Intrawest ski resort bookings up on early snowfall |

Intrawest ski resort bookings up on early snowfall

VANCOUVER, British Columbia ” Ski resort bookings are running ahead of last year, largely because of snowfall in the western United States, Intrawest Corp. executives say.

Season ski pass sales are up 5 percent from a year ago and lodging bookings for the next 120 days have risen about 3 percent, Dan Jarvis, head of Intrawest’s leisure and travel group, told analysts in a conference call Tuesday.

It’s too early for earnings guidance by Intrawest, which operates major resorts across the United States and Canada, but heavy snow at western U.S. resorts “creates an environment for a strong beginning,” Jarvis said.

Intrawest is advertising heavily in New York and other U.S. markets for its northeastern U.S. resorts, as well as Blue Mountain in Ontario and Mont Tremblant in Quebec.

The company also says the strengthening Canadian dollar and security backups at the border apparently have not hurt business at its Whistler-Blackcomb complex north of Vancouver or other Canadian operations.

“Right at this moment, Whistler is one of our stronger resorts,” Jarvis said. “We have been able to work closely with the hoteliers in Whistler and are presenting quite compelling packages in the marketplace, so that at this point we are running ahead of last year.”

Intrawest announced Monday that in the three months ended Sept. 30, its slowest season, the company lost $6.7 million or 14 cents a share on $206.5 million in revenue, compared with a profit of $900,000 or two cents a share on $276.6 million in revenue a year earlier.

The decline was blamed on a slump in revenue from condominium sales.

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