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Vail Resorts says last season’s skier visits, revenue considerably higher over 2020-21 winter

Locals told KPCW that crowds over the holidays were as big as they'd ever seen at PCMR.
Locals told KPCW that crowds over the holidays were as big as they'd ever seen at PCMR.

Park City Mountain Resort parent company Vail Resorts announced that company-wide skier visits, ticket revenue, and ski school revenue were all up compared to the previous winter.

Season-end numbers released this week by PCMR owner Vail Resorts show a considerable bump in several metrics for this past winter.

From the start of the winter season through April 17th, Vail Resorts reports a 12.5% increase in skier visits compared to the 2020-21 season.

Lift ticket revenue for the same period was also up almost 20%. Revenue for rentals and retail was up 39%, ski school was up 53%, and dining was up over 73% compared to the 2020-21 winter.

Vail Resorts’ CEO Kirsten Lynch said the bump in numbers was expected, due in part to how pandemic shutdowns and restrictions affected the 2020-21 season.

She said while early season conditions were a challenge across the company’s 40 properties, larger crowds between January and the end of the season were responsible for increases in revenue.

Lynch did not mention specific U.S. resorts by name, but added that higher season pass sales translated to “particularly strong destination visitation,” and that lift ticket sales at the company’s Colorado and Utah resorts “exceeded expectations.”

Those exceeded expectations translated into headaches for some locals, who complained on social media and to the city council about diminished experiences on-mountain due to crowds, reduced available terrain and insufficient staffing levels.

Park City saw record levels of occupancy over the Christmas and New Years holiday and experienced persistent traffic issues throughout much of last winter due to ski resort traffic.

In addition, staffing shortages in January due in part to COVID-19 led to some terrain at PCMR to be temporarily closed.

PCMR was also granted approval by the city to upgrade its Silverlode and Eagle lifts this week, adding more capacity to both. Those projects are expected to begin this summer and be complete in time for the start of the 2022-23 season.

Lynch said the company will comment on next season’s Epic Pass sales in June’s third quarter earnings release.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.