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Visitation to Vail Resorts down, ticket sales up to begin ski season

Skiers line up on New Year's Eve at Park City Mountain Resort
Skiers line up on New Year's Eve at Park City Mountain Resort.

Vail Resorts says compared to a year ago, there have been fewer skiers so far this season, but revenue is still up.

According to a mid-season analysis by Vail Resorts released Friday, visitation is down 1.7% across all resorts from the same time period the year before, and down 18% compared to two years ago.

Vail CEO Kirsten Lynch said it’s no surprise. 

This season “got off to a slow start with challenging early season conditions that were worse than our expectations, resulting in delayed openings and limited open terrain,” she said, and the impact was especially noticeable through December 26.

In November, Park City Mountain Resort was supposed to open on November 19th, but had to push back opening day to November 28th due to lack of snow.

Lynch also suggested the spread of COVID-19 has been a factor nationwide.

“We believe that the significant acceleration of COVID-19 cases associated with the Omicron variant has negatively impacted our results along with the broader travel sector,” Lynch said. “We expect certain guests reconsidered travel plans and were impacted by related flight cancellations.”

Despite the decrease in turnout this year, Vail reported it brought in about 25% more money from ticket sales through January 2, compared to last year through January 3.

Comparing the same time periods, Vail resorts also made significantly more from ski schools and restaurants. For both categories, revenue jumped by about 60% this year.

But the first half of the 2019-2020 season two years ago brought in more visitors and revenue than each of the past two years.

Total skier visits this year is almost 20% lower than in the same time frame in 2019, and ticket sales were 5% lower.

The full metrics report can be found at vailresorts.com.

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