditions for most resorts of the West. That said, with the recent two week pattern of snow, most resorts are now in good shape and the future weather pattern seems active.

Today, Vail Resorts issued a press release comparing ski season metrics from the beginning of the current season to the same period last year for its North American mountain resorts. While the reported metrics pertain specifically to Vail’s resorts, they offer insights into broader industry trends.

Key findings include a 16.2% decrease in season-to-date total skier visits compared to the previous year. Interestingly, despite the drop in guest numbers, Vail reports financial resilience. Season-to-date total lift ticket revenue, including a portion of season pass revenue, increased by 2.6% compared to the prior year. However, revenue from mountain amenities showed a mixed trend, with ski school revenue up by 5.0% and dining revenue down by 5.8%.

Rental services also experienced a decline, with retail/rental revenue at North American resort and ski area stores down by 13.3%. Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch acknowledged the challenging conditions at the start of the 2023/2024 North American ski season but expressed satisfaction with the season-to-date results and guest service.

Despite unfavorable conditions affecting visitation, Vail highlighted the stabilizing effect of its season pass program and investments in resorts and employees. Lynch mentioned that the recent snowstorm over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend had improved conditions across resorts.

While the poor start to the season impacted local and destination skier visitation, Vail Resorts emphasized the mitigating impact of season pass sales on overall lift revenue. The company expressed optimism for the remainder of the season, citing improved conditions, ongoing investments, and the stability provided by the season pass program.