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Ski industry normalizing after post-COVID bump, Vail CEO says

Park City Mountain 60th Anniversary season, winter 2023/24
Jack Loosmann
Park City Mountain
Skiers upload at Park City Mountain during its 60th anniversary season.

Vail Resorts earned slightly more money this winter than it did last ski season, despite fewer skiers and ticket sales.

Vail CEO Kirsten Lynch told investors Thursday the company’s net ski season revenue increased 1% compared to last season.

Ski school, dining and rental spending from visitors held strong during the second and third quarters, she said, despite there being fewer visitors.

“Which we believe was driven by a combination of unfavorable conditions and broader industry normalization post-COVID, following record visitation in the US during the 2022-2023 ski season,” Lynch said during the company’s third quarter earnings call June 6.

Lift ticket visits declined 17% compared to last season. Lynch does not believe that’s because of lift ticket prices.

The reason revenue held steady despite fewer ticket sales, Lynch says, is the company’s season pass strategy. The company cut pass prices by 20% in 2021 and has upped prices 25% in the following three years.

Season pass renewals have held steady, but there have been fewer new season pass holders so far this fiscal year.

“The majority of our pass-selling season is ahead of us and we believe the full year pass unit and sales dollar trends will be relatively stable as compared to the spring results. We will provide more information about our past sales results in our September 2024 earnings release.”

Vail stock prices dropped nearly 11 points in after-hours trading following the third quarter earnings call, to its lowest level since mid-2020.

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