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Visits to Whistler Down – Revenues Rise

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Skier and snowboarder visits to Whistler Blackcomb fell 9.3 percent, to 1.52 million compared to last season, according to Whistler Blackcomb Holding’s second quarter financial report, for the season through Mar. 31, 2015. Revenues, though, rose 1.5 percent, to $191.4 million, as the decline in visits was offset in part by an 11.1 percent increase in revenue per visit. Whistler Blackcomb Holdings has a 75 percent interest in and manages the entities that operate Whistler Blackcomb.

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For the season through May 3, WBH reported a total of 1.72 million visits, a drop of 9.1 percent.

“Our financial performance for the first half of 2015 clearly demonstrates the strength of our business while highlighting the importance of our pre-committed sales strategy,” said Dave Brownlie, president and CEO. Brownlie added that late-season snows allowed Whistler Mountain to extend its ski season to June 7, even as the resort has gotten an early start to its summer operations with the May 2 opening of its bike park.

Destination visits to Whistler increased, resulting in higher levels of guest spending. Increased lift ticket prices and lower use of multi-day tickets resulted in a higher yield on destination visits. Management estimated that total skier visits to date were comprised of 51 percent regional guests and 49 percent destination guests, a big shift from 59 percent and 41 percent, respectively, in the comparative period in the prior season.

Also, in December 2014 Whistler acquired Summit Ski Limited, a complementary ski, snowboard, and bike rental and retail business that it said contributed to an increase in retail and rental revenue compared to last year. The addition, coupled with “marginally” higher labor costs, led to increased operating expenses. But officials said increased spending on targeted marketing campaigns resulted in higher pre-sales.

As of March 31, 2015, Whistler had long-term debt outstanding of $221.0 million, a decrease of $11.0 million, or 4.7 percent, compared to $232.0 million at September 30, 2014. The company’s cash and cash equivalents balance at March 31, 2015 was $14.6 million, compared to $8.4 million at September 30, 2014. Whistler’s board of directors declared a dividend of $0.24375 per common share for the second quarter.

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