Vail CEO: Ski resort shutdown could cost firm $200M

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BROOMFIELD — The coronavirus could cost Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN), which announced the closure of its North American ski resorts yesterday, up to $200 million, Vail CEO Rob Katz said Tuesday.

“Given the closure of our operations as a result of COVID-19, we anticipate that our operating results for March and April will have a negative impact of $180 million to $200 million compared to the resort reported EBITDA expectation we had as of March 1, 2020,” the leader of the Broomfield-based operator of ski areas such as Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge said in a prepared statement. 

Vail is considering reopening Breckenridge, Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe, California, and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada, in late April or early May. But even if those resorts reopen, “we believe such a decision will not have a material impact, positive or negative, on our results” for the current fiscal year, Katz said.

Vail’s resorts are expected to be fully open next ski season, but the potential economic downturn brought on by coronavirus could hurt business when resorts reopen for the 2020-2021 ski season.

“While we entered this situation in a strong financial position, we believe the potentially challenging economic environment ahead requires us to review our previously announced calendar year 2020 capital plans and our plans for returning capital to shareholders and will provide updates on those plans as we finalize decisions,” Katz said.

Despite Tuesday’s announcement, which came shortly before the end of trading on Wall Street, Vail’s stock price was stable for the day.