Intrawest reports $113.1M in earnings |

Intrawest reports $113.1M in earnings

Skiers and snowboarders take advantage of six fresh inches of January powder during the low-snow winter of 2011-2012 at the Steamboat Ski Area. Steamboat parent company Intrawest reports an increasing share of overall ticket sales are season passes purchased before winter gets underway.
Steamboat Pilot file photos

— Intrawest, parent company of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., reported earnings of $113.1 million for the 2016 fiscal year, which ended July 31.

That is despite record-high temperatures this past winter that devastated the ski season out east.

“Outstanding growth out west made up for warm weather out east,” Intrawest CEO Tom Marano said Thursday morning when discussing the company’s performance.

Companywide, skier visits were down 14 percent during the 2016-17 ski season, but earnings were $4.1 million more than the higher end of expectations. Earnings were 11.2 percent higher than fiscal year 2015.

Marano was optimist looking toward the 2016-17 ski season.

Pass sales are up about 16 percent over the same time period last year, and they estimate half of the passes have been sold so far for the upcoming season.

Marano attributed the increase in pass sales to Intrawest’s Kids Ski Free program and an expanded M.A.X. Pass program, which now gives people access to 32 resorts instead of 22. Pass sales have doubled.

Those pass customers include those living in the east who might be considering a trip out west, Marano said.

“Looking forward, season pass and frequency product sales for the 2016-17 season are pacing well ahead of last year,” Marano said.

Close to 60 percent of the people who have bought passes so far are new customers.

Marano touted improvements underway at its resorts in Colorado, which include a mountain coaster, mini golf course and a new Elkhead lift at Steamboat.

At Winter Park, a new train platform is being constructed for the Ski Train, which will bring people to the resort from Union Station in Denver.

“We look forward to providing 26 roundtrips on the 500-passenger train this season,” Marano said.

In the east, Intrawest is hopeful for a normal winter that will help people recover from what was described as a “snow hangover.”

“It takes a little while to get people back in the mood of skiing,” CFO Travis Mayer said.

Marano also briefly addressed real estate development and sales opportunities for Intrawest. He said real estate sales were a priority, and they were very focused on developing their master plans.

“Prices per square foot continue to move in our direction,” Marano said.

This winter, Intrawest will continue building on technological improvements.

Marano said people will be able to recharge their radio frequency identification passes using an application on smartphones. This will enable people to bypass lines at the ticket office.

“We are excited for the upcoming ski season and look forward to building on the success of fiscal 2016,” Marano said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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