The Boat’s revenue up
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – American Skiing Co., owner of the Steamboat ski area, this week reported $16 million in revenue growth during the past 10 months, largely because of the success of a program that offered East Coast skiers six resorts on a single season pass.The company’s optimism on the resort side was tempered by the high interest rates it is paying on some of its debt.”We were very pleased with the success of our All for One Pass in generating incremental skier visits and introducing new skiers to our resorts,” ASC Chief Financial Officer Betsy Wallace said. “The financial boost of the All for One Pass, coupled with higher guest spending, resulted in strong resort revenue increase.”Wallace made her remarks when ASC, parent company of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp. and six others ski areas, issued its third-quarter earnings report.Five of ASC’s resorts are in New England, where early snow conditions were marginal. But ASC was able to gain the loyalty of skiers with its multi-resort pass, and when heavy snows arrived in February and March, it reaped the benefits.ASC said it was able to negotiate more favorable terms for its senior loans last fall. The cost of deferring an impending date to redeem millions of dollars in preferred stock was double-digit interest rates.As part of the refinancing, ASC bought time to delay paying off the obligations represented by the preferred shares. The preferred stock was exchanged for $76.7 million in junior loans not until 2012. The opening interest rate on the $76.7 million in loans, 11.25 percent, will increase gradually to 13 percent in 2012.American Skiing also reported that Steamboat finished last season with 971,770 skier visits, the first season in 16 years that the resort had fewer than 1 million skier visits. Below-average snowfall contributed to the 3 percent drop from the season before, a resort official said.More than 80 percent of the drop was attributed to season- and super value pass holders who didn’t use all the days they paid for, Steamboat Marketing Vice President Andy Wirth said.Overall, Colorado resorts saw skier visits rise 5 percent last season to 11.81 million, according to the industry group Colorado Ski Country USA.
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