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The Denver Post

Visits & Spending Up at VR Ski Areas

Vail Resorts finances buoyed by big snow in California after three seasons of enduring difficult drought.

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Vail Resorts on Wednesday reported climbing visits, and increased season pass sales and visitor spending at its resort network across Colorado, Utah and California.

North America’s largest resort operator said lift ticket revenue for the season through Jan. 10 — including season pass sales — was up 19.4 percent over the same period last season. The company said visitor spending at its eight ski areas was increasing as well, with dining revenue up 14.3 percent, ski school revenue up 6.7 percent and retail sales at its resort stores up 9.1 percent.

Skier visits to Beaver Creek, Vail, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado, Northstar, Heavenly and Kirkwood in California and the nation’s largest resort, Park City in Utah, were up 11.1 percent compared to the previous season.

Vail Resorts chief Rob Katz said the big snow in Tahoe after three seasons of drought is fueling the bounce, alongside “solid revenue growth” in Colorado and “double-digit revenue growth at Park City.”

“We are seeing strong growth in U.S. destination visits across our resorts that is being partially offset by a significant decline in international visitation, which we believe is due to the strong U.S. dollar, a trend we expect to continue throughout the season,” Katz said in a statement.

On Tuesday, Colorado Ski Country reported its 21 member resorts saw a 10 percent jump in early season visits compared to the first two months of the 2014-15 ski season, with this season pacing 13 percent ahead of the five-year average.