Business at Vail Resort’s four Colorado ski areas and Utah’s Canyons Resort offset a dismal start to the season around Lake Tahoe, where the company has two resorts.
Vail reported Tuesday that, through Jan. 5, skier visits to its Intermountain resorts were up 7.4 percent over the same period a year earlier. Those visits generated 11.7 percent more ticket revenue than a year ago and also boosted earnings in company ski schools, restaurants and retail/rental stores.
With more visitors through early January, Vail’s four Colorado resorts and Canyons Resort outside of Park City saw dining revenues rise 13 percent, retail/rental stores post 8 percent gains and ski schools earn 7.5 percent more for lessons.
Good thing, said Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz.
"Conditions in Tahoe have been very poor, with snowfall down 85 percent relative to the prior year," he said, noting that skiers visits to Heavenly and Kirkwood ski areas were down 23.4 percent.
"Although results in Tahoe have been challenging, the strength of our season pass sales (up 16 percent) and season-to-date results in Colorado and Utah gives us confidence we can remain within" previously stated projections, Katz said. "We incorporated the potential for challenging weather in our estimates."
Vail Resort’s interim report does not break Canyons’ numbers out from those of its four Colorado resorts — Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone. The company obtained a long-term lease last May to operate Canyons for its owner, Talisker Corp.
Like Utah, the Colorado mountains have been getting more snow lately. But the storm track has largely bypassed the Sierra Nevadas.
"Our confidence is predicated on more normalized conditions returning to Tahoe," Katz said.
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