Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN) stock fell 12.72% on January 11th, 2019 and continued its weak momentum on January 14th, 2019, falling over 0.005% (as of 4:06 pm GMT-5 ; Source: Google finance) as the company announced weak results from the holiday season. Season-to-date total lift ticket revenue at the Company’s North American mountain resorts, including an allocated portion of season pass revenue for each applicable period, was up 12.2% compared to the prior year season-to-date period. Season-to-date ski school revenue was up 9.5% and dining revenue was up 14.8% compared to the prior year season to-date period. Retail/rental revenue for North American resort store locations was up 12.0% compared to the prior year season-to-date period. Season-to-date total skier visits for the Company’s North American mountain resorts were up 16.9% compared to the prior year season-to-date period.
Improved conditions across the western U.S. resorts helped drive a strong rebound in visitation and spending, particularly during the key holiday weeks. However, despite the good conditions, the destination guest visitation was much lower than anticipated in the pre-holiday period, particularly December 1st through December 21st. The company believes this was driven by destination guests’ concerns from two prior years of poor pre-holiday conditions at our U.S. resorts and the company did not see the pickup in short-term bookings the company had expected. Results over the holidays were in line with the expectations across the resorts except at Whistler Blackcomb and the Tahoe resorts which had results below the expectations primarily driven by increased weather variability at those resorts over the holidays and lower than an expected destination and international visitation.
Moreover, due to missing the expectations in the pre-holiday period, the company now expect full year Resort Reported EBITDA guidance to be slightly below the low end of the guidance range the company had issued on September 28, 2018. The guidance assumes normal conditions at the resorts, a stable economic environment and the currency rates in place when the guidance was originally issued.
Season pass sales through December 2, 2018, for the upcoming 2018/2019 North American ski season increased approximately 21% in units and 13% in sales dollars as compared to the period in the prior year through December 3, 2017, including all military pass products in both periods.
The Company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.47 per share of Vail Resorts common stock that will be payable on January 10, 2019 to shareholders of record on December 27, 2018.
The Company reaffirmed its guidance for the fiscal year 2019 of $718 million to $750 million of Resort Reported EBITDA.