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Vail CEO Rob Katz Speaks About Epic Day Pass And Peaks Acquisition

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Vail Mountain CEO Rob Katz spoke with investors as part of the company’s quarterly earnings report.

In the Vail Resorts Fiscal 2020 First Quarter report the company reported a 22% increase in Season Pass units sold through December 2nd.

After reporting on the quarter Vail CEO Rob Katz spent a fair amount of time fielding questions about the Epic Day Pass product launched last year. The pass is designed to allow customers to pre-pay for one to seven days within Vail’s collection of resorts with or without Holiday Restrictions, the pass is no longer available to purchase for the 2019/2020 season.

Katz said the product was a success although they had less customer trade down from other products than they expected, he said that spoke well for the connection that have with those guests who stuck with their current pass option.

“It’s also a program that will take time, just like when we first introduced the Epic Pass,” Katz continued. “One of the things that was our biggest challenge was just convincing people who didn’t live near the ski resort that a season pass, it was a potential option for them. Now, I think we’re really on a new journey, which is convincing these one, two, three, four-day skiers that actually a pass product is right for them, gives them a great discount. The economics makes sense clearly, but obviously getting that message out takes a number of years and all the marketing efforts that we put into it. So, I think that still lies ahead for the overall program and the opportunity with Epic Day Pass.”

Katz says he believes that like other products from Vail the Day Pass will likely take a number of years for the product to reach maturity. Although the company says it’s serving an important role for growth right now.

“Both bringing people back into the program, but most importantly, introducing new people to the program,” Katz said. “So, that was the predominant I think success that we saw with Epic Day Pass both in terms of people who were previously on lift tickets and prospects people who were not necessarily in our database before.”

Additionally, in September Vail Resorts bought Peak Resorts adding 17 U.S. ski areas to the Vail network located in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.

“We’ve been quite pleased with the results from Peak, obviously including Peak’s program,” Katz explained. “They have a base of passes, obviously, that depresses our growth rate modestly, but then obviously there’s (an incremental opportunity) by having Peak in the program both in terms of the people who might convert or upgrade over to our passes, but also obviously new people coming in from the different destinations where Peak has a resort. So, we feel very good about it. Again, in the first year, we haven’t had a full opportunity yet to really market to those guests to do all of our data collection and capture. So, we believe there is still a very strong opportunity on that front for next year.”

Katz also mentioned to investors the improvements made at Park City Mountain including the new Over and Out lift and upgrades to Tombstone BBQ in the Canyons area.

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