PCMR owner Vail Resorts reports sharply rising season-pass sales
Park City Mountain Resort owner Vail Resorts on Thursday said the sales of season passes rose sharply through the middle of September as compared to the previous year, a data point that could offer some reassurances as the Park City community prepares for the first full ski season amid the spread of the novel coronavirus and the social distancing measures enacted in response to the sickness.
The publicly traded Vail Resorts included the information about season passes in a regulatory filing. According to Vail Resorts, the sales of season passes for the 2020-2021 season increased by upward of 18% as measured in units through Sept. 18.
The money involved in the sales, though, dropped by approximately 4% when compared to the previous year. The decrease is attributed to redeemed credits from the early end of the most recent ski season, which was halted in mid-March as the nation battled the spread of the sickness. The money involved in the sales would have increased by approximately 24% over the previous year if the value of the redeemed credits was not deducted, Vail Resorts said.
“We were pleased with the visitation we saw this summer at our U.S. resort communities from leisure travelers. We believe this speaks to the current preference of travelers for outdoor experiences, locations they are familiar with and, for many, the option to drive to our resorts. As we approach the 2020/2021 North American ski season, we are committed to providing a comprehensive on-mountain experience, following our historical practice of opening as many lifts and as much terrain as soon as possible. We will be focused on the guest experience while also prioritizing the health and safety of our guests, employees and resort communities,” Rob Katz, the Vail Resorts chief executive officer, said.
The increase in sales of season passes will almost certainly be welcomed in the Park City business community. There remains concern that the continued spread of the coronavirus coupled with the economic uncertainty it has wrought could depress the numbers during the ski season. An increase in season-pass sales by Vail Resorts, though, points toward rising interest in the ski season, scheduled to start in November. It is not known whether people who would travel to Park City from outside of Utah drove some of the increase. They tend to spend more money on a daily basis than those who are from inside the state.
The increase in season-pass sales also could lead to wider economic benefits as businesses that rely on the ski industry at some level, such as those in the lodging, restaurant and transportation industries, potentially broaden their hiring.
The numbers Vail Resorts released on Thursday followed less than a month after the Colorado firm outlined details for the first ski season that will unfold with social distancing guidelines. Vail Resorts will introduce a reservation system for people wanting to ski or snowboard on any given day. There will also be numerous other operational changes to ensure people at the resorts are physically distanced, including on the lifts and in restaurants.
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