Vail Resorts The Lift

Breckenridge Vail Resorts


Vail Resorts Inc. reported better-than-expected revenue and profit in its latest quarter and boosted its quarterly dividend, as the ski-resort operator benefited from more visitors and steeper prices.

The results came amid a rebound at its Tahoe properties, solid growth at its Colorado operations and double-digit growth at its Park City resort. The quarter through January is typically Vail’s strongest reporting period of the year. Vail also announced improvements to its resorts at Breckenridge and Vail Mountain.

Vail’s board approved a 30 percent increase in the company’s quarter dividend to 81 cents a share, up from 62.25 cents a share. The raised dividend is payable to shareholders of record as March 29.

For the fiscal year ending in July, Vail raised its forecast for resort earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to between $430 million and $445 million, from its previous projection for resort Ebitda of between $405 million to $430 million.

Chief executive Rob Katz said in January that based on Vail’s results through the holiday season, the company expected to exceed its previous guidance but didn’t provide specific details.

The Broomfield-based company acquired Park City Mountain Resort in Utah in 2014, giving it the biggest ski resort in the U.S. Additionally, Vail bought a resort in Australia in June, which should help bolster its results during its typical off-season periods.

Katz said the company plans to build a 500-seat restaurant at the top of the Peak 7 chairlift at Breckenridge, which currently isn’t served by a major food and beverage venue.

“This will improve the dining experience at the most visited ski resort in the United States with a modern restaurant located adjacent to the new Peak 6 terrain, ” he said in a statement.

The company also is upgrading Vail Mountain’s Sun Up lift to the Back Bowls with a high-speed four-passenger chairlift. The upgrade will increase the lift’s capacity by 40 percent and reduce the ride time to four minutes, Katz said.

“With this new addition, every major chairlift on Vail Mountain will be a high-speed chairlift, and this will be Vail Mountain’s ninth new chairlift in the last 10 years, ” Katz said in the statement.

Vail Resorts also plans $13 million in improvements at the Wilmot Mountain ski resort in Wisconsin, roughly 65 miles north of Chicago, which Vail acquired in January. It plans three new lifts, improved snowmaking and renovations to the base lodge.

Vail plans to include Wilmot in its season pass program, which potentially could boost visits by vacationers from the region at its other resorts. The company was expected to provide more details on its conference call later Thursday.



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