The snow fell early and often at most of Vail Resorts Inc.’s properties, but the avalanche of the bad economic news still took its toll. The company on Friday said that skier visits and forward bookings have declined for the season to date.
Vail Resorts said that from the start of the season through Jan. 6, total skier visits to its five properties were off 5.8% compared with the same period a year ago, while lift-ticket revenue fell 7.5%. Bookings as of Dec. 31 are down 14.8% on a room-night basis.
While the company’s shares tumbled sharply on the early morning news, they partially rebounded and some analysts said it appeared that bookings were holding up better than expected…
The drop in lift-ticket revenue was higher than that of visits largely due to more traffic from season-pass holders, according to Mr. Katz. Ancillary revenues — that is, from dining, retail and rentals — were off about the same as lift tickets. The ski school was off roughly 20%.
“We believe the greater decline in ski-school revenue was due to lower guest spending on certain higher-priced items during their trip, a trend that was matched in lower check averages at certain of our fine-dine restaurants,” the executive said.
Looking ahead, Mr. Katz noted that booking trends have improved from the 23.3% decline reported early last month — an indication that “many of our guests are booking closer in, which we saw evidence of in the recently concluded current-year holiday period.”…
Separately, Aspen Skiing Co. said skier visits were down 8% during the two weeks that covered Christmas and New Year’s Day, compared with last year. Company officials had projected that visits would fall between 5% and 15% over the holidays.
A spokesmen for Aspen Skiing said that the week of Dec. 21-27 was noticeably down compared with last year but Dec. 28 through Jan. 3 was as strong, if not stronger, than last year.
5-10% decrease in skier visits during this economic crisis when unemployment has gone from around 4.8% to 7+% in a year…
Count your blessings.