(Connor Walberg/Vail Resorts)

Vail Resorts lift revenue climbs 8.5 percent despite poor snow conditions

BROOMFIELD – A bad snow year at its Lake Tahoe-area and Utah ski resorts hasn’t kept Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) from enjoying 8.5 percent growth in season-to-date lift revenue this year.

The Broomfield-based company provided updated figures Friday as the 2014-15 season winds to a close.

The 8.5 percent bump, which came despite decreased skier visits, is through April 19, 2015, compared to the period ending April 20, 2014. The figures are adjusted as though Vail Resorts owned Park City in Utah both seasons.

Vail CEO Rob Katz said in a statement that the company remains comfortable in the guidance it issued last month, “though we are likely to finish the year in the lower half of the range, given the further deterioration in conditions we faced this spring in Utah and Tahoe.”

“This was a challenging year, with snowfall in Tahoe at record lows and Utah experiencing abnormally warm and dry conditions this spring,” Katz said. “However, we were able to overcome these challenges through the strength of our season pass program and data-driven marketing efforts, by providing a comprehensive world-class destination experience, by attracting high-income guests from around the world, and through growth in our ski school, dining and retail businesses.”

The company did not release monetary revenue figures for this season, only percentage gains and decreases as compared to last season.

Total skier visits through April 19 were down 2.8 percent compared to last year. But in addition to lift revenue, ski school revenue rose 3.4 percent, dining revenue climbed 3.3 percent and retail/rental revenue was up 3.8 percent.

Vail Resorts operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; and Canyons and Park City in Utah.

In March, Vail reported second-quarter earnings of $115.8 million for the period ending Jan. 31, up 95 percent from a year earlier.

The company’s shares were trading at $104.00 Friday afternoon, down $1.33 from the previous day but still up more than 22 percent since that March earnings report.