‘Low snowfall’ drops Vail Resorts’ ski traffic 11 percent

BROOMFIELD — Skier visits to resorts under the Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) umbrella are down 10.8 percent through Jan. 8, compared with the same period a year ago.

The downturn is attributed to “historic low snowfall,” according to a statement from Rob Katz, chief executive of Vail Resorts, which has its headquarters in Broomfield.

Vail Resorts reported that lift-ticket revenue at the company’s North American resorts, was up 1.6 percent. But ski school revenue was down 4.5 percent and dining revenue was down 8.7 percent compared with a similar period of the prior year.

“Given the truly historic low snowfall across our western U.S. resorts, we are pleased with our results to date, which reflect the stability provided by our season pass program and the investments we have made in our resorts,” Katz said in a prepared statement. “The 2017/2018 ski season had a very challenging start across our western U.S. resorts due to poor conditions in the early season that continued through the holiday period, reducing both local and destination visitation and spending. In November and December, snowfall season to date in Vail, Beaver Creek and Park City was the lowest level recorded in over 30 years and in Vail and Beaver Creek snowfall is over 50 percent lower than the next lowest season, and Tahoe’s snowfall was 69 percent below the 20-year average.”

He said conditions have improved in the past week, but conditions are still behind what is typical for the resorts in the Vail Resorts system.

Vail Resorts operates 11 mountain resorts and three urban ski areas. Resorts include Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Stowe in Vermont; Perisher in New South Wales, Australia; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan.