Vail Resorts reports slump in skier visits, lift ticket revenue


Vail Resorts, the Colorado-based company that owns ski resorts across the country, reported a slump in skier visits and a decrease in lift ticket revenue due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and local health restrictions.

Season-to-date, Vail Resorts said total skier visits are down 16.6% and revenue from lift ticket sales is down 20.9%. Revenue from ski school participation is also down 52.6% season-to-date, and restaurant revenue is down 66%.

Vail Resorts includes several ski resorts in Colorado, in addition to properties in Utah, Washington, California and across the Midwest and upper East Coast. The company cut its season short last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, closing its North American operations in March before Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order closing all ski areas in the state.

Rob Katz, Vail Resorts’ chief executive, said in a statement that the numbers reflect the reduced demand for destination visits coupled with COVID-19 capacity limitations and below-average snowfall throughout the Midwest.

However, local participation remains in line with previous years, according to Katz, who said the strong season pass sales were a boon leading into the season.

“Despite the challenging environment and specific capacity impacts of COVID-19, we are pleased with our overall revenue performance compared to the prior year period, which we believe demonstrates the value of our long-term advanced commitment strategy and the loyalty of our guest base,” Katz said.

Pitkin County, which borders counties with Vail Resorts properties, is moving back to red level on the state’s COVID-19 dial. Under the designation, schools are encouraged to move to remote learning, businesses must reduce their capacity to 25%, and last call is moved up to 8 p.m. These changes go into effect starting Sunday.

In the last two weeks, Pitkin County, which includes resort towns such as Aspen and Snowmass, has had a COVID-19 positivity rate over 15%, with between eight and 11 days of increasing hospitalizations, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Pitkin County Manager Joe Peacock told CBS4 he was disappointed the county would be moving to red level, but said it was necessary.

“This is preventing us from achieving our goals like in-person learning, resuming higher levels of activity and indoor economic activity at restaurants and retail and getting mass transit back to full capacity and reenergizing our winter tourism,” Peacock told the news station.

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