Whistler Boosts Vail Resorts

Vail Resorts (VR) reported fiscal 2017 full-year results last week, including EBITDA (Net Profit + Interest + Taxes + Depreciation + Amortization) of $593 million. That represents growth of 31 percent compared to 2016, due in large part to inclusion of results from Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe in 2017.

Without those acquisitions and other one-time items, EBITDA in fiscal 2017 increased 9.1 percent compared to the prior year.

VR’s total net revenue increased 19.1 percent, to $1.9 billion, and net income was $210.6 million, compared to $149.8 million in the prior fiscal year.

Total skier visits for fiscal 2017 increased to approximately 12.0 million, an increase of 20.1 percent compared to the prior fiscal year, which includes incremental skier visits from Whistler Blackcomb.

Total visitation at VR’s U.S. resorts declined 5.4 percent, primarily as a result of the poor early season conditions in Colorado and the late timing of the Easter holiday.

Total lift revenue increased 24.4 percent, compared to the prior fiscal year, primarily due to incremental lift revenue from Whistler Blackcomb. Other revenue departments tended to show similar double-digit growth.

Excluding Whistler Blackcomb, total lift revenue increased 6.4 percent compared to the prior fiscal year; on the same basis, results for most revenue departments were in the low single digits.

“Our U.S. resorts delivered another year of strong performance,” said Vail CEO Rob Katz. Park City saw double-digit EBITDA growth, Colorado areas had “incremental” growth after a slow start to the season, and Tahoe was strong, with “record revenues in all lines of business.”

“In its first year as part of Vail Resorts, Whistler Blackcomb delivered outstanding results that were well above our expectations,” Katz said.

VR’s U.S. summer business continued to grow, “although results in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 were below expectations, primarily as a result of a delayed opening for Breckenridge’s new activities due to late snowfall and the Heavenly Coaster being closed this summer due to damage from the significant snowfall in Tahoe this past winter,” he added.

“As our summer business continues to mature, we expect to continue improving and developing our operational consistency and our pricing and promotion to make the most of the already existing summer visitation at our resorts,” he concluded.

For the coming season, season pass sales through Sept. 24, 2017 increased approximately 17 percent in units and 23 percent in dollars, including Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe pass sales in both periods. “We believe this growth continues to be driven by our increasingly sophisticated and targeted marketing efforts to move destination guests into our season pass products, the full inclusion of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe on the Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass for the 2017/2018 ski season, as well as strong results from guests in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest following great conditions in the 2016/2017 ski season,” Katz said.

“With the significant growth already achieved, we do expect our percentage growth rate for the remainder of the selling period to be more modest, resulting in a lower overall percentage growth rate for the year,” he added.

For fiscal 2018, VR expects net income between $234 million and $272 million, and EBITDA to be between $652 million and $682 million, growth of roughly 10 to 20 percent.