Riding increases in ticket prices and visitation, Vail Resorts logged about $1.4 billion in revenue for the 2015 fiscal year. The bulk of that revenue came from the operation of its 11 mountains, which accounted for more than a billion on their own. The rest of the publicly-traded company's revenue came from lodging and real estate. That Vail Resorts was able to reach its highest revenue mark in a decade despite a miserable winter for its three Tahoe resorts speaks to just how well positioned the company is in Colorado and now Utah.
In its public filings, Vail attributed the strong performance of its mountain operations to increases in season pass sales and how well its four Colorado mountains did last year. The company's Colorado resorts saw increases in visitation, spending, ski school revenue and retail operations. And, of course, adding Park City and Australia's Perisher helped the bottom line.
In contrast, Vail's Tahoe resorts saw a 16 percent decline in skiers for the second year running.
Overall, Vail's lift revenue was up about 20 percent, with increases in sales and pricing of season passes and lift tickets. Season pass holders actually skied a little bit less last season, which means they were paying a little more per day skied. That factors into what resort operators call the "effective ticket price" — everything they made from passes and tickets divided by all the skiers visits. Higher prices and fewer pass holders on the hill means Vail comes out ahead.
Vail's public filing also states that, in addition to the $110 to $115 million it's spending in 2015, it has plans to spend $17 million on its summer projects at Vail, Breckenridge and Heavenly. And Vail plans to keep investing $100 million per year in capital improvements, which includes maintenance but doesn't count money spent on summer projects.
Upcoming projects listed in Vail's 10-K SEC filing:
• Upgrading Vail Mountain's Avanti Chair (Chair 2) to a six-passenger high-speed chairlift
• Expanding snowmaking at Beaver Creek
• Renovating rooms at Keystone Lodge
• Expansion of Epic Discovery summer programs
· Vail Resorts Will Spend up to $115 Million on Improvements This Winter [Curbed Ski]
· Vail's New Name for Park City Resort is Revealed [Curbed Ski]
· Vail Closes On Acquisition of Australia's Perisher Ski Resort [Curbed Ski]
· Vail Resorts: Revenue Is Up Despite Fewer Skier Visits [Curbed Ski]