Vail Resorts Sees Lower Ski Traffic in North America

Vail Resorts, a mountain resort company, reported a 16.6% year-over-year decline in ski visitation across North America for the season-to-date period ending Jan. 3, 2021. The weak ski season metric reflects travel restrictions and a decline in demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Shares of Vail Resorts fell 3.7% on Friday.

Vail Resorts (MTN) said that its season-to-date ski visits declined primarily due to lower lift ticket purchases. The company’s season-to-date lift ticket revenues declined by 20.9% year-over-year.

Vail also witnessed a 52.6% drop in ski school revenue and a 66.2% decline in dining revenue in the season-to-date period. Vail’s retail/rental sales for North American resort and ski area locations also declined 39.2% compared to the year-ago season-to-date period.  

The company’s CEO Rob Katz said, “We expect these declines were primarily driven by reduced demand for destination visitation at our western resorts and COVID-19 related capacity limitations which were further impacted by snowfall levels that were well below average at our Colorado, Utah and Tahoe resorts through the holiday season.” (See MTN stock analysis on TipRanks)

Following the announcement, Berenberg Bank analyst Alex Maroccia maintained a Hold rating and a price target of $279 (0.2% upside potential) on the stock.

In a note to investors, Maroccia said, “Overall, we believe the reported metrics are underwhelming; however, loosening restrictions in key regions and widespread vaccine distribution could set up a stronger operating environment later this winter.” The analyst added, “The company should focus on building guest loyalty in 2021 in order to see the benefits in 2022.”

Overall, the rest of the Street has a cautiously optimistic outlook on the stock with the analyst consensus of a Moderate Buy based on 3 Buys and 8 Holds. The average analyst price target of $282.11 implies upside potential of about 1.3% to current levels. Shares have gained 12.3% over the past year.

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