Pass sales up, bookings down in Vail |

Pass sales up, bookings down in Vail

Melanie Wong/Vail Daily

— Season ski pass sales are up, but advance room bookings are significantly down, according to a Vail Resorts earnings report Tuesday.

The company, which operates Vail and Beaver Creek mountains, reported the customary loss in earnings during off-season months preceding the ski season. The reported overall loss for the company was $34.5 million for August, September and October, compared to a loss of $24.6 million for the same period last year.

However, the numbers are not unexpected because of the turbulent economy, and the company still is in a strong financial position, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said.

“We are very pleased that in this unprecedented period of disarray in the global economy and capital markets, our balance sheet remains very strong, even after two consecutive seasonally low quarters with virtually no ski operations,” Katz said Tuesday in a conference call with analysts.

Epic passes a hit

The company’s biggest success was the increase in season pass sales. Vail Resorts sold a total of 204,000 passes earning $90.9 million, a nearly 29 percent increase in pass earnings compared with last year.

The new Epic Pass, which offers unlimited skiing at all Vail Resorts mountains with no blackout dates, significantly bolstered sales, Katz said.

About 59,100 Epic Passes were sold, earning about $32.5 million. Sales of the Colorado and Summit Passes, which offer limited days at Beaver Creek and Vail, were down 2.6 percent. However, the company added it didn’t know how much of that decrease was from people who upgraded to Epic Passes.

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