Vail Resorts reports skier visits up 12.5% from last season

Skiers ride Sun Up Express in the Back Bowls Thursday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

A substantial jump in pre-purchased pass sales leading up to the current season fueled a double-digit gain in skier visits, Vail Resorts reported Monday.

In a company release, the resort operator said total skier visits were up 12.5% compared to last season through April 17, 2022. The reported ski season metrics are for Vail Resorts’ North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas, and exclude metrics from the recently acquired Seven Springs Resorts in Pennsylvania and the company’s Australian ski areas.

Vail Resorts also reported that season-to-date total lift ticket revenue, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was up 19.4% compared to the prior year. Ski school revenue was also up 53%, dining revenue was up 73.2%, and retail/rental revenue for North American resort and ski area store locations was up 39% compared to the prior year.

“This year, challenging early season conditions persisted through the holiday period, but our results were strong from January through the remainder of the season,” said CEO Kirsten Lynch. “Our strong season pass sales heading into the season, which are the foundation of our advance commitment strategy, resulted in particularly strong destination visitation and were further supported by lift ticket sales at our Colorado and Utah resorts that exceeded our expectations.”

The average U.S. ski area was open for 112 days in 2020-21, up from 99 days in the shortened 2019-20 season. And in 2021-22, many Vail Resorts properties experienced even longer seasons than in 2020-21, with Vail Mountain boasting its longest season on record.

Vail Resorts also required reservations to access its mountains in 2020-21, one of several significant impacts to visitation not experienced in 2021-22.

Despite the COVID-19 impacts, however, the 2020-21 season was the fifth best on record nationwide, according to the National Ski Areas Association.

Skier visits to U.S. resorts totaled 59 million for the 2020-21 season, with 78% of ski area operators saying the 2020-21 season exceeded their expectations.

The National Ski Areas Association is expected to release 2021-22 season stats in June.