VAIL - Vail Resorts' dependency on snow conditions is proving vital to the company's success as evidenced Tuesday in the company's latest financial report.
VR reported some ski season metrics Tuesday covering the beginning of the ski season through Sunday compared to the same time period last season. While there were gains, especially over the holiday season, the company doesn't believe it can fully recover from a challenging early season in order to reach the fiscal guidance it put out in September.
The highlights are that skier visits are up overall by 2 percent, taking into account higher utilization from season pass holders, the company reported. Revenues from lift tickets, ski school, dining and retail were all up over the same time period last season, too, outpacing the growth in skier visits.
VR CEO Rob Katz calls the growth "a reflection of a very strong holiday season which saw double-digit percentage increases in visitation, ski school revenue, dining revenue and retail/rental revenue."
"Unfortunately, as we discussed in our early December earnings release, this was partially offset by very weak results in the period from the start of the season through mid-December, when conditions at our Colorado resorts were very poor and highly unusual," Katz said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "We were very pleased to see that once more typical conditions arrived at our resorts, we saw very strong visitation and guest spend. In fact, a number of our resorts broke visitation and revenue records during the holiday period. All of this bodes well for the remainder of the season."
It bodes well, but not well enough for the company to reach its fiscal 2013 guidance of $260 million-$270 million issued last fall.
"While we are very pleased with our strong holiday season performance, the challenging early season contributed to season-to-date results that were below what we had anticipated in our guidance originally issued in September 2012," Katz said in the statement. "As a result, we do not believe we can fully make up those shortfalls during the remainder of our fiscal year. Consequently, we now estimate Resort Reported EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to be $244 million to $254 million representing an approximate 19 percent to 24 percent increase over fiscal year 2012. Our revised guidance for fiscal 2013 assumes normal weather conditions for the remainder of the season."
The company reiterated its real estate EBITDA guidance of negative $9 million to negative $17 million.
Katz reported that net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. is now expected to be in a range of $39 million to $49 million in fiscal year 2013, up more than double from last year's results, but down from the original guidance of $50 to $60 million stated last September.