Vail Resorts (MTN) Reports Ski Season Metrics, Stock Up

Vail Resorts, Inc. MTN recently announced its interim period data for its North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas through Jan 7, 2024. Following the announcement, the stock increased 3.7% during trading hours on Jan 18.

Ski Season Metrics

Season-to-date (through Jan 7, 2024), total skier visits declined 16.2% from the prior-year season-to-date period’s (Jan 8, 2023) levels. Throughout the holiday period, concluding on Jan 7, 2024, the North American resorts experienced below-average conditions across all regions in contrast to the favorable early season conditions of the preceding year. This led to a decline in local and destination skier visitation. The adverse conditions affected all North American resorts, including those located in the Eastern U.S. and Tahoe regions. The resorts encountered difficulties, including insufficient natural snow, fluctuating temperatures, delayed openings, restricted terrain options and specific days of resort closures during the holiday period.

Lift ticket revenues (including an allocated portion of season pass revenues for each applicable period) increased 2.6% from the prior year’s season-to-date period levels. Ski school revenues moved up 5% year over year. However, dining revenues fell 5.8% compared with the prior-year period’s levels.

Retail/rental revenues for North American resort and ski area store locations declined 13.3% from the prior-year season-to-date period’s figure.

Management View For 2024

In reference to the ongoing ski season, Kirsten Lynch, the chief executive officer, expressed contentment despite the initial challenges faced during the 2023/2024 North American ski season. Despite a decline in visitation, particularly among local guests, Lynch highlighted that the positive outcomes of season pass sales significantly mitigated the impact of the slow start on overall lift revenues. This underscores the stability achieved through the advance commitment strategy. The management also expressed satisfaction with the robust ancillary spending per visit in their ski school, rental and dining businesses.

Considering the substantial number of pre-committed guests through advance commitment pass products and recent favorable developments in resort conditions, the company anticipates Resort Reported EBITDA for the fiscal 2024 to fall within the lower half of the range between negative $154 million and negative $140 million.

This guidance is based on the assumption of the ongoing positive trends in conditions at North American resorts, normal weather conditions for the rest of the 2023/2024 European ski season and the 2024 Australian ski season, sustained economic stability and adherence to the foreign currency exchange rates as outlined in the original September 2023 guidance.

Going forward, much optimism prevails for the remainder of the season, fueled by recent improvements, ongoing investments focused on enhancing the guest experience and the stability provided by the season pass program.

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In the past six months, shares of Vail Resorts have declined 7% compared with the industry’s 8.2% fall.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Vail Resorts currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector are as follows:

Virco Mfg. Corporation VIRC sports a Zacks Rank #1. VIRC has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 188.6% on average. VIRC’s shares have surged 139.2% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for VIRC’s 2024 sales and earnings per share (EPS) indicates a rise of 15.7% and 32.4%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.

H World Group Limited HTHT currently sports a Zacks Rank of 1. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 94.5%, on average. The stock has declined 35.2% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for HTHT’s 2024 sales and EPS indicates an improvement of 7.9% and 9.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.

American Public Education, Inc. APEI sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 23.2% on average. Shares of APEI have declined 10% in the past year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for APEI’s 2024 sales and EPS indicates a rise of 2.5% and 115.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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