Colorado Visits To Ski Resorts Lifts Vail’s Revenues Last Quarter

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
The base of Lift One at Vail, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.

Vail Resorts’ revenues rose 30.5 percent to $829 million during its most recent financial quarter compared to the same time last year.

The Broomfield-based company, one of the biggest ski operators in the country, said visits jumped as the season progressed, especially to its properties in Colorado and Utah. Vail owns some of the most well-known ski areas in the state, including Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Keystone.

Even as lift ticket sales improved compared to last spring — when Colorado resorts shut down as the pandemic hit — other business lines haven’t recovered, CEO Rob Katz said in the company’s third-quarter earnings release.

“Our ancillary lines of business continued to be more significantly and negatively impacted by COVID-19 related capacity constraints and limitations, particularly in food and beverage and ski school,” Katz said.

The company’s dining revenue declined 26.5 percent from the same time last year.

The ski season got off to a shaky start. A spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide in November and December led to tighter state and local restrictions. At the same time, a lack of snow early in the season exacerbated capacity constraints on the mountain. Vail required reservations at all of its North American resorts – even for season pass holders. At the start of the season, some passholders came up empty handed when spots on weekends and holidays sold out.

As snow piled up, more terrain opened and it became easier to get a reservation . One of the biggest issues later in the season was enforcing mask mandates on lift lines.

Reservations were required for just about every recreational activity during the past year. Some spots, including Rocky Mountain National Park, are still requiring them.

Skiers at Vail’s resorts won’t need them next winter. 

“Assuming that nothing changes on COVID-19, we’re not anticipating having a reservation system for accessing our mountains,” Katz said.