SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2021
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
For the transition period from to
Commission File Number: 001-09614
Vail Resorts, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)|| ||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
|390 Interlocken Crescent|
|Broomfield, ||Colorado|| ||80021|
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip Code)|
|(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
|Title of each class||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, $0.01 par value||MTN||New York Stock Exchange|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. ☒ Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. ☐ Yes ☒ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
☒ Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
☒ Yes ¨ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
|Large accelerated filer|
| ||Accelerated filer|
| ||Smaller reporting company|
|Emerging growth company|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
☐ Yes ☒ No
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of $265.96 per share as reported on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Tape on January 29, 2021 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was $10,590,723,478.
As of September 20, 2021, 40,391,129 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of July 31, 2021 are incorporated by reference herein into Part III, Items 10 through 14, of this Annual Report.
Table of Contents
Except for any historical information contained herein, the matters discussed or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements relate to analyses and other information, available as of the date hereof which are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements also relate to our contemplated future prospects, developments and business strategies.
These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions. Although we believe that our plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that such plans, intentions or expectations will be achieved. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:
•the ultimate duration of COVID-19 and its short-term and long-term impacts on consumer behaviors, the economy generally, and our business and results of operations, including the ultimate amount of refunds that we would be required to refund to our pass product holders for qualifying circumstances under our Epic Coverage program;
•the willingness of our guests to travel due to terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts or outbreaks of contagious diseases (such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic), and the cost and availability of travel options and changing consumer preferences or willingness to travel;
•prolonged weakness in general economic conditions, including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries;
•unfavorable weather conditions or the impact of natural disasters;
•risks related to interruptions or disruptions of our information technology systems, data security or cyberattacks;
•risks related to our reliance on information technology, including our failure to maintain the integrity of our customer or employee data and our ability to adapt to technological developments or industry trends;
•the seasonality of our business combined with adverse events that may occur during our peak operating periods;
•competition in our mountain and lodging businesses or with other recreational and leisure activities;
•the high fixed cost structure of our business;
•our ability to fund resort capital expenditures;
•risks related to a disruption in our water supply that would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations;
•our reliance on government permits or approvals for our use of public land or to make operational and capital improvements;
•risks related to federal, state, local and foreign government laws, rules and regulations;
•risks related to changes in security and privacy laws and regulations which could increase our operating costs and adversely affect our ability to market our products, properties and services effectively;
•risks related to our workforce, including increased labor costs, loss of key personnel and our ability to hire and retain a sufficient seasonal workforce;
•a deterioration in the quality or reputation of our brands, including our ability to protect our intellectual property and the risk of accidents at our mountain resorts;
•our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses, or that acquired businesses may fail to perform in accordance with expectations;
•risks associated with international operations;
•fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates where the Company has foreign currency exposure, primarily the Canadian and Australian dollars, as compared to the U.S. dollar;
•changes in tax laws, regulations or interpretations, or adverse determinations by taxing authorities;
•risks related to our indebtedness and our ability to satisfy our debt service requirements under our outstanding debt including our unsecured senior notes, which could reduce our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, capital expenditures, future business opportunities and other purposes;
•a materially adverse change in our financial condition;
•adverse consequences of current or future legal claims;
•changes in accounting judgments and estimates, accounting principles, policies or guidelines; and
•other risks and uncertainties included under Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” in this document.
All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements.
If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Given these uncertainties, users of the information included or incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K, including investors and prospective investors, are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements that we make for a number of reasons including those described above and in Part I, Item 1A. “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K. All forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof. Except as may be required by law, we do not intend to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information, future events or other circumstances have made them incorrect or misleading.
ITEM 1. BUSINESS
Vail Resorts, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is referred to throughout this document as “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Company.”
Vail Resorts, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was organized as a holding company in 1997 and operates through various subsidiaries. Our operations are grouped into three business segments: Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate, which represented approximately 89%, 11% and 0%, respectively, of our net revenue for our fiscal year ended July 31, 2021 (“Fiscal 2021”).
As of July 31, 2021, our Mountain segment operates thirty-seven world-class destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas (collectively, our “Resorts”). Additionally, the Mountain segment includes ancillary services, primarily including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations.
In the Lodging segment, we own and/or manage a collection of luxury hotels and condominiums under our RockResorts brand; other strategic lodging properties and a large number of condominiums located in proximity to our North American mountain resorts; National Park Service (“NPS”) concessionaire properties including the Grand Teton Lodge Company (“GTLC”), which operates destination resorts in Grand Teton National Park; a Colorado resort ground transportation company and mountain resort golf courses.
We refer to “Resort” as the combination of the Mountain and Lodging segments. Our Real Estate segment owns, develops and sells real estate in and around our resort communities.
For financial information and other information about the Company’s segments and geographic areas, see Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.”
The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 resulted in reduced visitation and decreased spending for the 2020/2021 North American ski season compared to the prior year through March 14, 2021, the date that we closed our Resorts early for the 2019/2020 North American ski season due to the outbreak of COVID-19. These declines were primarily driven by reduced demand for out-of-state and international (“Destination”) visitation at our western resorts and COVID-19 related capacity limitations. However, Destination visitation improved as the season progressed. Whistler Blackcomb’s performance was negatively impacted due to the continued closure of the Canadian border to international guests, including guests from the U.S., and was further impacted by the resort closing earlier than expected on March 30, 2021 following a provincial health order issued by the government of British Columbia. Two of our Australian ski areas, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, opened for their 2020 winter season on July 6, 2020, but we decided to close them four days later due to a “stay at home” order put in place by the Victorian government and specifically for the Melbourne metropolitan area, which represents the majority of visitors for Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, as a result of a reemergence of COVID-19 in the region. Our Australian ski areas were also impacted by “stay at home” orders and periodic resort closures during their 2021 ski seasons. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant adverse impact on our results of operations for Fiscal 2021, and may continue to have a material, negative impact on our resorts for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2022 (“Fiscal 2022”).
In the Mountain segment, the Company operates the following 37 destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas, including five resorts within the top ten most visited resorts in the United States for the 2020/2021 North American ski season:
*Denotes a destination mountain resort, which generally receives a meaningful portion of skier visits from long-distance travelers, as opposed to our regional ski areas, which tend to generate skier visits predominantly from their respective local markets.
Our Mountain segment derives revenue through the sale of lift tickets, including pass products, as well as a comprehensive offering of amenities available to guests, including ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals and retail merchandise sales, a variety of dining venues, private club operations and other winter and summer recreational activities. In addition to providing extensive guest amenities, we also lease some of our owned and leased commercial space to third party operators to add unique restaurants and retail stores to the mix of amenities at the base of our resorts.
Many of our destination mountain resorts are year-round mountain resorts that provide a comprehensive resort experience to a diverse clientele with an attractive demographic profile. We offer a broad complement of winter and summer recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowtubing, sightseeing, mountain biking, guided hiking, zip lines, challenge ropes courses, alpine slides, mountain coasters, children’s activities and other recreational activities. Collectively, our Resorts are located in close proximity to population centers totaling over 100 million people.
Destination Mountain Resorts
Rocky Mountains (Colorado and Utah Resorts)
•Breckenridge Ski Resort (“Breckenridge”) - the most visited mountain resort in the United States (“U.S.”) for the 2020/2021 ski season with five interconnected peaks offering an expansive variety of terrain for every skill level, including access to above tree line intermediate and expert terrain, and progressive and award-winning terrain parks.
•Vail Mountain Resort (“Vail Mountain”) - the second most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2020/2021 ski season. Vail Mountain offers some of the most expansive and varied terrain in North America with approximately 5,300 skiable acres including seven world renowned back bowls and the resort’s rustic Blue Sky Basin.
•Park City Resort (“Park City”) - the third most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2020/2021 ski season and the largest by acreage in the U.S. Park City offers 7,300 acres of skiable terrain for every type of skier and snowboarder and offers guests an outstanding ski experience with fine dining, ski school, retail and lodging.
•Keystone Resort (“Keystone”) - the fourth most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2020/2021 ski season and home to the highly renowned A51 Terrain Park, as well as the largest area of night skiing in Colorado. Keystone also offers guests a unique skiing opportunity through guided snow cat ski tours accessing five bowls. Keystone is a premier destination for families with its “Kidtopia” program focused on providing activities for kids on and off the mountain.
•Beaver Creek Resort (“Beaver Creek”) - the tenth most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2020/2021 ski season. Beaver Creek is a European-style resort with multiple villages and also includes a world renowned children’s ski school program focused on providing a first-class experience with unique amenities such as a dedicated children’s gondola.
•Crested Butte Mountain Resort (“Crested Butte”) - located in southwest Colorado and includes over 1,500 skiable acres and over 3,000 feet of vertical drop. Crested Butte is known for its historic town, iconic mountain peaks and legendary skiing and riding terrain.
Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Canada)
•Whistler Blackcomb (“Whistler Blackcomb”) - located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada, approximately 85 miles from the Vancouver International Airport, Whistler Blackcomb is the largest year-round mountain resort in North America, with two mountains connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola, which combined offer over 200 marked runs, over 8,000 acres of terrain, 14 alpine bowls, three glaciers and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking trails, a bike park and sightseeing. Whistler Blackcomb is a popular destination for international visitors and was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Lake Tahoe Resorts
•Heavenly Mountain Resort (“Heavenly”) - located near the South Shore of Lake Tahoe with over 4,800 skiable acres, Heavenly straddles the border of California and Nevada and offers unique and spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. Heavenly offers great nightlife, including its proximity to several casinos.
•Northstar Resort (“Northstar”) - located near the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, Northstar is the premier luxury mountain resort destination near Lake Tahoe which offers premium lodging, a vibrant base area and over 3,000 skiable acres. Northstar’s village features high-end shops and restaurants, a conference center and a 9,000 square-foot skating rink.
•Kirkwood Mountain Resort (“Kirkwood”) - located about 35 miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe, offering a unique location atop the Sierra Crest, Kirkwood is recognized for offering some of the best high alpine advanced terrain in North America with 2,000 feet of vertical drop and over 2,300 acres of terrain.
Regional Ski Areas
Our ski resort network allows us to connect guests with drive-to access and destination resort access on a single pass product. Building a presence near major metropolitan areas with large populations enables us to drive advance commitment pass product sales among a broad array of guests.
We own and operate eight regional ski areas in the Northeast that we believe provide a compelling regional and local connection to guests within driving distance from the New York, Boston and the greater New England markets. Stowe is the premier, high-end regional ski area in the Northeast offering outstanding skiing and an exceptional base area experience. Okemo and Mount Snow are compelling regional destinations serving guests in the New York metropolitan area and throughout New England. Hunter Mountain is a day-trip ski area primarily serving the New York metropolitan area. Additionally, we own four ski areas in New Hampshire serving guests throughout New England.
We own and operate five ski areas in the Mid-Atlantic region serving guests in Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey, Baltimore and Washington D.C. Our presence in the region allows us to offer compelling local options and easy overnight weekend and holiday trips to our premium Northeast regional ski areas, which are within driving distance from these markets.
We own and operate ten ski areas in the Midwest that draw guests from Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Columbus, Kansas City and Louisville. Located within close proximity to major metropolitan markets, these ski areas provide beginners with easy access to beginner ski programs and offer night skiing for young adults and families. Additionally, the proximity of these ski areas allows for regular usage by avid skiers.
Pacific Northwest (U.S.)
Stevens Pass Resort (“Stevens Pass’’) - acquired in August 2018, Stevens Pass is located less than 85 miles from Seattle and sits on the crest of Washington State’s Cascade Range. Stevens Pass offers terrain for all levels across 1,125 acres of skiable terrain.
Australia is an important market for both domestic skiing during the Australian winter and as a source of international visitation to the Northern Hemisphere in the Australian off-season, with typically over one million estimated Australian skier visits annually to North America, Europe and Japan. We own three of the five largest ski areas in Australia, which we serve with the Epic Australia Pass, an Australian dollar denominated pass product marketed specifically to Australian guests. Perisher, located in New South Wales, is the largest ski resort in Australia and targets guests in the Sydney metropolitan area and the broader New South Wales market, while Falls Creek and Mount Hotham are two of the largest ski areas in Victoria and target guests in the Melbourne metropolitan area and the broader Victoria market.
There are approximately 745 ski areas in North America with approximately 460 in the U.S., ranging from small ski area operations that service day skiers to large resorts that attract both day skiers and destination resort guests looking for a comprehensive vacation experience. During the 2020/2021 North American ski season, combined skier visits for all ski areas in North America were approximately 74.5 million, which was lower than historical levels due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, particularly with regard to Destination visitation. During the 2018/2019 North American ski season (the ski season immediately prior to the outbreak of COVID-19), combined skier visits for all ski areas in North America were approximately 79.7 million. Our North American Resorts had approximately 13.9 million skier visits during the 2020/2021 ski season, representing approximately 18.7% of North American skier visits.
There is limited opportunity for development of new destination ski resorts due to the limited private lands on which ski areas can be built, the difficulty in obtaining the appropriate governmental approvals to build on public lands and the significant capital needed to construct the necessary infrastructure. As such, there have been virtually no new destination ski resorts in North America for over 40 years, which has allowed and should continue to allow the best-positioned destination resorts to benefit from future industry growth. Our resorts compete with other major destination mountain resorts, including, among others, Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Mammoth, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Squaw Valley USA, Killington, Sierra at Tahoe, Steamboat, Jackson Hole and Winter Park, as well as other ski areas in Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, Southwest and British Columbia, Canada, and other destination ski areas worldwide as well as non-ski related vacation options and destinations. Additionally, our pass products compete with other multi-resort frequency and pass products in North America, including the IKON Pass, the Mountain Collective Pass and various regional and local pass products.
The ski industry statistics stated in this section have been derived primarily from data published by Colorado Ski Country USA, Canadian Ski Council, Kottke National End of Season Surveys as well as other industry publications.
Our Competitive Strengths
Our premier resorts and business model differentiate our Company from the rest of the ski industry. We own and operate some of the most iconic, branded destination mountain resorts in geographically diverse and important ski destinations in Colorado, Utah, Lake Tahoe and the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada. These resorts are complemented by regional ski areas in the Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, which are strategically positioned near key U.S. population centers, as well as three ski areas in Australia. Through our data-driven marketing analytics and personalized marketing capabilities, we target increased penetration of ski pass products, providing our guests with a strong value proposition in return for guests committing to ski at our resorts prior to, or very early into the ski season, which we believe attracts more guests to our resorts. We believe we invest in more capital improvements than our competitors and we create synergies by operating multiple resorts, which enhances our profitability by enabling customers to access our network of resorts with our pass products. Many of our destination mountain resorts located in the U.S. typically rank in the most visited ski
resorts in the U.S. (five of the top ten for the 2020/2021 U.S. ski season), and most of our destination mountain resorts consistently rank in the top ranked ski resorts in North America according to industry surveys, which we attribute to our ability to provide a high-quality experience.
We believe the following factors contribute directly to each Resort’s success:
Exceptional Mountain Experience
•World-Class Mountain Resorts and Integrated Base Resort Areas
Our mountain resorts offer a multitude of skiing and snowboarding experiences for the beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert levels. Each mountain resort is fully integrated into expansive resort base areas offering a broad array of lodging, dining, retail, nightlife and other amenities, some of which we own or manage, to our guests.
Our Resorts in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado and Utah, the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Lake Tahoe and the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada receive average annual snowfall between 20 and 39 feet. Even in these areas which receive abundant snowfall, we have invested in significant snowmaking systems that help provide a more consistent experience, especially in the early season. During Fiscal 2020, we completed significant investments in our snowmaking systems in Colorado that transformed the early-season terrain experience at Vail, Keystone and Beaver Creek. Our other ski areas receive less snowfall than our western North American mountain resorts, but we have invested in snowmaking operations at these resorts in order to provide a consistent experience for our guests. Additionally, we provide several hundred acres of groomed terrain at each of our mountain resorts with extensive fleets of snow grooming equipment.
We systematically upgrade our lifts and put in new lifts to increase uphill capacity and streamline skier traffic to maximize the guest experience. Discretionary expenditures expected for calendar year 2021 include, among other projects, several investments which were previously deferred from calendar year 2020 as a result of COVID-19, including:
•the 250-acre lift-served terrain expansion in the McCoy Park area of Beaver Creek;
•a new four-person high speed lift to serve Peak 7 at Breckenridge;
•replacing the four-person Peru lift at Keystone with a six-person high speed chairlift;
•replacing the Peachtree lift at Crested Butte with a new three-person fixed-grip lift; and
•an upgrade of the four-person Quantum lift at Okemo with a six-person high speed chairlift, relocating the existing four-person Quantum lift to replace the Green Ridge three-person fixed-grip chairlift.
In the past several years, we have installed or upgraded several high speed chairlifts and gondolas across our mountain resorts, including:
•upgrading the Daisy and Brooks fixed-grip lifts at Stevens Pass to four-person high-speed lifts;
•upgrading the Teocalli fixed-grip lift at Crested Butte to a four-person high-speed lift;
•installing a new four-person lift at Park City, Over and Out;
•replacing the Leichardt T-bar lift at Perisher with a new four-person lift;
•installing a new 10-person gondola running from the base to the top of Blackcomb Mountain, replacing the Wizard and Solar four person chairs with a single state-of-the-art gondola;
•upgrading the four-person Emerald express lift to a high speed six-person lift on Whistler Mountain;
•upgrading the three-person fixed grip Catskinner lift to a four-person high speed lift at Blackcomb Mountain;
•upgrading the fixed-grip High Meadow lift to a four-person high speed lift at the Canyons area of Park City; and
•replacing the Galaxy two-person lift with a three-person lift at Heavenly.
We are committed to leading the industry in terrain park design, education and events for the growing segment of freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Each of our destination mountain resorts has multiple terrain parks that include
progressively-challenging features. These park structures, coupled with freestyle ski school programs, promote systematic learning from basic to professional skills.
Extraordinary Service and Amenities
•Commitment to the Guest Experience
Our focus is to provide quality service at every touch point of the guest journey. Prior to arrival at our mountain resorts, guests can receive personal assistance through our full-service, central reservations group and through our comprehensive websites to book desired lodging accommodations, lift tickets and pass products, ski school lessons, equipment rentals, activities and other resort services. Upon arrival, our resort staff serve as ambassadors to engage guests, answer questions and create a customer-focused environment. We offer EpicMix, an online and mobile application that, through radio frequency technology, captures a guest’s activity on the mountain (e.g. number of ski days, vertical feet skied and chairlift activity); allows a guest to share his or her experience, photos and accomplishments with family and friends on social networks; allows guests to access real time lift line wait times; and allows our ski school instructors to certify the attainment of certain skills and ski levels. We also offer the world’s first digital mountain assistant (“EMMA”), which uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing to offer information on everything from grooming, lift line wait times and parking, in addition to recommendations on rentals, lessons and dining options. We have also invested in lift ticket express fulfillment through new mobile technology by allowing lift ticket purchasers that buy online to bypass the ticket window. Additionally, we are focused on improving the guest ski/snowboard rental experience by eliminating the need for a guest to wait in several lines with the recent introduction of a new “pod” concept in several of our high-volume locations.
We also solicit guest feedback through a variety of surveys and results, which are used to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction, understand trends and develop future resort programs and amenities. We then utilize this guest feedback to help us focus our capital spending and operational efforts to the areas of the greatest need.
•Season Pass & Epic Day Pass Products
We offer a variety of pass products, primarily season pass and Epic Day Pass products, for all of our Resorts that are marketed towards both Destination guests as well as in-state and local (“Local”) guests. These pass products are available for purchase prior to the start of the ski season, offering our guests a better value in exchange for their commitment to ski at our Resorts before the season begins. For the 2020/2021 North American ski season, we reduced the prices of our entire portfolio of pass products by 20%. Our pass program drives strong customer loyalty and mitigates exposure to more weather sensitive guests, leading to greater revenue stability and allowing us to capture valuable guest data. Additionally, our pass product customers typically ski more days each season than those guests who do not buy pass products, which leads to additional ancillary spending. In addition, our pass products attract new guests to our Resorts. Our pass products generated approximately 61% of our total lift revenue for Fiscal 2021, which includes the impact of approximately $120.9 million of pass product revenue which was deferred from Fiscal 2020 and recognized primarily in Fiscal 2021 as a result of pass credits that we offered to 2019/2020 pass holders who renewed for the 2020/2021 ski season. Sales of pass products are a key component of our overall Mountain segment revenue and help create strong synergies among our Resorts. Our pass products range from providing access for a certain number of days to one or a combination of our Resorts to our Epic Pass, which provides unrestricted and unlimited access to all of our Resorts. The Epic Day Pass is a customizable one to seven day pass product purchased in advance of the season, for those skiers and riders who expect to ski a certain number of days during the season, and which is available in two tiers of resort offerings. All of our various pass product options can be found on our consumer website www.snow.com. Information on our websites does not constitute part of this document.
As part of our continued strategy to drive pass product sales and create a stronger connection between key skier markets and our iconic destination mountain resorts, we have continued to expand our portfolio of properties in recent years. In September 2019, we acquired Peak Resorts, Inc., which added 17 regional ski areas strategically located near key U.S. population centers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions. In April 2019, we acquired Falls Creek and Hotham, located in Victoria, Australia, expanding our portfolio of Australian ski resorts to complement Perisher, which we acquired in June 2015. Stevens Pass in Washington State (acquired in August 2018) is located 85 miles from Seattle and 250 miles from Whistler Blackcomb, a world-renowned international skiing destination which typically receives more than two million skier visits each year. We have also made strategic acquisitions of mountain resorts located in the Northeast U.S. recently, including Okemo in Vermont (acquired in September 2018) and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire (both acquired in September 2018). These ski areas are premier, high-end ski destinations for skiers and snowboarders on the East Coast, which draw visitors from New York City, Boston and the broader Northeast skier population. Additionally, we enter into strategic long-term season pass alliance agreements with third-
party mountain resorts including Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado, Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, Snowbasin Resort in Utah, Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu Resort in Japan, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in Canada, Les 3 Vallées in France, 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Skirama Dolomiti in Italy and Ski Arlberg in Austria, which further increases the value proposition of our pass products.
For the 2020/2021 North American ski season, we introduced Epic Mountain Rewards, a program which provides pass product holders a discount of 20% off on-mountain food and beverage, lodging, group ski school lessons, equipment rentals and more at our North American owned and operated Resorts. Epic Mountain Rewards is available for everyone who purchases an Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic Day Pass, Epic Military Pass and most of our other pass products, regardless of whether guests plan to ski one day or every day of the season. Additionally, in April 2020 we introduced Epic Coverage, which is included with the purchase of all pass products for no additional charge. Epic Coverage provides refunds in the event of certain resort closures and certain travel restrictions (e.g. for COVID-19), giving pass holders a refund for any portion of the season that is lost due to qualifying circumstances. Additionally, Epic Coverage provides a refund for qualifying personal circumstances that were historically covered by our legacy pass insurance program, including eligible injuries, job losses and many other personal events.
•Premier Ski Schools
Our mountain resorts are home to some of the highest quality and most widely recognized ski schools in the industry. Through a combination of outstanding training and abundant work opportunities, our ski schools have become home to many of the most experienced and credentialed professionals in the business. We complement our instructor staff with state-of-the-art facilities and extensive learning terrain, all with a keen attention to guest needs. We offer a wide variety of adult and child group and private lesson options with a goal of creating lifelong skiers and riders and showcasing to our guests all the terrain our resorts have to offer.
Our Resorts provide a variety of quality on-mountain and base village dining venues, ranging from top-rated fine dining restaurants to trailside express food service outlets. For the 2020/2021 ski season, we operated approximately 260 dining venues at our Resorts, which were impacted by restrictions and limitations as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of our guests and employees, including limited food options at quick-service restaurants, spacing of tables in seating areas to allow for physical distancing, and maintaining as much outdoor seating as possible.
We have approximately 325 retail/rental locations specializing in sporting goods including ski, snowboard and cycling equipment. In addition to providing a major retail/rental presence at each of our Resorts, we also have retail/rental locations throughout the Colorado Front Range, the San Francisco Bay Area, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis. Many of our retail/rental locations near key population centers also offer prime venues for selling our pass products.
We are a ski industry leader in providing comprehensive destination vacation experiences, including on-mountain activities designed to appeal to a broad range of interests. During a normal winter season, in addition to our exceptional ski experiences, guests can choose from a variety of non-ski related activities such as snowtubing, snowshoeing, guided snowmobile and scenic snow cat tours, backcountry expeditions, horse-drawn sleigh rides and high altitude dining, although some of these activities were restricted or limited for the most recent winter season to ensure the safety of our guests and employees as a result of COVID-19. During a normal summer season, our mountain resorts offer non-ski related recreational activities and provide guests with a wide array of options including scenic chairlift and gondola rides, mountain biking, horseback riding, guided hiking, 4x4 Jeep tours, and our Epic Discovery program at Vail Mountain, Heavenly and Breckenridge, although some of these activities were restricted or limited for both the 2020 and 2021 summer seasons to ensure the safety of our guests and employees as a result of COVID-19. The Epic Discovery program encourages “learn through play” by featuring extensive environmental educational elements interspersed between numerous activities, consisting of zip lines, children’s activities, challenge ropes courses, tubing, mountain excursions, an alpine slide and alpine coasters.
•Lodging and Real Estate
High quality lodging options are an integral part of providing a complete resort experience. Our owned and managed hotels and resorts proximate to our mountain resorts, including six RockResorts branded properties and a significant inventory of managed condominium units, provide numerous accommodation options for our mountain resort guests. Our recent real estate efforts have primarily focused on the potential to expand our destination bed base and upgrade our resorts through the sale of land parcels to third-party developers, which in turn provides opportunity for the development of condominiums, luxury hotels, parking and commercial space for restaurants and retail shops. Our Lodging and Real Estate segments have and continue to invest in resort related assets and amenities or seek opportunities to expand and enhance the overall resort experience.
Our Lodging segment includes owned and managed lodging properties, including those under our luxury hotel management company, RockResorts; managed condominium units which are in and around our mountain resorts in Colorado, Lake Tahoe, Utah, Vermont, New York and British Columbia, Canada; two NPS concessionaire properties in and near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; a resort ground transportation company in Colorado; and company-owned and operated mountain resort golf courses, including five in Colorado; one in Wyoming; one in Lake Tahoe, California; and one in Park City, Utah. For additional property details, see Item 2. “Properties”.
The Lodging segment currently includes approximately 5,500 owned and managed hotel rooms and condominium units. Our lodging strategy seeks to complement and enhance our mountain resort operations through our ownership or management of lodging properties and condominiums proximate to our mountain resorts and selective management of luxury resorts in premier destination locations.
In addition to our portfolio of owned and managed luxury resort hotels and other hotels and properties, our lodging business also features a Colorado ground transportation company, which represents the first point of contact with many of our guests when they arrive by air to Colorado. We offer year-round ground transportation from Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport to the Vail Valley (locations in and around Vail, Beaver Creek, Avon and Edwards), Aspen (locations in and around Aspen and Snowmass) and Summit County (which includes Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Frisco and Silverthorne).
Hotels are categorized by Smith Travel Research, a leading lodging industry research firm, as luxury, upper upscale, upscale, mid-price and economy. The service quality and level of accommodations of our RockResorts’ hotels place them in the luxury segment, which represents hotels achieving the highest average daily rates (“ADR”) in the industry, and includes such brands as the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Marriott’s Luxury Collection hotels. Our other hotels are categorized in the upper upscale and upscale segments of the hotel market. The luxury and upper upscale segments consist of approximately 763,000 rooms at approximately 2,400 properties in the U.S. as of July 31, 2021. For Fiscal 2021, our owned hotels, which include a combination of certain RockResort hotels as well as other hotels in proximity to our Resorts, had an overall ADR of $264.83, a paid occupancy rate of 46.2% and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) of $122.45, as compared to the upper upscale segment’s ADR of $155.53, a paid occupancy rate of 37.8% and RevPAR of $58.85. We believe that this comparison to the upper upscale segment is appropriate as our mix of owned hotels include those in the luxury and upper upscale segments, as well as certain of our hotels that fall in the upscale segment. The highly seasonal nature of our lodging properties typically results in lower average occupancy as compared to the upper upscale segment of the lodging industry as a whole, although this was not the case during Fiscal 2021 as a result of the significant impacts of COVID-19 on the broader lodging industry.
Competition in the hotel industry is generally based on quality and consistency of rooms, restaurants, meeting facilities and services, the attractiveness of locations, availability of a global distribution system and price. Our properties compete within their geographic markets with hotels and resorts that include locally-owned independent hotels, as well as facilities owned or managed by national and international chains, including such brands as Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Westin. Our properties also compete for convention and conference business across the national market. We believe we are highly competitive in the resort hotel niche for the following reasons:
•all of our hotels are located in unique, highly desirable resort destinations;
•our hotel portfolio has achieved some of the most prestigious hotel designations in the world, including two properties in our portfolio that are currently rated as AAA 4-Diamond;
•many of our hotels (both owned and managed) are designed to provide a look that feels indigenous to their surroundings, enhancing the guest’s vacation experience;
•each of our RockResorts hotels provides the same high level of quality and services, while still providing unique characteristics which distinguish the resorts from one another. This appeals to travelers looking for consistency in quality and service offerings together with an experience more unique than typically offered by larger luxury hotel chains;
•many of the hotels in our portfolio provide a wide array of amenities available to the guest such as access to world-class ski and golf resorts, spa and fitness facilities, water sports and a number of other outdoor activities, as well as highly acclaimed dining options;
•conference space with the latest technology is available at most of our hotels. In addition, guests at Keystone can use our company-owned Keystone Conference Center, the largest conference facility in the Colorado Rocky Mountain region with more than 100,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit and function space;
•we have a central reservations system that leverages off of our mountain resort reservations system and has an online planning and booking platform, offering our guests a seamless and useful way to make reservations at our resorts; and
•we actively upgrade the quality of the accommodations and amenities available at our hotels through capital improvements. Capital funding for third-party owned properties is provided by the owners of those properties to maintain standards required by our management contracts.
National Park Concessionaire Properties
We own GTLC, which is based in the Jackson Hole area in Wyoming and operates within Grand Teton National Park under a concessionaire agreement with the NPS with an initial term that would have expired on December 31, 2021. In June 2021, we agreed to an amendment to the agreement extending the term an additional two years, with an expiration date of December 31, 2023. We also own Flagg Ranch, located in Moran, Wyoming and centrally located between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park on the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (the “Parkway”). Flagg Ranch operates under a concessionaire agreement with the NPS that expires October 31, 2028. GTLC also owns Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club (“JHG&TC”), located outside Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming. GTLC’s operations within Grand Teton National Park and JHG&TC have operating seasons that generally run from June through the end of September.
We primarily compete with such companies as Aramark Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Forever Resorts and Xanterra Parks & Resorts in retaining and obtaining NPS concessionaire agreements. Four full-service concessionaires provide accommodations within Grand Teton National Park, including GTLC. In a normal operating season, GTLC offers three lodging options within Grand Teton National Park: Jackson Lake Lodge, a full-service, 385-room resort with 17,000 square feet of conference facilities; Jenny Lake Lodge, a small, rustically elegant retreat with 37 cabins; and Colter Bay Village, a facility with 166 log cabins, 66 tent cabins, 337 campsites and a 112-space recreational vehicle park. GTLC offers dining options as extensive as its lodging options, with cafeterias, casual eateries and fine dining establishments. GTLC’s resorts provide a wide range of activities for guests to enjoy, including cruises on Jackson Lake, boat rentals, horseback riding, guided fishing, float trips, golf and guided Grand Teton National Park tours. As a result of the extensive amenities offered, as well as the tremendous popularity of the National Park System, GTLC’s accommodations within Grand Teton National Park operate near full capacity during their operating season.
Real Estate Segment
We have extensive holdings of real property at our mountain resorts primarily throughout Summit and Eagle Counties in Colorado. Our real estate operations, through Vail Resorts Development Company (“VRDC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary, include planning, oversight, infrastructure improvement, development, marketing and sale of our real property holdings. In addition to the cash flow generated from real estate development sales, these development activities benefit our Mountain and Lodging segments by (1) creating additional resort lodging and other resort related facilities and venues (primarily restaurants, spas, commercial space, private mountain clubs, skier services facilities and parking structures) that provide us with the opportunity to create new sources of recurring revenue, enhance the guest experience and expand our destination bed base; (2) controlling the architectural themes of our resorts; and (3) expanding our property management and commercial leasing operations.
The principal activities of our Real Estate segment include the sale of land parcels to third-party developers and planning for future real estate development projects, including zoning and acquisition of applicable permits. We continue undertaking preliminary planning and design work on future projects and are pursuing opportunities with third-party developers rather than
undertaking our own significant vertical development projects. We believe that, due to the low carrying cost of our real estate land investments, we are well situated to promote future projects with third-party developers while limiting our financial risk.
Marketing and Sales
Our Mountain segment’s marketing and sales efforts are focused on leveraging marketing analytics to drive targeted and personalized marketing to our existing and prospective guests. We capture guest data on the vast majority of guest transactions through sales of our pass products, our e-commerce platforms including mobile lift ticket sales, the EpicMix application and our lift ticket windows. We promote our Resorts using guest-centric omni-channel marketing campaigns leveraging email, direct mail, promotional programs, digital marketing (including social, search and display) and traditional media advertising where appropriate (e.g. targeted print, TV and radio). We also have marketing programs directed at attracting groups, corporate meetings and convention business. Most of our marketing efforts drive traffic to our websites, where we provide our guests with information regarding each of our Resorts, including services and amenities, reservations information, virtual tours and the opportunity to book/purchase our full suite of products (e.g. lift access, lodging, ski school, rentals, etc.) for their visits. We also enter into strategic alliances with companies to enhance the guest experience at our Resorts, as well as to create opportunities for cross-marketing.
For our Lodging segment, we promote our hotels and lodging properties through marketing and sales programs, which include marketing directly to many of our guests through our digital channels (search, social and display), promotional programs, and print media advertising, all of which are designed to drive traffic to our websites and central reservations call center. We also promote comprehensive vacation experiences through various package offerings and promotions (combining lodging, lift tickets, ski school lessons, ski rental equipment, transportation and dining). In addition, our hotels have active sales forces to generate conference and group business. We market our resort properties in conjunction with our mountain resort marketing efforts where appropriate, given the strong synergies across the two businesses.
Across both the Mountain and Lodging segments, sales made through our websites and call center allow us to transact directly with our guests, which further expands our customer base and enables analytics to deliver an increasingly guest-centric marketing experience.
Ski resort operations are highly seasonal in nature, with a typical ski season in North America generally beginning in mid-November and running through mid-April. In an effort to partially mitigate the concentration of our revenue in the winter months in North America, we offer several non-ski related activities in the summer months such as sightseeing, mountain biking, guided hiking, 4x4 Jeep tours, golf (included in the operations of the Lodging segment) and our Epic Discovery program. These activities also help attract destination conference and group business to our Resorts in our off-season. In addition, the operating results of our Australian Resorts, for which the ski season generally occurs from June through early October, partially counterbalances the concentration of our revenues during this seasonally lower period in North America.
Our lodging business is also highly seasonal in nature, with peak seasons primarily in the winter months (with the exception of GTLC, Flagg Ranch, certain managed properties and mountain resort golf operations). We actively promote our extensive conference facilities and have added more off-season activities to help offset the seasonality of our lodging business. Additionally, we operate several golf courses proximate to our Resorts, as described above.
Sustainability & Social Responsibility
Sustainability remains a core philosophy for us. As a company rooted in the great outdoors, we have a unique responsibility to protect and preserve the incredible environments in which we operate. Through our corporate sustainability and social responsibility program, EpicPromise, we focus on climate change mitigation, resource conservation, and building stronger local communities through contributions to local non-profit organizations. Our sustainability efforts are diverse and touch nearly every area of our operations. In 2017, we launched Commitment to Zero, our pledge to have a zero net operating footprint by 2030. This commitment includes (i) achieving zero net emissions by finding operational energy efficiencies, investing in renewable energy and investing in offsets and other emissions reduction projects, (ii) zero waste to landfill by diverting 100% of waste from our operations, and (iii) zero net operating impact to forests and habitat by restoring an acre of forest for every acre displaced by our operations.
As a result of this commitment, Vail Resorts was accepted as the first travel and tourism company into RE100, a collaborative initiative uniting more than 300 global and influential businesses committed to 100% renewable electricity. During Fiscal 2021, we continued to make progress toward our Commitment to Zero goals, despite operational adjustments made in response to COVID-19. Specifically, we focused on maintaining our robust composting and recycling diversion programs as much as
possible and started new composting programs at seven resorts. In Colorado and Utah, we drove a pilot project to recycle snack wrappers and worked with strategic partners to create picnic tables, Adirondack chairs and a terrain park feature made from recycled wrappers and bottles for participating resorts. The 82-turbine Plum Creek Wind project we enabled came online in June 2020, and in Fiscal 2021 we purchased approximately 281,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy, addressing an estimated 85% of the Company’s current electricity use across its 34 North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas.
For over two years, Vail Resorts has worked with leaders from other ski companies to develop an industry-driven climate commitment. In June 2021 we, alongside Alterra Mountain Company, Boyne Resorts, and POWDR, announced the Climate Collaborative Charter - the ski industry’s first unified effort to combat climate change. This partnership leverages our leadership in sustainability and is expected to accelerate our collective progress, leading the industry toward long-term transformational change.
In addition, during Fiscal 2021, we sponsored the reforestation of acreage in the White River National Forest in Colorado that was devastated in a 2017 wildfire, which addressed 100% of the forests impacted by our operations over the year. Through direct Epic Promise grants and contributions from our $1 guest donation program, we partner with several local environmental organizations to fund restoration projects, including the National Forest Foundation, The Tahoe Fund, Grand Teton National Park Foundation, Mountain Trails Foundation in Park City and the EnviroFund at Whistler Blackcomb. We also encourage our employees to help protect the environment and support their local community by volunteering with various organizations.
For Fiscal 2021, our focus for the EpicPromise community impact grant program was on COVID-19 response in our resort communities, including housing assistance, food security, equal access to education and other basic needs and services. In addition, we hosted more than 3,000 youth across our resorts through multi-day programs focused on mentorship, leadership and the impact of outdoor time on mental health in this unprecedented time. Finally, our EpicPromise Employee Foundation (the “Foundation”), which was established in 2015, is a charitable foundation funded by annual contributions from the Company, its employees and its guests. The Foundation supports Vail Resorts’ employees and their families via grants for emergency relief and scholarships. Annually more than $1 million in grants and scholarships are provided to help employees in times of need or to pursue educational opportunities. For more information on both the Foundation and our environmental stewardship, visit www.EpicPromise.com. Information on our websites does not constitute part of this document.
Human Capital Management
At Vail Resorts, our Talent Philosophy focuses on fully achieving our mission and vision by ensuring we have the talent in place to deliver on our future growth plans. We are truly passionate about our people, and we are focused on hiring and developing the best talent and building the best teams around them. At fiscal year end, we employed approximately 6,100 year-round employees. Over the course of our Resorts’ various winter and summer operating seasons in Fiscal 2021, we employed approximately 40,200 seasonal employees. In addition, we employed approximately 100 year-round employees and 100 seasonal employees on behalf of the owners of our managed hotel properties. We consider our employee relations to be positive.
Our talent philosophy recognizes that people are our most important asset in driving our business growth, and outlines the role that leaders play in attracting, developing, engaging and rewarding high performing, high potential talent, including supporting them to achieve their future career growth. Our talent management system enables leaders with programs and tools to effectively assess, develop and reward talent and includes regular Leadership Talent Review and Assessment processes to ensure that the caliber and capability of our talent aligns with the sophistication of our business strategies and processes. Our executive team reviews talent strategy and succession planning frequently, including with our Board of Directors, to assess current and future talent needs. We have a strong track record of hiring, developing and preparing high performing, high potential talent for internal mobility and succession and since 2018, we have nearly doubled our percentage of high performing, high potential talent through performance management and talent upgrades. As a result, succession for our senior leadership roles, is primarily sourced through internal talent development and promotion, rather than external hires (72% internal fill rate). Over the past twelve months, we announced internal successors for some of the most senior roles in our Company, including Chief Executive Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, President of the Mountain Division, and Chief Operating Officer of Hospitality and Retail. All of our recent appointments of General Manager and Chief Operating Officers of our Resorts for the past three years came from internal succession.
To ensure we are building high performing teams, we encourage every employee at every level within the Company to continuously grow their leadership by participating in on-going leadership events that build leadership capability and drive aligned leadership expectations to enable business outcomes. We host an annual Leadership Summit that brings together our leaders at manager level and above to build understanding and alignment to business priorities, explore emerging leadership
topics and build connections across our growing global business and organization. We offer ongoing digital leadership series discussions led by our CEO for this same population throughout the year and equip leaders to share learnings and insights from these sessions in dialogue with their teams for the benefit of the entire organization. Our leadership philosophy has a very strong emphasis on emotional intelligence and a leader’s ability to understand their own impact on others, and shape that impact to unlock the potential of their teams.
We offer a broad range of professionally designed leadership development programs for entry level seasonal employees to the most senior executives, with differentiated development for our highest performing, highest potential employees who make up our long-term leadership succession pipeline. We provide tools and resources for employees of all levels to learn and grow as leaders and reward this as part of our performance management process. The Lift, our learning management system, gives employees access to a library of online learning resources to help them succeed. We also provide access to development tools, like the Insights Discovery platform, a behavioral assessment that offers a framework for self-understanding and development. Finally, to help employees navigate unique challenges presented by COVID-19, we intentionally invested in building new scalable digital programs to provide leaders across the company real-time capability to drive a successful business recovery, including programs focusing on resilience, agility, change leadership, sustainable energy and mental health.
Early on in the COVID crisis, we implemented a continuous listening survey to measure and understand the impact of COVID and our response actions on employees, in order to make timely adjustments to maintain strong alignment and focus, and to care for the needs of our employees through a challenging and uncertain period. As the winter season progressed and we achieved a level of business and organization stability, we broadened our continuous listening survey objectives and approach to focus on the drivers of sustainable engagement.
Vail Resorts Culture
Core to our human capital management strategy is our mission – to create an Experience of a Lifetime for our employees so they can in turn create an Experience of a Lifetime for our guests. We have a values-based leadership culture that places a premium on leader transparency, vulnerability and authenticity. We look for people to join Vail Resorts who are brave, passionate and ambitious. As Vail Resorts employees, we hold ourselves accountable for living these seven foundational values every day in everything we do: Serve Others, Do Right, Do Good, Be Safe, Have Fun, Be Inclusive and Drive Value.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion (“DEI”) is core to both our company success and the future growth of our industry. At Vail Resorts, one of our core values is “Be Inclusive”, which means that we expect everyone at our Company to be welcoming to others, including all races, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities and other differences.
We have a long history of building gender diversity throughout the Company. Women represent 48% of our corporate senior leaders at the director level and above and over 50% of our corporate roles generally. Ten resorts in our portfolio are led by women, including three of our five largest resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge). As of November 1, 2021, five of our ten directors will be women and two of our nine executive committee members are women, and our Chief Executive Officer, Kirsten Lynch, will be the only woman to head a Fortune 1000 company in travel and leisure. While women currently represent only approximately 20% of mountain operations senior leadership roles, we continue to strive to bring more gender diversity to these roles, which have historically been male-dominated. We have also developed Women in Leadership programs to foster an inclusive culture, and Forbes named us one of America’s Best Employers for Women in both 2019 and 2020.
We are focused on improving racial diversity at Vail Resorts, as well as in our communities and our industry. To that end, we are working towards addressing barriers to attracting the best talent from BIPOC communities in order to fuel innovation and growth within our Company and industry. We are also incorporating more diverse representation in our marketing efforts, including more direct outreach to communities of color. Over this past year, we undertook extensive efforts around DEI, including company-wide virtual webinars bringing forward diverse voices, DEI dialogues with external thought leaders, and online DEI training modules aligned with our “Be Inclusive” value. As part of our commitment to driving sustainable change, we are listening and learning as a company, and the Company is part of CEO Action, Colorado Inclusive Economy and Civic Alliance.
We require our full-time, year-round employees, as well as certain seasonal employees, to complete annual training as part of our Code of Conduct. This annual requirement includes training on a variety of topics, including unconscious bias and anti-harassment. In Fiscal 2021, the training was completed by 98% of this employee base. Our Code of Conduct states that every employee is entitled to work in a respectful environment that is free of harassment, bullying and discrimination.
The nature of our on-mountain operations comes with inherent safety risks, and the health and safety of our employees is a top priority. It is the shared responsibility of every employee to actively participate in creating a safe and secure environment and to minimize injuries. To that end, we routinely:
•Provide resources and education to promote safe operating environments at our resorts, including compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, as well as to improve overall workplace safety and health. This includes regular and ongoing safety training and assessments as well as safety audits, and all employees are required to take annual slope safety training.
•Proactively assess risks to identify and mitigate unsafe conditions and integrate learnings from incidents to prevent future occurrences across our network of resorts.
•Hire and train a dedicated health and safety team that oversees resort operations as well as highly trained ski patrol professionals at each resort.
The safety of our employees, guests and resort communities has been of utmost importance to us amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of our corporate employees worked remotely during COVID-19, and we currently plan to re-open our corporate office in January 2022. Our mountain operations, retail, lodging and other employees need to be onsite to carry out their work, and as part of our commitment to safety for these employees, we took the following actions associated with COVID-19 safety protocols:
▪All employees were required to wear face coverings at all times during the 2020/21 winter season, and we currently require face coverings to be worn by employees and guests in any of our indoor spaces.
▪Employees undergo daily health screenings.
▪Employees receive training to ensure compliance with additional health and safety protocols.
▪Implemented on-site testing for employees.
▪Implemented procedures to address actual and suspected COVID-19 cases and potential exposure.
▪High-touch surfaces are frequently cleaned and disinfected with EPA-approved products for COVID.
▪Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting.
▪Hand sanitizing stations provided throughout resorts.
▪Plexiglass barriers installed in areas where physical distancing measures are more difficult, including points of purchase.
▪Provided mental health support and access.
We continue to monitor guidance from federal and local health authorities in evaluating the need for continued COVID-19 safety protocols with regard to ongoing operations and as we prepare for the 2021/2022 North American ski season.
The development of intellectual property is part of our overall business strategy, and we regard our intellectual property as an important element of our success. Accordingly, we protect our intellectual property rights and seek to protect against its unauthorized use through international, national and state laws and common law rights. We file applications for and obtain trademark registrations and have filed for patents to protect inventions and will continue to do so where appropriate. We also seek to maintain our trade secrets and confidential information by nondisclosure policies and through the use of appropriate confidentiality agreements and contractual provisions.
In the highly competitive industry in which we operate, trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos are very important in the sales and marketing of our pass products, destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas, lodging properties and services. We seek to register and protect our trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos and have obtained a significant number of registrations for those trademarks. We believe our brands have become synonymous in the travel and leisure industry with a reputation for excellence in service and authentic hospitality. Among other national and international trademark registrations, the Company owns U.S. federal registrations for Epic®, Epic Pass®, Vail Resorts®, Vail®, Beaver Creek®, Breckenridge®, Keystone® and Heavenly®. The Company also owns Canadian and U.S. trademark registrations for the Whistler Blackcomb® name and logo.
Environmental Compliance and other Laws and Regulations
Our operations are subject to federal, state and local laws and regulations governing the environment, including laws and regulations governing water and sewer discharges, water use, air emissions, soil and groundwater contamination, the
maintenance of underground and aboveground storage tanks, and the disposal of waste and hazardous materials. Examples of such laws and regulations in the U.S. include the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the California Environmental Quality Act, and the Vermont Land Use and Development Act. Internationally, we are subject to the Forest and Range Practices Act and Watershed Sustainability Act in British Columbia as well as the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW, Australia) and the Environment Protection Act 1970 and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Victoria, Australia).
Various federal, state, local and provincial regulations also govern our resort operations, including liquor licensing and food safety regulations applicable to our food and beverage operations and safety standards relating to our lift operations and heli-ski operations at Whistler Blackcomb. In addition, each resort is subject to and must comply with state, county, regional and local government land use regulations and restrictions, including, for example, employee housing ordinances, zoning and density restrictions, noise ordinances, and wildlife, water and air quality regulations. We believe that we are in compliance, in all material respects, with environmental and other laws and regulations. Compliance with such provisions has not materially impacted our capital expenditures, earnings, or competitive position, and we do not anticipate that it will have a material impact in the future.
Contracts with Governmental Authorities for Resort Operations
U.S. Forest Service Resorts
The operations of Breckenridge, Vail Mountain, Keystone, Crested Butte, Stevens Pass, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mount Snow, Attitash and portions of Beaver Creek and Wildcat are conducted on land under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service (collectively, the “Forest Service Resorts”). The 1986 Ski Area Permit Act (the “1986 Act”) allows the Forest Service to grant Term Special Use Permits (each, a “SUP”) for the operation of ski areas and construction of related facilities on National Forest lands. In November 2011, the 1986 Act was amended by the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act (the “Enhancement Act”) to clarify the Forest Service’s authority to approve facilities primarily for year-round recreation. Under the 1986 Act, the Forest Service has the authority to review and approve the location, design and construction of improvements in the permit area and many operational matters.
Each individual national forest is required by the National Forest Management Act to develop and maintain a Land and Resource Management Plan (a “Forest Plan”), which establishes standards and guidelines for the Forest Service to follow and consider in reviewing and approving our proposed actions.
Each of the Forest Service Resorts operates under a SUP, and the acreage and expiration date information for each SUP is as follows:
|Forest Service Resort ||Acres||Expiration Date|
|Breckenridge||5,702||December 31, 2029|
|Vail Mountain||12,353||December 1, 2031|
|Keystone||8,376||December 31, 2032|
|Beaver Creek||3,849||November 8, 2039|
|Heavenly||7,050||May 1, 2042|
|Mount Snow||894||April 4, 2047|
|Attitash||279||April 4, 2047|
|Wildcat||953||November 18, 2050|
|Kirkwood||2,330||March 1, 2052|
|Stevens Pass||2,443||August 31, 2058|
|Crested Butte||4,350||September 27, 2058|
We anticipate requesting a new SUP for each Forest Service Resort prior to its expiration date as provided by Forest Service regulations and the terms of each existing SUP. We are not aware of the Forest Service refusing to issue a new SUP to replace an expiring SUP for a ski resort in operation at the time of expiration. The Forest Service can also terminate a SUP if it determines that termination is required in the public interest. However, to our knowledge, no SUP has ever been terminated by the Forest Service over the opposition of the permit holder.
Each SUP contains a number of requirements, including indemnifying the Forest Service from third-party claims arising out of our operation under the SUP and compliance with applicable laws, such as those relating to water quality and endangered or threatened species. For use of the land authorized by the SUPs, we pay a fee to the Forest Service ranging from 1.5% to 4.0% of adjusted gross revenue for activities authorized by the SUPs. Included in the calculation are sales from, among other things, lift tickets, pass products, ski school lessons, food and beverage, certain summer activities, equipment rentals and retail merchandise.
The SUPs may be revised or amended to accommodate changes initiated by us or by the Forest Service to change the permit area or permitted uses. The Forest Service may amend a SUP if it determines that such amendment is in the public interest. While the Forest Service is required to seek the permit holder’s consent to any amendment, an amendment can be finalized over a permit holder’s objection. Permit amendments must be consistent with the Forest Plan and are subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), both of which are discussed below.
The 1986 Act requires a Master Development Plan (“MDP”) for each ski area that is granted a SUP, and all improvements that we propose to make on National Forest System lands under any of our SUPs must be included in a MDP, which describes the existing and proposed facilities, developments and area of activity within the permit area. The MDPs are reviewed by the Forest Service for compliance with the Forest Plan and other applicable laws and, if found to be compliant, are accepted by the Forest Service. Notwithstanding acceptance by the Forest Service of the conceptual MDPs, individual projects still require separate applications and compliance with NEPA and other applicable laws before the Forest Service will approve such projects. We update or amend our MDPs for our Forest Service Resorts from time to time.
Whistler Blackcomb is comprised of two mountains: Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are located on Crown Land within the traditional territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. The relationship between Whistler Blackcomb and Her Majesty, the Queen in Right of British Columbia (the “Province”) is largely governed by Master Development Agreements (the “MDAs”) between the Province and Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership (“Whistler LP”) with respect to Whistler Mountain, and between the Province and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership (“Blackcomb LP”) with respect to Blackcomb Mountain. Together, Whistler LP and Blackcomb LP are referred to as the “Partnerships.”
The MDAs, which were entered into in February 2017, have a term of 60 years (expiring on February 23, 2077) and are replaceable for an additional 60 years by option exercisable by the Partnerships after the first 30 years of the initial term. In accordance with the MDAs, the Partnerships are obligated to pay annual fees to the Province at a percentage of gross revenues related to the operation of certain activities at Whistler Blackcomb.
The MDAs require that each of the mountains be developed, operated and maintained in accordance with its respective master plan, which contains requirements as to matters such as trail design and development, passenger lift development and environmental concerns. The MDAs grant a general license to use the Whistler Mountain lands and the Blackcomb Mountain lands for the operation and development of Whistler Blackcomb. The MDAs also provide for the granting of specific tenures of land owned by the Province to the Whistler LP or the Blackcomb LP, as applicable, by way of rights-of-way, leases or licenses. Each Partnership is permitted to develop new improvements to Whistler Mountain or Blackcomb Mountain, as the case may be, within standard municipal type development control conditions. We are obligated to indemnify the Province from third-party claims arising out of our operations under the MDAs.
Stowe and Okemo operate partially on land that we own and partially on land we lease from the State of Vermont. With respect to Stowe, the land we own is on the Spruce Peak side of the resort while the land we lease from the State of Vermont is located on Mt. Mansfield in the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. The initial ten year term of the lease commenced in June 1967, and the lease provides for eight separate ten year extension options. The current term of the lease extends through June 2027, and there are three remaining ten year extension options. With respect to Okemo, we own the Jackson Gore base area land and lease most of the skiable terrain from the State of Vermont. The initial ten year term of the lease commenced in December 1963, and the lease provides for eight separate ten year extension options. The current term of the lease extends through December 2023, and there are three remaining ten year extension options. Under both leases, the land can be used for the development and operation of a ski area including ski trails, ski lifts, warming shelters, restaurants and maintenance facilities. For use of the land under the leases, we pay a fee to the State of Vermont based on revenue for activities authorized by the lease, such as lift tickets, pass products, food and beverage, summer activities and retail merchandise. We are obligated to indemnify the State of Vermont from third-party claims arising out of our operations under the lease.
Mount Sunapee lies within the Mount Sunapee State Park and operates on land that we lease from the State of New Hampshire. The initial twenty year term of the lease commenced in July 1998, and the lease provides for three separate ten year extension options. The current term of the lease extends through June 2028, and there are two remaining ten year extension options. The land can be managed and operated as a ski area and summer recreational facility, including all of its support activities, to provide year-round outdoor recreation. For use of the land under the lease, we pay a fee to the State of New Hampshire that includes both a base fee and a fee based on revenue from activities authorized by the lease, such as lift tickets, pass products, food and beverage, summer activities and retail merchandise. We are obligated to indemnify the State of New Hampshire from third-party claims arising out of our operations under the lease.
Perisher is located in the Kosciuszko National Park, the largest national park in New South Wales, Australia. The resort includes four villages (Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow) and their associated ski fields, as well as the site of the Skitube Alpine Railway at Bullock’s Flat, which is accredited in accordance with the Rail Safety National Law (NSW) No. 82a. The Office of Environment and Heritage (“OEH”), an agency of the New South Wales government, which is part of the Department of Planning and Environment, is responsible for the protection and conservation of the Kosciuszko National Park. The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) (“NPW Act”) establishes the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is responsible for the control and management of the Kosciusko National Park.
The NPW Act requires the Kosciuszko National Park to be managed in accordance with the principles specified in that legislation, including the provision for sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment that is compatible with the conservation of the national park’s natural and cultural values. The legislation also authorizes the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Heritage (the “Minister”) to grant leases and licenses of land within the Kosciuszko National Park for various purposes, including for purposes related to sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment. Under this power, the Minister has granted to Perisher a lease and a license of specified land within the Kosciusko National Park until June 30, 2048, with an option to renew for an additional period of 20 years. The Minister has also granted Perisher a lease of the parking lot at Perisher Valley that expires on December 31, 2025. Subject to certain conditions being met, the lease for the Perisher Valley parking lot can be extended until June 30, 2048, with an option to renew for a further 20 years. The lease and license provide for the payment of a minimum annual base rent with periodic increases in base rent over the term, turnover rent payments based on a percentage of certain gross revenue, remittance of park user fees and certain other charges, also subject to periodic increases over the term.
Falls Creek and Hotham are located in the Alpine National Park in Victoria, Australia. Falls Creek and Hotham both operate on Crown land permanently reserved under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 (Vic), with the exception of three small parcels of freehold land within the Hotham resort area. Each resort is subject to the Alpine Resorts (Management) Act 1997 (Vic) (the “ARM Act”), which is in place to manage the development, promotion, management and use of the resorts on a sustainable basis and in a manner that is compatible with the alpine environment. The ARM Act established the Alpine Resorts Commission to plan for the direction and sustainable growth of Victoria’s five alpine resorts (including Falls Creek and Hotham). This includes review and coordination of the implementation of an Alpine Resorts Strategic Plan to which Falls Creek and Hotham are subject.
The ARM Act also established each of the Falls Creek Resort Management Board and Hotham Resort Management Board (the “RMBs”), each of which is appointed by, and responsible to, the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change (the “Minister”). The RMBs are responsible for the management and collection of fees for entrance into the Alpine National Park and from Falls Creek and Hotham ski resorts. The ARM Act authorizes the RMBs to grant leases subject to Ministerial approval, and under this power, the entities operating the Hotham and Falls Creek resorts have each been leased land within the Alpine National Park under various long-term leases with differing expiration dates. The main lease for the ski field at Falls Creek expires December 31, 2040, while the main lease for the ski field at Hotham expires December 31, 2057. The key ski field leases provide for the payment of rent with both a fixed and variable component, a community service charge payable to the ARCC and a ski patrol contribution payable to RMBs. At Hotham, we also lease land known as ‘Dinner Plain’ within the Alpine National Park which expires on June 30, 2031, with an option to extend for a further 10 years.
The Alpine Resorts (Management) Regulations 2009 (Vic) gives the RMBs the power to declare the snow season, temporarily close the resort to entry if there is a significant danger to public safety, determine parts of a resort to which entry is prohibited, set aside areas of the resort for public use, parking, driving of vehicles, or landing of aircraft, and determine the areas for cross country ski trails, skiing, snowboarding and other snow play activities.
GTLC operates three lodging properties, food and beverage services, retail, camping and other services within the Grand Teton National Park under a concessionaire agreement with the NPS. Our concessionaire agreement with the NPS for GTLC, which had an initial term expiration date of December 31, 2021, was amended in June 2021 to extend the term to December 31, 2023. We pay a fee to the NPS of a percentage of the majority of our sales occurring in Grand Teton National Park.
Flagg Ranch Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary, provides lodging, food and beverage services, retail, service station, recreation and other services on the Parkway located between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Our concession contract with the NPS for the Parkway expires on October 31, 2028, and we pay a fee to the NPS of a percentage of the majority of our sales occurring in the Parkway.
Prior to expiration of these concession contracts, we will have the opportunity to bid against other prospective concessionaires for award of a new contract. The NPS may suspend operations under the concession contract at any time if the NPS determines it is necessary to protect visitors or resources within the Grand Teton National Park or during a Federal Government shutdown. The NPS may also terminate the concession contract for breach, following notice and a 15 day cure period or if it believes termination is necessary to protect visitors or resources within the Grand Teton National Park.
We file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reports, including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These reports, proxy statements and other information are available free of charge on our corporate website www.vailresorts.com as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Information on our websites does not constitute part of this document. Materials filed with or furnished to the SEC are also made available on its website at www.sec.gov. Copies of any materials we file with the SEC can be obtained at www.sec.gov or at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Information on the operation of the public reference room is available by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.
ITEM 1A.RISK FACTORS.
Our operations and financial results are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. The risks described below should carefully be considered together with the other information contained in this report.
Risks Related to Our Business
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and could continue to have, a significant negative impact on our financial condition and operations. Further, the spread of COVID-19 has caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economies and financial markets and could potentially create widespread business continuity issues of an as yet unknown magnitude and duration. Any future outbreak of any COVID-19 variants or any other highly infectious or contagious disease could have a similar impact.
The outbreak and continuing spread of COVID-19 has disrupted our business, and has had and could continue to have a significant negative impact on our business, financial performance and condition, operating results, liquidity and cash flows. Governmental authorities have issued and continue to issue a variety of mandates in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, including travel restrictions, border closures, restrictions on public gatherings, occupancy limits, “shelter at home’’ orders and advisories, and quarantine requirements. The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted global economic activity and caused significant volatility in financial markets, with particular risk to the travel and leisure industry, which is disproportionately impacted by travel restrictions and other public health restrictions.
In response to the continued challenges associated with the spread of COVID-19, we have had to close certain Resorts at various times. For example, on March 30, 2021, towards the end of the North American operating season and following an order from the government of British Columbia as a result of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the region, we closed Whistler Blackcomb. Our other North American Resorts were generally operational throughout the 2020/2021 ski season, after closing early in the 2019/2020 season, and were open for 2021 summer activities. Our Australian Resorts were open for their 2021 winter season, however there were border closures, travel restrictions and public health orders in place throughout the country that impacted visitation to our Australian ski areas and caused periodic Resort closures. We are also monitoring public health orders and regulations that affect or may affect our winter operations for the 2021/2022 North American ski season.
Our operations continue to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 and associated government mandated restrictions, including capacity limitations, border closures and travel restrictions, and mask and social distancing requirements. Additionally, we may impose our own COVID-19 related restrictions in addition to what is required by state and local governments in the interest of safety for our guests, employees and resort communities. Factors that could negatively impact our ability to successfully operate during the current COVID-19 pandemic or another pandemic include:
•our ability to open and keep open our Resorts during their respective ski seasons, including our North American Resorts for their upcoming winter season;
•our ability to attract and retain guests given the risks, or perceived risks, of gathering in public places;
•changes in consumer preferences during the pandemic;
•the willingness of guests to travel or purchase advance commitment products, such as our portfolio of pass products;
•existing or future restrictions imposed by governmental authorities, including quarantines, capacity limitations, vaccination mandates for visitors from certain areas, and indoor dining or other restrictions that may affect our operations or the ability of our guests to return to our Resorts;
•actual or perceived deterioration or weakness in economic conditions, unemployment levels, the job or housing markets, consumer debt levels or consumer confidence, as well as other adverse economic or market conditions due to COVID-19 or otherwise, and their collective impacts on demand for travel and leisure;
•our ability to incentivize and retain our current employees, and hire sufficient future seasonal employees;
•the risk of lawsuits related to COVID-19 or another pandemic;
•our ability to access debt and equity capital on attractive terms, or at all; and
•the impact of disruption and instability in the global financial markets or deterioration in credit and financing conditions on our access to capital necessary to fund operating costs, including maintenance capital spending, or to address maturing liabilities.
The extent and duration of the impact of COVID-19 on our business, consolidated results of operations, consolidated financial position and consolidated cash flows, will depend largely on future developments, including the duration of the virus (including any variants, which may be more contagious and/or impact the effectiveness of approved vaccines), vaccination rates in areas where our Resorts are located or our guests reside, any continuing or newly imposed travel restrictions or vaccination requirements in connection with travel, the related impact on factors affecting guest behavior, including consumer confidence and spending, and when we will be able to resume normal operations, all of which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted.
COVID-19 continues to present material uncertainty and risk with respect to our business, financial performance and condition, operating results, liquidity and cash flows. To the extent the COVID-19 pandemic adversely affects our business and financial results, it may also have the effect of heightening many of the other risks described in the Risk Factors presented in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, and our subsequent filings with the SEC. Any future outbreak of any other highly infectious or contagious disease could have a similar impact.
Our Epic Coverage program may require us to provide significant refunds to our pass product holders, which would result in reduced revenue and also exposes us to the risk of customer complaints and negative perception about our pass products.
In April 2020, the Company introduced Epic Coverage, which is included with the purchase of all pass products for no additional charge. Epic Coverage offers refunds to pass product holders if certain qualifying personal or Resort closure events occur before or during the ski season, subject to express terms and conditions. Accordingly, to the extent that any of our Resorts need to be closed for all or specified portions of the ski season (including due to COVID-19), we could be required to provide a significant amount of refunds to our pass product holders, subject to express terms and conditions, which could have a material negative impact on our financial performance and condition.
The estimated amount of refunds reduce the amount of pass product revenue recognized by the Company. To estimate the amount of refunds under Epic Coverage, the Company considers (i) historical claims data for personal events, (ii) provincial, state, county and local COVID-19 regulations and public health orders, and (iii) the Company’s operating plans for its Resorts. The Company believes the estimates of refunds are reasonable; however, the program is relatively new and there continues to be uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, and therefore actual results could vary materially from such estimates, and the Company could be required to refund significantly higher amounts than estimated.
Epic Coverage has also resulted in customer complaints and negative perception by customers who believe they are entitled to a refund for events that do not qualify under the express terms and conditions of the program. Any complaints posted by customers on social media platforms, even if inaccurate, may harm our reputation, and may divert management’s time and attention away from other business matters.
Leisure travel is particularly susceptible to various factors outside of our control, including terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts, the cost and availability of travel options and changing consumer preferences or willingness to travel.
Our business is sensitive to the willingness of our guests to travel. Acts of terrorism, pandemics, political events and developments in military conflicts in areas of the world from which we draw our guests could depress the public’s propensity to travel and cause severe disruptions in both domestic and international air travel and consumer discretionary spending, which could reduce the number of visitors to our Resorts and have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Many of our guests travel by air and the impact of higher prices for commercial airline services, availability of air services and willingness of guests to travel by air could cause a decrease in visitation by Destination guests to our Resorts. A significant portion of our guests also travel by vehicle and higher gasoline prices or willingness of guests to travel generally due to safety or traffic concerns could cause a decrease in visitation by guests who would typically drive to our Resorts. Higher cost of travel may also affect the amount that guests are willing to spend at our Resorts and could negatively impact our revenue particularly for lodging, ski school, dining and retail/rental.
Additionally, our success depends on our ability to attract visitors to our Resorts. Changes in consumer tastes and preferences, particularly those affecting the popularity of skiing and snowboarding, and other social and demographic trends could adversely affect the number of skier visits during a ski season. A significant decline in skier visits compared to historical levels would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are subject to the risk of prolonged weakness in general economic conditions including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries.
Skiing, travel and tourism are discretionary recreational activities that can entail a relatively high cost of participation and may be adversely affected by economic slowdown or recession. Economic conditions in North America, Europe and parts of the rest of the world, including high unemployment, erosion of consumer confidence, sovereign debt issues and financial instability in the global markets, could have negative effects on the travel and leisure industry and on our results of operations. See “Risks Related to Our Business—The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and could continue to have, a significant negative impact on our financial condition and operations. Further, the spread of COVID-19 has caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economies and financial markets and could potentially create widespread business continuity issues of an as yet unknown magnitude and duration. Any future outbreak of any COVID-19 variants or other highly infectious or contagious disease could have a similar impact.” As a result of these and other economic uncertainties, we have experienced and may continue to experience in the future, a change in booking trends including where guest reservations are made much closer to the actual date of stay, a decrease in the length of stay, a decrease in consumer spending and/or a decrease in group bookings. We cannot predict what further impact these uncertainties may continue to have on overall travel and leisure or more specifically, on our guest visitation, guest spending or other related trends and the ultimate impact it will have on our results of operations. Additionally, the actual or perceived fear of weakness in the economy could also lead to decreased spending by our guests. This could be further exacerbated by the fact that we charge some of the highest prices for single day lift tickets and ancillary services in the ski industry; however, we offer pass products, including the Epic Day Pass, that are available at a discount to the single day lift ticket prices. In the event of a decrease in visitation and overall guest spending we may decide we need to offer a higher amount of discounts and incentives than we have historically, which would adversely impact our operating results. Our Resorts also serve as a destination for international guests. To the extent there are material changes in exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar or travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19, it could impact the volume of international visitation, which could have a significant impact on our operating results.
We are vulnerable to unfavorable weather conditions and the impact of natural disasters.
Our ability to attract guests to our Resorts is influenced by weather conditions and by the amount and timing of snowfall during the ski season. Unfavorable weather conditions can adversely affect skier visits and our revenue and profits. Unseasonably warm weather may result in inadequate natural snowfall and reduce skiable terrain, which increases the cost of snowmaking and could render snowmaking, wholly or partially, ineffective in maintaining quality skiing conditions, including in areas which are not accessible by snowmaking equipment. On the other hand, excessive natural snowfall may significantly increase the costs incurred to groom trails and may make it difficult for guests to access our mountain Resorts.
There can be no assurance that our Resorts will receive seasonal snowfalls near their historical averages. As an example of weather variability, during the 2017/2018 North American ski season, we experienced historically low snowfall across our western U.S. Resorts for the first half of the ski season, with snowfall in Vail, Beaver Creek and Park City through January 31, 2018 at the lowest levels recorded in over 30 years while Tahoe was more than 50% below the 20-year average. Conversely, during the 2018/2019 North American ski season, our western U.S. Resorts experienced above-average snowfall while through December 31, 2019 for the 2019/2020 North American ski season, our Pacific Northwest Resorts (Whistler Blackcomb and
Stevens Pass) experienced the lowest snowfall in over 30 years. During the 2020/2021 North American ski season, snowfall levels were well below average at our Colorado, Utah and Tahoe Resorts through the holiday season. Past snowfall levels or consistency of snow conditions can impact sales of pass products or other advanced bookings. Additionally, the early season snow conditions and skier perceptions of early season snow conditions can influence the momentum and success of the overall ski season. Unfavorable weather conditions can adversely affect our Resorts and lodging properties as guests tend to delay or postpone vacations if conditions differ from those that are typical at such Resorts for a given season. Although we have created geographic diversification to help mitigate the impact of weather variability, there is no way for us to predict future weather patterns or the impact that weather patterns may have on our results of operations or visitation.
A severe natural disaster, such as a forest fire, may interrupt our operations, damage our properties, reduce the number of guests who visit our Resorts in affected areas and negatively impact our revenue and profitability. Damage to our properties could take a long time to repair and there is no guarantee that we would have adequate insurance to cover the costs of repair and recoup lost profits. Furthermore, such a disaster may interrupt or impede access to our affected properties or require evacuations and may cause visits to our affected properties to decrease for an indefinite period. The ability to attract visitors to our Resorts is also influenced by the aesthetics and natural beauty of the outdoor environment where our Resorts are located. A severe forest fire or other severe impacts from naturally occurring events could negatively impact the natural beauty of our Resorts and have a long-term negative impact on our overall guest visitation as it would take several years for the environment to recover.
Additionally, there is scientific research that emissions of greenhouse gases continue to alter the composition of the global atmosphere in ways that are affecting and are expected to continue affecting the global climate. The effect of climate change, including any impact of global warming, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations as a result of increased weather variability and/or warmer overall temperatures, which would likely adversely affect skier visits and our revenue and profits.
Cyberattacks or other interruptions to or disruption of our information technology systems and services could disrupt our business.
Our business relies on the continuous operation of information technology systems and services. Despite our efforts, our information networks and systems are vulnerable to service interruptions or to security breaches from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees or vendors, natural disasters, system or equipment malfunctions, power outages, computer viruses or intentional attacks by malicious third parties, which could persist undetected for an extended period of time. Any interruption to these systems and services could adversely impact our business, including lost revenue, customer claims, damage to reputation, litigation, and/or denial or interruption to our processing of transactions and/or the services we provide to customers. We also provide information to third party service providers and rely on third party service providers for the provision of information technology services. There is a risk that the information held by third parties could be disclosed, otherwise compromised, or disrupted. We carry insurance for many of these adverse events, including cyber security insurance, but our insurance coverage may not always be sufficient to meet all of our liabilities.
There has been a rise in the number of sophisticated cyberattacks on network and information systems, including ransomware attacks that prevent the target from accessing its own data and/or systems until a ransom is paid. As a result, the risks associated with such an event continue to increase. We have experienced cybersecurity threats and incidents, none of which has been material to us to date. We have taken, and continue to take, steps to address these concerns by implementing security and internal controls. However, there can be no assurance that a system interruption, security breach or unauthorized access will not occur. Cyber threats and attacks are constantly evolving and becoming more sophisticated, which increases the difficulty and cost of detecting and defending against them. Cyber threats and attacks can have cascading impacts across networks, systems and operations. Any such interruption, breach or unauthorized access to our network or systems, or the networks or systems of our vendors, could adversely affect our business operations and result in the loss of critical or sensitive confidential information or intellectual property, as well as impact our ability to meet regulatory or compliance obligations, and could result in financial, legal, business and reputational harm to us. These events also could result in large expenditures to repair or replace the damaged properties, products, services, networks or information systems to protect them from similar events in the future.
Failure to maintain the integrity and security of our internal, employee or guest data could result in damages to our reputation and subject us to costs, fines or lawsuits.
Our business relies on the use of large volumes of data. We collect and retain guest data, including credit card numbers and other sensitive personal information, for various business purposes, such as processing transactions, marketing and other promotional purposes. We also maintain personal information about our employees. We could make faulty decisions if data is inaccurate or incomplete. Maintaining the integrity and security of data can be costly and is critical to our business, and our guests and employees have a high expectation that we will adequately protect their personal information. A significant theft,
loss, loss of access to, or fraudulent use of customer, employee, or company data held by us or our service providers could adversely impact our reputation, and could result in significant remedial and other expenses, fines, and/or litigation.
Our business is highly seasonal.
Our mountain and lodging operations are highly seasonal in nature. Peak operating season for our North American Resorts is from late November to mid-April, and accordingly, revenue and profits from our mountain and most of our lodging operations are substantially lower and historically result in losses from late spring to late fall. Conversely, peak operating seasons for our Australian Resorts, GTLC and Flagg Ranch, mountain summer activities (including our Epic Discovery program), sightseeing and our golf courses generally occur from June to the end of September. Revenue and profits generated by our Australian Resorts, GTLC and Flagg Ranch, mountain summer activities/sightseeing and golf peak season operations are not nearly sufficient to fully offset our off-season losses from our other mountain and lodging operations. For Fiscal 2021, approximately 82% of total combined Mountain and Lodging segment net revenue (excluding Lodging segment revenue associated with reimbursement of payroll costs) was earned during our second and third fiscal quarters. This seasonality is partially mitigated by the sale of pass products (which for Fiscal 2021 accounted for approximately 61% of the total lift revenue) predominately occurring during the period prior to the start of the ski season as the cash from those sales is collected in advance and revenue is mostly recognized in the second and third quarters. In addition, the timing of major holidays and school breaks can impact vacation patterns and therefore visitation at our destination mountain Resorts and regional ski areas. If we were to experience an adverse event or realize a significant deterioration in our operating results during our peak periods (our fiscal second and third quarters) we would be unable to fully recover any significant declines due to the seasonality of our business (for example, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic which has resulted in Resort closures). See “Risks Related to Our Business—The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and could continue to have, a significant negative impact on our financial condition and operations. Further, the spread of COVID-19 has caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economies and financial markets and could potentially create widespread business continuity issues of an as yet unknown magnitude and duration. Any future outbreak of any COVID-19 variant or other highly infectious or contagious disease could have a similar impact.”. Operating results for any three-month period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any subsequent quarter or for a full fiscal year (see Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
We face significant competition.
The ski Resort and lodging industries are highly competitive. There are approximately 745 ski areas in North America, including approximately 460 in the U.S. that serve local and destination guests, and these ski areas can be more or less impacted by weather conditions based on their location and snowmaking capabilities. The factors that we believe are important to customers include:
•proximity to population centers;
•availability and cost of transportation to ski areas;
•availability and quality of lodging options in resort areas;
•ease of travel to ski areas (including direct flights by major airlines);
•pricing of lift tickets and/or pass products;
•the magnitude, quality and price of related ancillary services (ski school, dining and retail/rental), amenities and lodging;
•type and quality of skiing and snowboarding offered;
•duration of the ski season;
•weather conditions; and
There are many competing options for our guests, including other major resorts in Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, the Pacific Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and British Columbia, Canada, and other major destination ski areas worldwide. Our guests can choose from any of these alternatives, as well as non-skiing vacation options and destinations around the world. In addition, other forms of leisure such as sporting events and participation in other competing indoor and outdoor recreational activities are available to potential guests.
RockResorts hotels, our other hotels and our property management business compete with numerous other hotel and property management companies that may have greater financial resources than we do and they may be able to adapt more quickly to changes in customer requirements or devote greater resources to promotion of their offerings than us.
The high fixed cost structure of mountain resort operations can result in significantly lower margins if revenues decline.
The cost structure of our mountain Resort operations has a significant fixed component with variable expenses including, but not limited to, land use permit or lease fees and other resort related fees; credit card fees; retail/rental cost of sales; labor; and resort, dining and ski school operations. Any material declines in the economy, elevated geopolitical uncertainties and/or significant changes in historical snowfall patterns, as well as other risk factors discussed herein, could adversely affect revenue. See “Risks Related to Our Business—The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and could continue to have, a significant negative impact on our financial condition and operations. Further, the spread of COVID-19 has caused severe disruptions in the U.S. and global economies and financial markets and could potentially create widespread business continuity issues of an as yet unknown magnitude and duration. Any future outbreak of any COVID-19 variant or other highly infectious or contagious disease could have a similar impact.” As such, our margins, profits and cash flows may be materially reduced due to declines in revenue given our relatively high fixed cost structure. In addition, increases in expenses as a result of inflation or other economic factors may adversely impact wages and other labor costs, energy, healthcare, insurance, transportation and fuel, cost of goods, property taxes, minimum lease payments and other expenses included in our fixed cost structure, which may also reduce our margin, profits and cash flows.
We may not be able to fund resort capital expenditures.
We regularly expend capital to construct, maintain and renovate our mountain Resorts and properties in order to remain competitive, maintain the value and brand standards of our mountain Resorts and properties and comply with applicable laws and regulations. We cannot always predict where capital will need to be expended in a given fiscal year and capital expenditures can increase due to circumstances beyond our control. In March 2021, we announced our full capital plan for calendar year 2021, pursuant to which we anticipated we would spend approximately $135 million to $140 million, including one-time items associated with integrations of $5 million and approximately $12 million of reimbursable investments.
Our ability to fund capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations and/or to borrow from third parties in the debt or equity markets. We cannot provide assurances that our operations will be able to generate sufficient cash flow to fund such capital expenditures, or that we will be able to obtain sufficient financing on adequate terms, or at all. Our ability to generate cash flow and to obtain third-party financing will depend upon many factors, including:
•our future operating performance;
•general economic conditions and economic conditions affecting the resort industry, the ski industry and the capital markets;
•legislative and regulatory matters affecting our operations and business;
Any inability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations or to obtain adequate third-party financing could cause us to delay or abandon certain projects and/or plans.
A disruption in our water supply would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations.
Our operations are heavily dependent upon our access to adequate supplies of water for snowmaking and to otherwise conduct our operations. Our mountain Resorts are subject to federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations relating to water rights. Changes in these laws and regulations may adversely affect our operations. In addition, a severe and prolonged drought may adversely affect our water supply and increase the cost of snowmaking. A significant change in law or policy, impact from climate change or any other interference with our access to adequate supplies of water to support our current operations or an expansion of our operations would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
We rely on various government permits and landlord approvals at our U.S. resorts.
Our U.S. Resort operations require permits and approvals from certain federal, state and local authorities, including the Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the States of Vermont and New Hampshire and the NPS. Virtually all of our ski trails and related activities, including our summer activities, at Vail Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Stevens Pass, Heavenly, Kirkwood, Mount Snow, Wildcat, a majority of Beaver Creek and portions of Attitash are located on National Forest land. The Forest Service has granted us permits to use these lands, but maintains the right to review and approve many operational matters, as well as the location, design and construction of improvements in these areas. The expiration dates for our permits are set forth in the Business section of this Form 10-K under the heading “Contracts with Governmental Authorities for Resort Operations”.
The Forest Service can terminate or amend these permits if, in its opinion, such termination is required in the public interest. A termination or amendment of any of our permits could have a materially adverse effect on our business and operations. In order to undertake improvements and new development, we must apply for permits and other approvals. These efforts, if unsuccessful, could impact our expansion efforts. Furthermore, Congress may materially increase the fees we pay to the Forest Service for use of these National Forest lands.
Stowe and Okemo are partially located on land we lease from the State of Vermont, and Mount Sunapee is located on land we lease from the State of New Hampshire. We are required to seek approval from such states for certain developments and improvements made to the resort. Certain other resorts are operated on land under long term leases with third parties. For example, operations at our Northstar, Park City and Mad River Mountain Resorts are conducted pursuant to long-term leases with third parties who require us to operate the Resorts in accordance with the terms of the leases and seek certain approvals from the respective landlords for improvements made to the Resorts. The initial lease term for Northstar with affiliates of EPR Properties expires in January 2027 and allows for three 10-year renewal options. We entered into a transaction agreement, master lease agreement and ancillary transaction documents with affiliate companies of Talisker Corporation (“Talisker”), and the initial lease term for our Park City resort with Talisker expires in May 2063 with six 50-year renewal options. Additionally, GTLC and Flagg Ranch operate under concessionaire agreements with the NPS that expire on December 31, 2023 and October 31, 2028, respectively. There is no guarantee that at the end of the lease/license or agreements under which we operate our Resorts we will renew or, if desired, be able to negotiate new terms that are favorable to us. Additionally, our Resorts that operate on privately-owned land are subject to local land use regulation and oversight by county and/or town governments, and we may not be able to obtain the requisite approvals needed for resort improvements or expansions. Failure to comply with the provisions, obligations and terms (including renewal requirements and deadlines) of our material permits and leases could adversely impact our operating results.
We rely on foreign government leases and landlord approvals, and are subject to certain related laws and regulations, at our international resorts.
Our international Resort operations require permits and approvals from certain foreign authorities, including the Province of British Columbia and the New South Wales and Victoria, Australia governments. Our operations at Whistler Blackcomb are located on Crown Land within the traditional territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, and the operations and future development of both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are governed by Master Development Agreements, which expire on February 23, 2077. We have a lease and a license for Perisher within the Kosciusko National Park which expires in June 2048, with an option to renew for an additional period of 20 years. Perisher relies on a suite of planning approvals (and existing use rights) granted under the Australian EPA Act to operate the resort. Strategic planning documents have been adopted to provide a framework for the assessment and approval of future development at the resort. Perisher also holds a number of environmental approvals to regulate its operations, including an environment protection license and a suite of dangerous goods licenses related to the storage of diesel, heating oil and propane in storage tanks across the resort. Each of Falls Creek and a majority of Hotham is located in the Alpine National Park in Victoria, Australia that is permanently reserved under the Crown Land Act and subject to the ARM Act. The ARM Act established the Falls Creek RMB and the Hotham RMB, which is responsible for the management and collection of fees from Falls Creek and Hotham, respectively, and the ARM Regulations give each of the Falls Creek RMB and the Hotham RMB certain discretion over the operations of Falls Creek and Hotham, respectively, including the authority to (i) declare the snow season, (ii) temporarily close the applicable resort if entry would be a significant danger to public safety, and (iii) determine which portions of the applicable resort are open to the public and the activities that are permitted on those portions of such resort. There is no guarantee that at the end of the initial lease/license or agreements under which we operate our Resorts we will renew or, if desired, be able to negotiate new terms that are favorable to us. Failure to comply with the provisions, obligations and terms (including renewal requirements and deadlines) of our material permits and leases could adversely impact our operating results.
We are subject to extensive environmental and health and safety laws and regulations in the ordinary course of business.
Our operations are subject to a variety of federal, state, local and foreign environmental laws and regulations including those relating to air emissions, discharges to water, storage, treatment and disposal of wastes and other liquids, land use, remediation of contaminated sites, protection of natural resources such as wetlands and sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment. For example, future expansions of certain of our mountain facilities must comply with applicable forest plans approved under the National Forest Management Act, federal, state and foreign wildlife protection laws or local zoning requirements, and in Vermont, our operations must comply with Act 250, which regulates the impacts of development to, among other things, waterways, air, wildlife and earth resources, and any projects must be completed pursuant to a Master Plan. In addition, most projects to improve, upgrade or expand our ski areas are subject to environmental review under the NEPA, FRPA, Act 250, the CEQA, the Australian NPW Act, the Australian EPA Act or the Australian EP Act, as applicable. Our ski area improvement proposals may not be approved or may be approved with modifications that substantially increase the cost or decrease the
desirability of implementing the project. From time to time our operations are subject to inspections by environmental regulators or other regulatory agencies. We are also subject to worker health and safety requirements as well as various state and local public health laws, rules, regulations and orders related to COVID-19, including mask and social distancing requirements. We believe our operations are in substantial compliance with applicable material environmental, health and safety requirements. However, our efforts to comply do not eliminate the risk that we may be held liable, incur fines or be subject to claims for damages, and that the amount of any liability, fines, damages or remediation costs may be material for, among other things, the presence or release of regulated materials at, on or emanating from properties we now or formerly owned or operated, newly discovered environmental impacts or contamination at or from any of our properties, or changes in environmental laws and regulations or their enforcement.
Changes in security and privacy laws and regulations could increase our operating costs, increase our exposure to fines and litigation, and adversely affect our ability to market our products, properties and services effectively.
The information, security, and privacy requirements imposed by applicable laws and governmental regulation and the payment card industry are increasingly demanding in the U.S. and other jurisdictions where we operate. Maintaining compliance with applicable security and privacy regulations may increase our operating costs or our exposure to potential fines and litigation in connection with the enforcement of such regulations, or otherwise impact our ability to market our products, properties and services to our guests. Any future changes or restrictions in U.S. or international privacy laws could also adversely affect our operations, including our ability to transfer guest data. Changes in U.S. or international law affecting marketing, solicitation or privacy, could adversely affect our marketing activities and force changes in our marketing strategy or increase the costs of marketing. If access to lists of potential customers from travel service providers or other companies with whom we have relationships was prohibited or otherwise restricted, our ability to develop new customers and introduce them to our products could be impaired.
We rely on information technology to operate our businesses and maintain our competitiveness, and any failure to adapt to technological developments or industry trends could harm our business or competitive position.
We depend on the use of sophisticated information technology and systems for central reservations, point of sale, marketing, customer relationship management and communication, procurement, maintaining the privacy of guest and employee data, administration and technologies we make available to our guests. We must continuously improve and upgrade our systems and infrastructure to offer enhanced products, services, features and functionality, while maintaining the reliability and integrity of our systems, network security and infrastructure. We may not be able to maintain our existing systems or replace or introduce new technologies and systems as quickly as we would like or in a cost-effective manner, which may keep us from achieving the desired results in a timely manner, to the extent anticipated, or at all. Also, we may be unable to devote adequate financial resources to new technologies and systems in the future. If any of these events occur, our business and financial performance could suffer.
We may not be able to hire, train, reward and retain adequate team members and determine and maintain adequate staffing, including our seasonal workforce, which may impact our ability to achieve our operating, growth and financial objectives.
Our long-term growth and profitability depend partially on our ability to recruit and retain high-quality employees to work in and manage our Resorts. Adequate staffing and retention of qualified employees is a critical factor affecting our guests’ experiences in our Resorts. Maintaining adequate staffing requires precise workforce planning which has been complicated and is unpredictable due the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on guest preferences and on labor markets. The market for the most qualified talent continues to be competitive and we must provide competitive wages, benefits and workplace conditions to attract and retain our most qualified employees. Year round employees may seek other employment and seasonal employees may decline to return, to be re-hired, or to be hired for the first time. Personal or public health concerns related to COVID-19 might make some employees and potential candidates reluctant to work in enclosed environments such as our hotels, restaurants and retail/rental stores. Resort-area housing could be even more limited than usual, making it difficult for employees to obtain available, affordable housing.
Our mountain and lodging operations are highly dependent on a large seasonal workforce. We recruit year-round to fill thousands of seasonal staffing needs each season and work to manage seasonal wages and the timing of the hiring process to ensure the appropriate workforce is in place. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to recruit and hire adequate seasonal personnel as the business requires. Changes in immigration laws could also impact our workforce because we recruit and hire foreign nationals as part of our seasonal workforce. For example, as a result of a 2020 executive order in the United States suspending the issuance of several visas for foreign workers, we were unable to hire foreign nationals for the 2020/2021 North America ski season. A shortage of international workers based on immigration and cultural exchange limitations, failure to recruit and retain new domestic employees in a timely manner, higher than expected attrition levels, or increased wages all
could affect our ability to open and operate parts of our Resorts, deliver guest service at traditional margins or achieve our labor cost objectives.
We are subject to risks associated with our workforce, including increased labor costs.
We are subject to various federal, state and foreign laws governing matters such as minimum wage requirements, sick leave pay, overtime compensation and other working conditions, work authorization requirements, discrimination and family and medical leave. Cost of labor and labor-related benefits are primary components in the cost of our operations. Labor shortages, affordable employee housing shortages and increased employee turnover and health care mandates could also increase our labor costs and labor-related benefits. As minimum wage rates increase, including further potential federal and state legislative changes to the minimum wage rate, we may need to increase not only the wages of our minimum wage employees but also the wages paid to employees at wage rates that are above the minimum wage. During Fiscal 2021, we announced a substantial investment in our employees by increasing the minimum wage to $15 at our Resorts across Colorado, California, Utah, Washington, New York and Vermont, as well as other increases at our Resorts in the eastern U.S. From time to time, we have also experienced non-union employees attempting to unionize. While only a very small portion of our employees are unionized at present, we may experience additional union activity in the future, which could lead to disruptions in our business, increases in our operating costs and/or constraints on our operating flexibility. These potential labor impacts could adversely impact our results of operations.
If we do not retain our key personnel, our business may suffer.
The success of our business is heavily dependent on the leadership of key management personnel, including our senior executive officers. If any of these persons were to leave, it could be difficult to replace them, and our business could be harmed. We do not maintain “key-man” life insurance on any of our employees.
Our business depends on the quality and reputation of our brands, and any deterioration in the quality or reputation of these brands, including as a result of misappropriation of our intellectual property or the risk of accidents occurring at our mountain resorts or competing mountain resorts, may reduce visitation and negatively impact our operations.
A negative public image or other adverse events could affect the reputation of one or more of our mountain Resorts, other destination resorts, hotel properties and other businesses or more generally impact the reputation of our brands. Any resulting harm on our business may be immediate without affording us an opportunity for redress or correction. Our ability to attract and retain guests depends, in part, upon the external perceptions of the Company, the quality and safety of our Resorts, services and activities, including summer activities, and our corporate and management integrity. While we maintain and promote an on-mountain safety program, there are inherent risks associated with our Resort activities. From time to time in the past, accidents and other injuries have occurred on Resort property. An accident or an injury at any of our Resorts or at resorts operated by competitors, particularly an accident or injury involving the safety of guests and employees that receives media attention, could negatively impact our brand or reputation, cause loss of consumer confidence in us, reduce visitation at our Resorts, and negatively impact our results of operations.
The considerable expansion in the use of social media over recent years has compounded the impact of negative publicity. Information posted on social media platforms at any time may be adverse to our interests or may be inaccurate, each of which may harm our reputation or business. If the reputation or perceived quality of our brands declines, our market share, reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely impacted. Additionally, our intellectual property, including our trademarks, domain names and other proprietary rights, constitutes a significant part of our value. Any misappropriation, infringement or violation of our intellectual property rights could also diminish the value of our brands and their market acceptance, competitive advantages or goodwill, which could adversely affect our business.
Our acquisitions might not be successful.
In recent years, we have completed numerous acquisitions and may continue to acquire certain mountain resorts, hotel properties and other businesses complementary to our own, as well as developable land in proximity to our Resorts. Acquisitions are complex to evaluate, execute and integrate. We cannot ensure that we will be able to accurately evaluate or successfully integrate and manage acquired mountain resorts, properties and businesses and increase our profits from these operations. We continually evaluate potential acquisitions both domestically and internationally and intend to actively pursue acquisition opportunities, some of which could be significant. As a result, we face various risks from acquisitions, including:
•our evaluation of the synergies and/or long-term benefits of an acquired business;
•our inability to integrate acquired businesses into our operations as planned;
•diversion of our management’s attention;
•increased expenditures (including legal, accounting and due diligence expenses, higher administrative costs to support the acquired entities, information technology, personnel and other integration expenses);
•potential increased debt leverage;
•potential issuance of dilutive equity securities;
•litigation arising from acquisition activity;
•potential impairment of goodwill, intangible or tangible assets; and
•unanticipated problems or liabilities.
In addition, we run the risk that any new acquisitions may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, and that estimates of the costs of improvements and integration for such properties may prove inaccurate.
Our international operations subject us to additional risks.
As a result of the acquisitions of Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and Perisher, Hotham and Falls Creek in Australia, and potential future international acquisitions, we have and may continue to increase our operations outside of the United States. We are accordingly subject to a number of risks relating to doing business internationally, any of which could significantly harm our business. These risks include:
•restriction on the transfer of funds to and from foreign countries, including potentially negative tax consequences;
•currency exchange rates;
•increased exposure to general market and economic conditions outside the United States;
•additional political risk;
•compliance with international laws and regulations (including anti-corruption regulations, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act);
•data security, including requirements that local customer data be stored locally and not transferred to other jurisdictions; and
•foreign tax treaties and policies.
Exchange rate fluctuations could result in significant foreign currency gains and losses and affect our business results.
We are exposed to currency translation risk because the local currency utilized in the operations of Whistler Blackcomb, Perisher, Hotham and Falls Creek are different than our functional currency, the U.S. dollar. As a result, changes in foreign exchange rates, in particular between the Canadian dollar, Australian dollar and the U.S. dollar, affect the amounts we record for our foreign assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and could have a negative effect on our financial results. We currently do not enter into hedging arrangements to minimize the impact of foreign currency fluctuations. We expect that our exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations will increase as our international operations grow and if we acquire additional international resorts.
We are subject to tax laws and regulations in multiple jurisdictions, and changes to those laws and regulations or interpretations thereof or adverse determinations by tax authorities may adversely affect us.
We are subject to income and other taxes in the United States and in multiple foreign jurisdictions. Due to economic and political conditions, tax rates in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change. Our effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws or their interpretation.
We are also subject to the examination of tax returns and other tax matters by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and other tax authorities and governmental bodies. We regularly assess the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of our provision for taxes. There can be no assurance as to the outcome of these examinations. If our effective tax rates were to increase or if the ultimate determination of our taxes owed is for an amount in excess of amounts previously accrued, our financial condition, operating results and cash flows could be adversely affected.
Risks Relating to Our Capital Structure
Our stock price is highly volatile.
The market price of our stock is highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors such as the following, some of which are beyond our control:
•quarterly variations in our operating results;
•operating results that vary from the expectations of securities analysts and investors;
•change in valuations, including our real estate held for sale;
•changes in the overall travel, gaming, hospitality and leisure industries;
•changes in expectations as to our future financial performance, including financial estimates by securities analysts and investors or such guidance provided by us;
•announcements by us or companies in the travel, gaming, hospitality and leisure industries of significant contracts, acquisitions, dispositions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, capital commitments, plans, prospects, service offerings or operating results;
•additions or departures of key personnel;
•future sales of our securities;
•trading and volume fluctuations;
•other risk factors as discussed herein; and
•other unforeseen events.
Stock markets in the U.S. have often experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that are unrelated to the performance of any specific company or industry. Market fluctuations, as well as general political and economic conditions including acts of terrorism, military conflicts, outbreak of a contagious disease, prolonged economic uncertainty, a recession or interest rate or currency rate fluctuations, could adversely affect the market price of our stock.
We cannot provide assurance that we will pay dividends, or if paid, that dividend payments will be consistent with historical levels.
We have generally paid quarterly dividends since fiscal 2011, which are funded through cash flow from operations, available cash on hand and borrowings under our Credit Facilities. The declaration of dividends is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors, and is limited by applicable state law concepts of available funds for distribution, as well as contractual restrictions. As a result, the amount, if any, of the dividends to be paid in the future will depend upon a number of factors, including our available cash on hand, anticipated cash needs, overall financial condition, restrictions contained in our Eighth Amended and Restated Credit Agreement (the “Vail Holdings Credit Agreement”), any future contractual restrictions, future prospects for earnings and cash flows, as well as other factors considered relevant by our Board of Directors. In addition, our Board of Directors may also suspend the payment of dividends at any time if it deems such action to be in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders. For example, on April 1, 2020, in response to actions taken in response to COVID-19, we announced that our Board of Directors suspended our quarterly dividend for at least two quarters, which such suspension continued throughout Fiscal 2021. Additionally, during the period that we are subject to the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period (See “Risks Relating to Our Capital Structure—Restrictions imposed by the terms of our indebtedness may prevent or limit our future business plans.”), we are prohibited from paying any dividends or making share repurchases, unless (x) no default or potential default exists under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and (y) we have liquidity of at least $300.0 million, and the aggregate amount of dividends paid and share repurchases made by us during the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period may not exceed $38.2 million in any fiscal quarter. If we do not pay dividends, the price of our common stock must appreciate for investors to realize a gain on their investment in Vail Resorts, Inc. This appreciation may not occur and our stock may in fact depreciate in value. On September 22, 2021, our Board of Directors approved a cash dividend of $0.88 per share payable on October 22, 2021 to stockholders of record as of October 5, 2021. Additionally, a Canadian dollar equivalent dividend on the Exchangeco Shares will be payable on October 22, 2021 to the shareholders of record as of October 5, 2021. We expect to fund the dividend with available cash on hand and will do so pursuant to the restrictions under the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period.
Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial condition and our ability to operate our business, to react to changes in the economy or our industry, to fulfill our obligations under our various notes, to pay our other debts, and could divert our cash flow from operations for debt payments.
We have a substantial amount of debt, which requires significant interest and principal payments. As of July 31, 2021, we had $2.9 billion in total indebtedness outstanding. This amount includes (i) $575.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 0.0% convertible notes due 2026 (the “0.0% Convertible Notes”), (ii) $600.0 million aggregate principal amount of our unsecured senior notes issued on May 4, 2020 (the “6.25% Notes”), (iii) $1.1 billion of indebtedness pursuant to the term loan facility under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, (iv) $44.9 million of indebtedness under our credit agreement at Whistler Blackcomb (the “Whistler Credit Agreement”), (v) $351.8 million with respect to our obligation associated with the Canyons long-term lease, (vi) $114.2 million with respect to the EPR Secured Notes under the master credit and security agreements and other related agreements with EPT Ski Properties, Inc. and its affiliates (“EPR’’), as amended (collectively, the “EPR Agreements’’ and together with the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and the Whistler Credit Agreement, the “Credit Agreements,’’ and such facilities, the “Credit Facilities’’) and (vii) $51.5 million with respect to the EB-5 development notes under the U.S. EB-5 Program. Our borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement are subject to interest rate changes substantially increasing our risk to changes in interest rates. Borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, including
the term loan facility, currently bear interest annually at a rate of LIBOR plus 2.50% and, for amounts in excess of $400.0 million, LIBOR is subject to a floor of 0.25% (during the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period, as defined below). Subsequent to the expiration of the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period (as defined below), interest rate margins may fluctuate based upon the ratio of our Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA on a trailing four-quarter basis. We also have, on a cumulative basis, minimum lease payment obligations under operating leases of approximately $297.8 million as of July 31, 2021. Our level of indebtedness and minimum lease payment obligations could have important consequences. For example, it could:
•make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations under our outstanding debt;
•increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
•require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness, including the annual payments under the Canyons lease, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, real estate developments, marketing efforts and other general corporate purposes;
•limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
•place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt;
•limit our ability to borrow additional funds, refinance debt, or obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, debt service requirements, acquisitions or other general corporate purposes;
•make it difficult for us to satisfy our obligations, including debt service requirements under our outstanding debt; and
•cause potential or existing customers to not contract with us due to concerns over our ability to meet our financial obligations, such as insuring against our professional liability risks, under such contracts.
Furthermore, our debt under our Credit Facilities bears interest at variable rates, which may be impacted by potential future changes in interest rates due to reference rate reform. We may be able to incur additional indebtedness in the future. The terms of our Credit Facilities, the 0.0% Convertible Notes and the 6.25% Notes do not fully prohibit us from doing so. If we incur additional debt, the related risks that we face could intensify.
Restrictions imposed by the terms of our indebtedness may prevent us from capitalizing on business opportunities.
The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in our Credit Facilities and the indenture governing the 6.25% Notes may adversely affect our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to engage in other business activities and strategic initiatives that may be in our long-term best interests.
Our Credit Facilities impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us. These restrictions limit our ability and the ability of our subsidiaries to, among other things:
•incur or guarantee additional debt or issue capital stock;
•pay dividends and make other distributions on, or redeem or repurchase, capital stock;
•make certain investments;
•incur certain liens;
•enter into transactions with affiliates;
•merge or consolidate;
•enter into agreements that restrict the ability of subsidiaries to make dividends, distributions or other payments to us or the guarantors;
•designate restricted subsidiaries as unrestricted subsidiaries; and
•transfer or sell assets.
On April 28, 2020 and most recently amended on December 18, 2020, we entered into an amendment to the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, pursuant to which we are exempt from complying with the agreement’s maximum leverage ratio and minimum interest coverage ratio financial maintenance covenants for each of the fiscal quarters ending July 31, 2020 through January 31, 2022 (unless we make a one-time irrevocable election to terminate such exemption period prior to such date) (such period, the “Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period”), after which we will again be required to comply with such covenants starting with the fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2022 (or such earlier fiscal quarter as elected by us). Additionally, pursuant to this amendment, we are required to comply with a monthly minimum liquidity test (defined as unrestricted cash and temporary cash investments of Vail Resorts, Inc. and its restricted subsidiaries and available commitments under our revolving credit facility) of not less than $150.0 million until such date that Vail Holdings, Inc. delivers a compliance certificate for the Company and its subsidiaries’ first fiscal quarter following the end of the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period.
During the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period, we are prohibited from taking the following actions (unless majority approval of the lenders is obtained under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement):
•paying any dividends or making share repurchases, unless (x) no default or potential default exists under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and (y) the Company has liquidity of at least $300.0 million, and the aggregate amount of dividends paid and share repurchases made by the Company during the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period may not exceed $38.2 million in any fiscal quarter;
•incurring any indebtedness secured by the collateral under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement other than pursuant to the existing revolving commitments under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement; and
•making certain non-ordinary course investments in similar businesses, joint ventures and unrestricted subsidiaries unless the Company has liquidity of at least $300.0 million.
The indenture governing the 6.25% Notes contains a number of significant restrictions and covenants that limit our ability to:
•grant or permit liens;
•engage in sale/leaseback transactions; and
•engage in a consolidation or merger, or sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of all or substantially all of our assets.
In addition, the Whistler Credit Agreement contains restrictions on the ability of Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership (together “The WB Partnerships”) and their respective subsidiaries, and the EPR Agreements contain restrictions on the ability of Peak Resorts and its subsidiaries, to make dividends, distributions or other payments to us or the guarantors. We and our subsidiaries are subject to other covenants, representations and warranties in respect of our Credit Facilities, including financial covenants as defined in the Credit Agreements. Events beyond our control, including the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, may affect our ability to comply with these covenants.
As a result of these restrictions, we will be limited as to how we conduct our business and we may be unable to raise additional debt or equity financing to compete effectively or to take advantage of new business opportunities. The terms of any future indebtedness we may incur could include more restrictive covenants. We may not be able to maintain compliance with our financial covenants in the future and, if we fail to do so, we may not be able to obtain waivers from the lenders and/or amend the covenants.
There can be no assurance that we will meet the financial covenants contained in our Credit Facilities, when in effect. If we breach any of these restrictions or covenants, or suffer a material adverse change which restricts our borrowing ability under our Credit Facilities, we would not be able to borrow funds thereunder without a waiver. Any inability to borrow could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, a breach, if uncured, could cause a default under the applicable agreement(s) governing our indebtedness, in which case such we may be required to repay these borrowings before their due date. We may not have or be able to obtain sufficient funds to make these accelerated payments. If we are forced to refinance these borrowings on less favorable terms or cannot refinance these borrowings, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
We may not continue to repurchase our common stock pursuant to our share repurchase program, and any such repurchases may not enhance long-term stockholder value. Share repurchases could also increase the volatility of the price of our common stock and could diminish our cash reserves.
In March 2006, our Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program, authorizing the Company to repurchase up to 3,000,000 shares of common stock. In July 2008, the Board of Directors increased the authorization by an additional 3,000,000 shares, and in December 2015, the Board increased the authorization by an additional 1,500,000 shares for a total authorization to repurchase up to 7,500,000 shares. Since inception of its share repurchase program through July 31, 2021, the Company has repurchased 6,161,141 shares at a cost of approximately $404.4 million. As of July 31, 2021, 1,338,859 shares remained available to repurchase under the existing share repurchase program which has no expiration date.
Although our Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program, the share repurchase program does not obligate us to repurchase any specific dollar amount or to acquire any specific number of shares. The timing and amount of repurchases, if any, will depend upon several factors, including market and business conditions, our liquidity and capital resources, the trading price of our common stock and the nature of other investment opportunities. The repurchase program may be limited, suspended or discontinued at any time without prior notice. In addition, repurchases of our common stock pursuant to our share repurchase program could cause our stock price to be higher than it would be in the absence of such a program and could potentially reduce the market liquidity for our stock. Additionally, our share repurchase program could diminish our cash reserves, which may impact our ability to finance future growth and to pursue possible future strategic opportunities and acquisitions. There can be no assurance that any share repurchases will enhance stockholder value because the market price of
our common stock may decline below levels at which we repurchased shares of stock. Although our share repurchase program is intended to enhance long-term stockholder value, there is no assurance that it will do so and short-term stock price fluctuations could reduce the program’s effectiveness.
General Risk Factors
We are subject to litigation in the ordinary course of business.
We are, from time to time, subject to various asserted or unasserted legal proceedings and claims. Any such proceedings or claims, regardless of merit, could be time consuming and expensive to defend and could divert management’s attention and resources. While we believe we have adequate insurance coverage and/or accrue for loss contingencies for all known matters that are probable and can be reasonably estimated, we cannot provide any assurance that the outcome of all current or future litigation proceedings and claims will not have a material adverse effect on us and our results of operations.
We are subject to complex and evolving accounting regulations and use certain estimates and judgments that may differ significantly from actual results.
Implementation of existing and future legislation, rulings, standards and interpretations from the Financial Accounting Standards Board or other regulatory bodies could affect the presentation of our financial statements and related disclosures. Future regulatory requirements could significantly change our current accounting practices and disclosures. Such changes in the presentation of our financial statements and related disclosures could change an investor’s interpretation or perception of our financial position and results of operations.
We use many methods, estimates and judgments in applying our accounting policies (see “Critical Accounting Policies” in Item 7 of this Form 10-K). Such methods, estimates and judgments are, by their nature, subject to substantial risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and factors may arise over time that lead us to change our methods, estimates and judgments. Changes in those methods, estimates and judgments could significantly affect our results of operations.
Anti-takeover provisions affecting us could prevent or delay a change of control that is beneficial to our stockholders.
Provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, provisions of our debt instruments and other agreements and provisions of applicable Delaware law and applicable federal and state regulations may discourage, delay or prevent a merger or other change of control that holders of our securities may consider favorable. These provisions could:
•delay, defer or prevent a change in control of our Company;
•discourage bids for our securities at a premium over the market price;
•adversely affect the market price of, and the voting and other rights of the holders of our securities; or
•impede the ability of the holders of our securities to change our management.
ITEM 1B.UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
The following table sets forth the principal properties that we own or lease for use in our operations:
|Afton Alps, MN||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, clubhouse, buildings, commercial space and other improvements|
|Alpine Valley Resort, OH||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, clubhouse, buildings, commercial space and other improvements|
|Arrowhead Mountain, CO||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space|
|Attitash Mountain, NH (279 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|BC Housing RiverEdge, CO||26% Owned||Employee housing facilities|
|Bachelor Gulch Village, CO||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space|
|Beaver Creek Resort, CO||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development|
|Beaver Creek Mountain, CO (3,849|
|SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Beaver Creek Mountain Resort, CO||Owned||Golf course, clubhouse, commercial space and residential condominium units|
|Big Boulder Mountain, PA||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Boston Mills/Brandywine, OH||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Breckenridge Ski Resort, CO||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development|
|Breckenridge Mountain, CO (5,702|
|SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Breckenridge Terrace, CO||50% Owned||Employee housing facilities|
|Broomfield, CO||Leased||Corporate offices|
|Colter Bay Village, WY||Concessionaire contract||Lodging and dining facilities|
|Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO||Owned||Buildings, other improvements and land used for operation of Crested Butte Mountain Resort|
|Crested Butte Mountain Resort, CO (4,350 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Crotched Mountain, NH||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Double Tree by Hilton Breckenridge, CO||Owned||Lodging, dining and conference facilities|
|Eagle-Vail, CO||Owned||Warehouse facility|
|Edwards, CO||Leased||Administrative offices|
|Falls Creek Alpine Resort, Victoria, Australia (1,112 acres)||Leased||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements|
|Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch, WY||Concessionaire contract||Lodging and dining facilities|
|Heavenly Mountain Resort, CA & NV||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements and commercial space|
|Heavenly Mountain, CA & NV|
|SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Hidden Valley Resort, MO||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Hotham Alpine Resort, Victoria, Australia (791 acres)||Leased||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements|
|Hotham Airport, Victoria, Australia||Owned||Regional airport|
|Hunter Mountain, NY||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, clubhouse, buildings, commercial space and other improvements.|
|Jack Frost Ski Resort, PA||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club,|
|Owned||Golf course, clubhouse, tennis and dining facilities|
|Jackson Lake Lodge, WY||Concessionaire contract||Lodging, dining and conference facilities|
|Jenny Lake Lodge, WY||Concessionaire contract||Lodging and dining facilities|
|Keystone Conference Center, CO||Owned||Conference facility|
|Keystone Lodge, CO||Owned||Lodging, spa, dining and conference facilities|
|Keystone Resort, CO||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, commercial space, property management, dining and real estate held for sale or development|
|Keystone Mountain, CO (8,376 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Keystone Ranch, CO||Owned||Golf course, clubhouse and dining facilities|
|Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space |
|Kirkwood Mountain, CA (2,330 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Liberty Mountain Resort, PA||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, clubhouse, buildings, and other improvements|
|Mad River Mountain, OH||Leased||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Mount Snow, VT (894 acres)||SUP||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, clubhouse, buildings, commercial space and other improvements.|
|Mount Sunapee Resort, NH (850 acres)||Leased||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements and commercial space|
|Mt. Brighton, MI||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings, commercial space and other improvements|
|Mt. Mansfield, VT (approximately 1,400 acres)||Leased ||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements used for operation of Stowe Mountain Resort|
|Northstar California Resort, CA|
|Leased||Ski trails, ski lifts, golf course, commercial space, dining facilities, buildings and other improvements|
|Northstar Village, CA||Leased||Commercial space, ski resort operations, dining facilities, buildings, property management and other improvements|
|Okemo Mountain Resort, VT||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space|
|Okemo Mountain, VT (1,223 acres)||Leased||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, dining facilities, buildings and other improvements|
|Paoli Peaks, IN||Owned/Leased||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Park City Mountain, UT |
|Leased||Ski resort operations including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings, commercial space, dining facilities, property management, conference facilities and other improvements (including areas previously referred to as Canyons Resort, UT)|
|Park City Mountain, UT |
|Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, dining facilities, commercial space, buildings, real estate held for sale or development and other improvements |
|Perisher Ski Resort, NSW, Australia |
|Ski trails, ski lifts, dining facilities, commercial space, railway, buildings, lodging, conference facilities and other improvements|
|Red Cliffs Lodge, CA||Leased||Dining facilities, ski resort operations, commercial space, administrative offices|
|Red Sky Ranch, CO||Owned||Golf courses, clubhouses, dining facilities and real estate held for sale or development|
|River Course at Keystone, CO||Owned||Golf course and clubhouse|
|Roundtop Mountain Resort, PA||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings, commercial space and other improvements|
|Seasons at Avon, CO||Leased/50% Owned||Administrative offices and commercial space|
|Snow Creek, MO||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|SSI Venture, LLC (“VRR”) Properties; CO, CA, NV, UT, MN & BC, Canada||Owned/Leased||Approximately 265 rental and retail stores (of which approximately 120 stores are currently held under lease) for recreational products, and 5 leased warehouses|
|Ski Tip Lodge, CO||Owned||Lodging and dining facilities|
|Stevens Pass, WA||Owned||Employee housing and guest parking facilities|
|Stevens Pass Mountain, WA (2,443 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Stevens Pass Ski Resort, WA||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements and commercial space|
|Stowe Mountain Resort, VT||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements and commercial space|
|The Arrabelle at Vail Square, CO||Owned||Lodging, spa, dining and conference facilities|
|The Lodge at Vail, CO||Owned||Lodging, spa, dining and conference facilities|
|The Osprey at Beaver Creek, CO||Owned||Lodging, dining and conference facilities|
|The Tarnes at Beaver Creek, CO||31% Owned||Employee housing facilities|
|Tenderfoot Housing, CO||50% Owned||Employee housing facilities|
|The Pines Lodge at Beaver Creek, CO||Owned||Lodging, dining and conference facilities|
|Vail Mountain, CO||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development|
|Vail Mountain, CO (12,353 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Whistler Blackcomb Resort, BC, Canada||75% Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development|
|Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, BC, Canada||MDA||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements|
|Whistler Blackcomb Resort, BC, Canada||Leased||Employee housing facilities|
|Whitetail Resort, PA||Owned||Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, buildings, commercial space and other improvements|
|Wildcat Mountain, NH||SUP/Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Wilmot Mountain, WI||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
Many of our properties are used across all segments in complementary and interdependent ways.
ITEM 3.LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.
We are a party to various lawsuits arising in the ordinary course of business. We believe that we have adequate insurance coverage and/or have accrued for all loss contingencies for asserted and unasserted matters and that, although the ultimate outcome of such claims cannot be ascertained, current pending and threatened claims are not expected, individually or in the aggregate, to have a material adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
ITEM 4.MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.
ITEM 5.MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Market and Stockholders
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “MTN.” As of September 20, 2021, 40,391,129 shares of common stock were outstanding, held by approximately 258 holders of record.
In fiscal 2011, our Board of Directors approved the commencement of a regular quarterly cash dividend on our common stock, subject to quarterly declaration, which has typically been increased on an annual basis. We announced on April 1, 2020 that we would be suspending the declaration of our quarterly dividend in response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which such suspension has continued throughout the year ended July 31, 2021 (“Fiscal 2021”). Additionally, pursuant to the Fourth Amendment of the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement (as defined below), we are prohibited from paying any dividends during the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period (as defined below) unless (x) no default or potential default exists under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and (y) the Company has liquidity (as defined below) of at least $300.0 million, and the aggregate amount of dividends paid and share repurchases made by the Company during the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period may not exceed $38.2 million in any fiscal quarter. The amount, if any, of dividends to be paid in the future will depend on our available cash on hand, anticipated cash needs, overall financial condition, restrictions contained in our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, future prospects for earnings and cash flows, as well as other factors considered relevant by our Board of Directors. On September 22, 2021, our Board of Directors approved a cash dividend of $0.88 per share payable on October 22, 2021 to stockholders of record as of October 5, 2021. Additionally, a Canadian dollar equivalent dividend on the Exchangeco Shares will be payable on October 22, 2021 to the shareholders of record as of October 5, 2021. We expect to fund the dividend with available cash on hand and will do so pursuant to the restrictions under the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period.
Repurchase of Equity Securities
The Company did not repurchase any shares of common stock during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2021. The share repurchase program is conducted under authorizations made from time to time by our Board of Directors. On March 9, 2006, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program, authorizing the Company to repurchase up to 3,000,000 shares of common stock. On July 16, 2008, the Company’s Board of Directors increased the authorization by an additional 3,000,000 shares, and on December 4, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors increased the authorization by an additional 1,500,000 shares for a total authorization to repurchase shares of up to 7,500,000 shares. Since inception of this stock repurchase program through July 31, 2021, the Company has repurchased 6,161,141 shares at a cost of approximately $404.4 million. As of July 31, 2021, 1,338,859 shares remained available to repurchase under the existing repurchase authorization. Repurchases under these authorizations may be made from time to time at prevailing prices as permitted by applicable laws, and subject to market conditions and other factors. The timing as well as the number of Vail Shares that may be repurchased under the program will depend on several factors, including our future financial performance, our available cash resources and competing uses for cash that may arise in the future, the restrictions in our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, prevailing prices of Vail Shares and the number of Vail Shares that become available for sale at prices that we believe are attractive. These authorizations have no expiration date.
The total return graph below is presented for the period from the beginning of our fiscal year ended July 31, 2017 through the end of Fiscal 2021. The comparison assumes that $100 was invested at the beginning of the period in our common stock (“MTN”), The Russell 2000 Stock Index, The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index and the Dow Jones U.S. Travel and Leisure Stock Index, with dividends reinvested where applicable. We include the Dow Jones U.S. Travel and Leisure Index as we believe we compete in the travel and leisure industry.
The performance graph is not deemed filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and is not to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Exchange Act, unless such filings specifically incorporate the performance graph by reference therein.
|As of July 31,|
|Vail Resorts, Inc.||$||100.00 ||$||150.40 ||$||201.87 ||$||185.01 ||$||147.98 ||$||235.20 |
|$||100.00 ||$||118.43 ||$||140.61 ||$||134.34 ||$||128.15 ||$||194.71 |
Standard & Poor’s 500
|$||100.00 ||$||116.03 ||$||134.87 ||$||145.63 ||$||163.02 ||$||222.40 |
Dow Jones U.S. Travel and Leisure
|$||100.00 ||$||127.25 ||$||134.84 ||$||156.47 ||$||119.00 ||$||174.84 |
ITEM 6.SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
The following table presents selected historical consolidated financial data derived from our Consolidated Financial Statements for the periods indicated. The financial data for our fiscal years ended and as of July 31, 2017 through July 31, 2021 should be read in conjunction with those Consolidated Financial Statements, related notes thereto and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. The table presented below is unaudited. The data presented below is in thousands, except for diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc., cash dividends declared per share, effective ticket price (“ETP”), average daily rate (“ADR”) and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) amounts.
|Year ended July 31,|
|Statement of Operations Data:|
|Total net revenue||$||1,909,710 ||$||1,963,704 ||$||2,271,575 ||$||2,011,553 ||$||1,907,218 |
|Total segment operating expense||1,376,658 ||1,466,380 ||1,571,738 ||1,396,023 ||1,322,841 |
|Other operating expense, net||(272,036)||(273,935)||(223,568)||(206,713)||(205,121)|
|Other expense, net||(135,833)||(106,956)||(77,304)||(68,725)||(30,807)|
|Income before (provision) benefit from income taxes||$||125,183 ||$||116,433 ||$||398,965 ||$||340,092 ||$||348,449 |
|Net Income and Dividends:|
Net income (4)
|$||124,457 ||$||109,055 ||$||323,493 ||$||401,320 ||$||231,718 |
Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. (4)
|$||127,850 ||$||98,833 ||$||301,163 ||$||379,898 ||$||210,553 |
Diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. (4)
|$||3.13 ||$||2.42 ||$||7.32 ||$||9.13 ||$||5.22 |
|Cash dividends declared per share||$||— ||$||5.28 ||$||6.46 ||$||5.046 ||$||3.726 |
|Other Segment Data:|
Skier visits (5)
|14,852 ||13,483 ||14,998 ||12,345 ||12,047 |
|$||72.49 ||$||67.72 ||$||68.89 ||$||71.31 ||$||67.93 |
|$||322.15 ||$||310.76 ||$||300.47 ||$||300.90 ||$||302.80 |
|$||85.99 ||$||90.37 ||$||121.81 ||$||131.08 ||$||127.95 |
Real estate held for sale or investment (9)
|$||95,615 ||$||96,844 ||$||101,021 ||$||99,385 ||$||103,405 |
|Other Balance Sheet Data:|
Cash and cash equivalents (10)
|$||1,243,962 ||$||390,980 ||$||108,850 ||$||178,145 ||$||117,389 |
Total assets (11)
|$||6,251,056 ||$||5,244,232 ||$||4,426,077 ||$||4,064,984 ||$||4,110,718 |
|Long-term debt, net (including long-term debt due within one year)||$||2,850,292 ||$||2,450,799 ||$||1,576,260 ||$||1,272,732 ||$||1,272,421 |
Net Debt (12)
|$||1,606,330 ||$||2,059,819 ||$||1,467,410 ||$||1,094,587 ||$||1,155,032 |
|Total Vail Resorts, Inc. stockholders’ equity||$||1,594,599 ||$||1,316,742 ||$||1,500,627 ||$||1,589,434 ||$||1,571,156 |
(1)We have completed several acquisitions of destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas during the past five years, which impacts comparability between years, including Peak Resorts (acquired September 2019); Falls Creek and Hotham (acquired April 2019); Crested Butte, Mount Sunapee and Okemo (acquired September 2018); Stevens Pass (acquired August 2018); Stowe (acquired June 2017); and Whistler Blackcomb (acquired October 2016).
(2)Financial results for the years ended July 31, 2021 and 2020 were impacted by the deferral of approximately $120.9 million of season pass revenue, as well as approximately $2.9 million of related deferred costs, that would have been recognized during the year ended July 31, 2020 but were deferred and recognized primarily in the year ended July 31, 2021 as a result of credits that were offered to customers who had purchased 2019/2020 North American pass products and who purchased 2020/2021 North American pass products.
(3)Financial results for the year ended July 31, 2020 were impacted by an asset impairment of approximately $28.4 million as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our Colorado resort ground transportation company.
(4)Net income, net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. and diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. were positively impacted during the year ended July 31, 2018 as a result of one-time tax benefits related to comprehensive U.S. tax legislation, which also resulted in a decreased federal U.S. corporate tax rate prospectively from January 1, 2018, and excess tax benefits from employee share award exercises, as discussed subsequently in this document.
(5)A skier visit represents a person purchasing a ticket or utilizing a pass to access a destination mountain resort or regional ski area for any part of one day during a winter ski season and includes complimentary access.
(6)ETP is calculated by dividing lift revenue by total skier visits during the respective periods.
(7)ADR is calculated by dividing total room revenue (includes both owned room and managed condominium unit revenue) by the number of occupied rooms during the respective periods.
(8)RevPAR is calculated by dividing total room revenue (includes both owned room and managed condominium unit revenue) by the number of rooms that are available to guests during the respective periods.
(9)Real estate held for sale or investment includes all land, development costs and other improvements associated with real estate held for sale or investment.
(10)Cash and cash equivalents exclude restricted cash.
(11)We adopted a new lease accounting standard on August 1, 2019 using a modified retrospective transition method, in which reporting periods beginning on August 1, 2019 are presented under the new standard, while prior periods were not adjusted and continue to be reported in accordance with the previously applicable accounting guidance. As a result of adopting the new lease accounting standard, the Company recorded $221.8 million of right-of-use (“ROU”) assets and $254.2 million of related total operating lease liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheet as of August 1, 2019.
(12)Net Debt, a non-GAAP financial measure, is defined as long-term debt, net plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents. Refer to the end of the Results of Operations section of Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” for a reconciliation of long-term debt, net to Net Debt.
ITEM 7.MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS.
The following Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (“MD&A”) should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and notes related thereto included in this Form 10-K. To the extent that the following MD&A contains statements which are not of a historical nature, such statements are forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties. These risks include, but are not limited to, those discussed in Item 1A. “Risk Factors” in this Form 10-K. The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Forward-Looking Statements section and Item 1A. “Risk Factors” each included in this Form 10-K.
The MD&A includes discussion of financial performance within each of our three segments. We have chosen to specifically include segment Reported EBITDA (defined as segment net revenue less segment operating expense, plus or minus segment equity investment income or loss and for the Real Estate segment, plus gain or loss on sale of real property) in the following discussion because we consider this measurement to be a significant indication of our financial performance. We utilize segment Reported EBITDA in evaluating our performance and in allocating resources to our segments. Net Debt (defined as long-term debt, net plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents) is included in the following discussion because we consider this measurement to be a significant indication of our available capital resources. We also believe that Net Debt is an important measurement as it is an indicator of our ability to obtain additional capital resources for our future cash needs. Resort Reported EBITDA (defined as the combination of segment Reported EBITDA of our Mountain and Lodging segments), Total Reported EBITDA (which is Resort Reported EBITDA plus segment Reported EBITDA from our Real Estate segment) and Net Debt are not measures of financial performance or liquidity defined under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (“GAAP”). Refer to the end of the Results of Operations section for a reconciliation of net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. to Total Reported EBITDA and long-term debt, net to Net Debt.
Items excluded from Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are significant components in understanding and assessing financial performance or liquidity. Reported EBITDA and Net Debt should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to, or substitute for, net income, net change in cash and cash equivalents or other financial statement data presented in the Consolidated Financial Statements as indicators of financial performance or liquidity. Because Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are not measurements determined in accordance with GAAP and are thus susceptible to varying calculations, Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA and Net Debt, as presented herein, may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies. In addition, our segment Reported EBITDA (i.e. Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate), the measure of segment profit or loss required to be disclosed in accordance with GAAP, may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies.
Our operations are grouped into three integrated and interdependent segments: Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate. We refer to “Resort” as the combination of the Mountain and Lodging segments. The Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate segments represented approximately 89%, 11% and 0%, respectively, of our net revenue for Fiscal 2021.
In the Mountain segment, the Company operates the following 37 destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas:
*Denotes a destination mountain resort, which generally receives a meaningful portion of skier visits from long-distance travelers, as opposed to our regional ski areas, which tend to generate skier visits predominantly from their respective local markets.
Additionally, we operate ancillary services, including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations, and for our Australian ski areas, including lodging and transportation operations. Mountain segment revenue is seasonal, with the majority of revenue earned from our North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas (collectively, our “Resorts”) occurring in our second and third fiscal quarters and the majority of revenue earned from our Australian ski areas occurring in our first and fourth fiscal quarters. Our North American Resorts are typically open for business from mid-November through mid-April, which is the peak operating season for the Mountain segment, and our Australian ski areas are typically open for business from June to early October. Our single largest source of Mountain segment revenue is the sale of lift tickets (including pass products), which represented approximately 64%, 53% and 53% of Mountain segment net revenue for Fiscal 2021, the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020 (“Fiscal 2020”) and the fiscal year ended July 31, 2019 (“Fiscal 2019”), respectively.
Lift revenue is driven by volume and pricing. Pricing is impacted by both absolute pricing, as well as the demographic mix of guests, which impacts the price points at which various products are purchased. The demographic mix of guests that visit our North American mountain resorts is divided into two primary categories: (1) out-of-state and international (“Destination”) guests and (2) in-state and local (“Local”) guests. For the 2020/2021 North American ski season, Destination guests comprised approximately 52% of our North American destination mountain resort skier visits (excluding complimentary access), while Local guests comprised approximately 48%, which compares to approximately 58% and 42%, respectively, for the 2019/2020 North American ski season and approximately 57% and 43%, respectively, for the 2018/2019 North American ski season. Skier visitation at our regional ski areas is largely comprised of Local guests. Destination guests generally purchase our higher-priced lift tickets (including pass products) and utilize more ancillary services such as ski school, dining and retail/rental, as well as lodging at or around our mountain resorts. The impacts of COVID-19, including travel restrictions, had a disproportionately adverse impact on Destination visitation, particularly international guests, as demand for long-distance travel was lower than normal throughout the 2020/2021 North American ski season. Additionally, Destination guest visitation is less likely to be impacted by changes in the weather during the current ski season, but may be more impacted by adverse economic conditions, the global geopolitical climate or weather conditions in the immediately preceding ski season. Local guests tend to be more value-oriented and weather sensitive.
We offer a variety of pass products for all of our Resorts marketed towards both Destination and Local guests. Our pass product offerings range from providing access to one or a combination of our Resorts for a certain number of days to our Epic Pass, which allows pass holders unlimited and unrestricted access to all of our Resorts. The Epic Day Pass is a customizable one to seven day pass product purchased in advance of the season, for those skiers and riders who expect to ski a certain number of days during the season, and which is available in two tiers of resort access offerings. For the 2021/2022 North American ski season, we reduced prices of our entire portfolio of pass products by 20%. Our pass program provides a compelling value proposition to our guests, which in turn assists us in developing a loyal base of customers who commit to ski at our Resorts generally in advance of the ski season and typically ski more days each season at our Resorts than those guests who do not buy pass products. Additionally, we have entered into strategic long-term season pass alliance agreements with third-party mountain resorts including Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado, Sun Valley Resort in Idaho, Snowbasin Resort in Utah, Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu Resort in Japan, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in Canada, Les 3 Vallées in France, 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Skirama Dolomiti in Italy and Ski Arlberg in Austria, which further increases the value proposition of our pass products. As such, our pass program drives strong customer loyalty, mitigates exposure to more weather sensitive guests, generates additional ancillary spending and provides cash flow in advance of winter season operations. In addition, our pass program attracts new guests to our Resorts. All of our pass products, including the Epic Pass and Epic Day Pass, are predominately sold prior to the start of the ski season. Pass product revenue, although primarily collected prior to the ski season, is recognized in the Consolidated Statements of Operations throughout the ski season primarily based on historical visitation (excluding visitation data for Fiscal 2020, which we do not believe is indicative of future visitation due to the early resort closures associated with COVID-19 in March 2020).
Lift revenue consists of pass product lift revenue (“pass revenue”) and non-pass product lift revenue (“non-pass revenue”). Approximately 61%, 51% and 47% of total lift revenue was derived from pass revenue for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively (including the impact of the deferral of pass product revenue from Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2021 as a result of the Credit Offer, as defined below). Additionally, lift revenue for Fiscal 2021 was impacted by the Company only allowing pass product holders to access the Resorts during the early portion of the 2020/2021 North American ski season, as well as the Company utilizing a reservation system, which limited capacity for both pass product holders and non-pass lift tickets.
The cost structure of our mountain resort operations has a significant fixed component with variable expenses including, but not limited to, land use permit or lease fees, credit card fees, retail/rental cost of sales and labor, ski school labor and expenses associated with dining operations. As such, profit margins can fluctuate greatly based on the level of revenues associated with visitation.
Operations within the Lodging segment include (i) ownership/management of a group of luxury hotels through the RockResorts brand proximate to our Colorado and Utah mountain resorts; (ii) ownership/management of non-RockResorts branded hotels and condominiums proximate to our North American Resorts; (iii) National Park Service (“NPS”) concessionaire properties including Grand Teton Lodge Company (“GTLC”); (iv) a Colorado resort ground transportation company; and (v) mountain resort golf courses.
The performance of our lodging properties (including managed condominium units and our Colorado resort ground transportation company) proximate to our mountain resorts is closely aligned with the performance of the Mountain segment and generally experiences similar seasonal trends, particularly with respect to visitation by Destination guests. Revenues from
such properties represented approximately 64%, 73% and 70% of Lodging segment net revenue (excluding Lodging segment revenue associated with reimbursement of payroll costs) for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively. Management primarily focuses on Lodging net revenue excluding payroll cost reimbursements and Lodging operating expense excluding reimbursed payroll costs (which are not measures of financial performance under GAAP) as the reimbursements are made based upon the costs incurred with no added margin; as such, the revenue and corresponding expense have no effect on our Lodging Reported EBITDA, which we use to evaluate Lodging segment performance. Revenue of the Lodging segment during our first and fourth fiscal quarters is generated primarily by the operations of our NPS concessionaire properties (as their operating season generally occurs from June to the end of September); mountain resort golf operations and seasonally lower volume from our other owned and managed properties and businesses.
Real Estate Segment
The principal activities of our Real Estate segment include the sale of land parcels to third-party developers and planning for future real estate development projects, including zoning and acquisition of applicable permits. We continue undertaking preliminary planning and design work on future projects and are pursuing opportunities with third-party developers rather than undertaking our own significant vertical development projects. Additionally, real estate development projects by third-party developers most often result in the creation of certain resort assets that provide additional benefit to the Mountain segment. We believe that, due to our low carrying cost of real estate land investments, we are well situated to promote future projects by third-party developers while limiting our financial risk. Our revenue from the Real Estate segment and associated expense can fluctuate significantly based upon the timing of closings and the type of real estate being sold, causing volatility in the Real Estate segment’s operating results from period to period.
Recent Trends, Risks and Uncertainties
We have identified the following significant factors (as well as uncertainties associated with such factors) that could impact our future financial performance:
•COVID-19 has led to travel restrictions and other adverse economic impacts including reduced consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment rates and volatility in global and local economies. Our operations continue to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 and associated government mandated restrictions, including capacity limitations, travel restrictions, and mask and social distancing requirements. Additionally, we may impose our own COVID-19 related restrictions in addition to what is required by state and local governments in the interest of safety for our guests, employees and resort communities. Although we are uncertain as to the ultimate severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the related global or other travel restrictions and other adverse impacts, we have seen a significant negative change in performance and our future performance could also be negatively impacted. In addition, the North American economy may be impacted by economic challenges in North America or declining or slowing growth in economies outside of North America, accompanied by devaluation of currencies, rising inflation, trade tariffs and lower commodity prices. We cannot predict the ultimate impact that the global economic uncertainty as a result of COVID-19 will have on overall travel and leisure spending or more specifically, on our guest visitation, guest spending or other related trends for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American ski season.
•In the prior year, we announced the early closure of the 2019/2020 North American ski season for our Resorts, lodging properties and retail stores beginning on March 15, 2020. These actions (the “Resort Closures”) had a significant adverse impact on our results of operations for the year ended July 31, 2020. Additionally, on April 27, 2020, we announced that we would offer credits to customers who had purchased 2019/2020 North American pass products and who purchased 2020/2021 North American pass products on or before September 17, 2020 (the “Credit Offer”). The Credit Offer discounts ranged from a minimum of 20% to a maximum of 80% for season pass holders, depending on the number of days the pass holder used their pass product during the 2019/2020 season and a credit, with no minimum, but up to 80% for multi-day pass products, such as the Epic Day Pass, based on total unused days. As a result of the Credit Offer to 2019/2020 pass product holders, we delayed the recognition of approximately $120.9 million of season pass deferred revenue, as well as approximately $2.9 million of related deferred costs, that would have been recognized in Fiscal 2020 and which was instead primarily recognized in the second and third quarters of Fiscal 2021.
•The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in reduced visitation and decreased spending for the 2020/2021 North American ski season compared to the prior year through March 14, 2021, the equivalent date that we closed our Resorts early for the 2019/2020 North American ski season due to the outbreak of COVID-19. 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 from the early season throughout the holiday season. Visitation and spending was also particularly
impacted in regions where heightened COVID-19 restrictions were in place, including Whistler Blackcomb, Tahoe and Vermont. However, results continued to improve as the season progressed, primarily as a result of stronger Destination visitation at our Colorado and Utah resorts, including improved lift ticket purchases. Whistler Blackcomb’s results were disproportionately impacted as compared to our broader Mountain segment as a result of the Canadian travel restrictions and border closures, and were further impacted by the early closure of Whistler Blackcomb on March 30, 2021 following a provincial health order issued by the government of British Columbia due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the region. Our Fiscal 2021 first quarter results were negatively impacted by Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, which opened for the 2020 Australian ski season on July 6, 2020, but we decided to close them four days later due to a “stay at home” order put in place by the Victorian government and specifically for the Melbourne metropolitan area, which represents the majority of visitors for Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, as a result of a reemergence of COVID-19 in the region. Additionally, our Australian ski areas were also impacted by “stay at home” orders and periodic resort closures during the 2021 ski season, which had a negative impact on our Fiscal 2021 fourth quarter results. The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 also resulted in reduced occupancy at our lodging properties during the 2019/2020 North American ski season following our early closure in March 2020, as well as during the 2020/2021 North American ski season. We closed our GTLC facilities including Jackson Lake Lodge and Jenny Lake Lodge during the summer of 2020, implemented restrictions on guided activities and in-restaurant dining, and temporarily closed many other facilities, which negatively impacted results for the first quarter of Fiscal 2021. These actions, trends, and the COVID-19 pandemic in general, had a significant adverse impact on our results of operations for the Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2021, and may continue to have a material, negative impact on our resorts and lodging properties for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2022 (“Fiscal 2022”).
•The timing and amount of snowfall can have an impact on Mountain and Lodging revenue, particularly with regard to skier visits and the duration and frequency of guest visitation. To help mitigate this impact, we sell a variety of pass products prior to the beginning of the ski season which results in a more stabilized stream of lift revenue. In March 2021, we began our pass product sales program for the 2021/2022 North American ski season, which included a 20% reduction in price for all pass products. Pass product sales through September 17, 2021 for the upcoming 2021/2022 North American ski season increased approximately 42% in units and approximately 17% in sales dollars as compared to the period in the prior year through September 18, 2020, without deducting for the value of any redeemed credits provided to certain North American pass product holders in the prior period. To provide a comparison to the season pass results released on June 7, 2021, pass product sales through September 17, 2021 increased approximately 67% in units and approximately 45% in sales dollars as compared to the period through September 20, 2019, with pass product sales adjusted to include Peak Resorts pass sales in both periods. Pass product sales are adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying an exchange rate of $0.79 between the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar in all periods for Whistler Blackcomb. We cannot predict if this favorable trend will continue through the fall 2021 North American pass sales campaign or the overall impact that pass sales will have on lift revenue for the 2021/2022 North American ski season.
•Prior to the 2020/2021 North American ski season, we introduced Epic Coverage, which is included with the purchase of all pass products for no additional charge. Epic Coverage provides refunds in the event of certain resort closures and certain qualifying travel restrictions (e.g. for COVID-19), giving pass product holders a refund for any portion of the season that is lost due to qualifying circumstances. Additionally, Epic Coverage provides a refund for qualifying personal circumstances that were historically covered by our pass insurance program, including for eligible injuries, job losses and many other personal events. The estimated amount of refunds reduces the amount of pass product revenue recognized. We believe our estimate of refund amounts are reasonable; however, actual results could vary materially from such estimates, and we could be required to refund significantly higher amounts than estimated.
Additionally, for the 2020/2021 North American ski season, we introduced Epic Mountain Rewards, a program which provides pass product holders a discount of 20% off on-mountain food and beverage, lodging, group ski school lessons, equipment rentals and more at our North American owned and operated Resorts. Epic Mountain Rewards constitutes an option to our guests to purchase additional products and services from us at a discount and as a result, we allocate a portion of the pass product transaction price to these other lines of business.
•As of July 31, 2021, we had $1,244.0 million of cash and cash equivalents as well as $417.7 million available under the revolver component of our Eighth Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, dated as of August 15, 2018 and as amended most recently on December 18, 2020 (the “Vail Holdings Credit Agreement”), which represents the total commitment of $500.0 million less certain letters of credit outstanding of $82.3 million. Additionally, we have a credit facility which supports the liquidity needs of Whistler Blackcomb (the “Whistler Credit Agreement”). As of July 31, 2021, we had C$243.1 million ($194.9 million) available under the revolver component of the Whistler Credit
Agreement (which represents the total commitment of C$300.0 million ($240.5 million) less outstanding borrowings of C$56.0 million ($44.9 million) and a letter of credit outstanding of C$0.9 million ($0.7 million)).
On December 18, 2020, we entered into the Fourth Amendment to our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement (the “Fourth Amendment”). Pursuant to the Fourth Amendment, among other terms, we are exempt from complying with the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement’s leverage ratio, senior secured leverage ratio, and interest coverage ratio financial maintenance covenants for each of the fiscal quarters ending through January 31, 2022 (unless we make a one-time irrevocable election to terminate such exemption prior to such date) (such period, the “Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period”), after which we will again be required to comply with such covenants starting with the fiscal quarter ending April 30, 2022 (or such earlier fiscal quarter as elected by us). During the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period, we are subject to other restrictions which will limit our ability to make future acquisitions, investments, distributions to stockholders, share repurchases or incur additional debt. Additionally, on December 18, 2020, we completed an offering of $575.0 million in aggregate principal amount of 0.0% convertible senior notes due 2026 (the “0.0% Convertible Notes”) in a private placement conducted pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The 0.0% Convertible Notes are senior, unsecured obligations that do not bear regular interest, and the principal amount of the 0.00% Convertible Notes does not accrete. The notes will mature on January 1, 2026, unless earlier repurchased, redeemed or converted. See Liquidity and Capital Resources for additional information.
We believe that our existing cash and cash equivalents, availability under our credit agreements and the expected positive cash flow from operating activities of our Mountain and Lodging segments less resort capital expenditures will continue to provide us with sufficient liquidity to fund our operations.
Results of Operations
Shown below is a summary of operating results for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019 (in thousands):
| ||Year ended July 31,|
|Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.||$||127,850 ||$||98,833 ||$||301,163 |
|Income before provision for income taxes||$||125,183 ||$||116,433 ||$||398,965 |
|Mountain Reported EBITDA||$||550,389 ||$||500,080 ||$||678,594 |
|Lodging Reported EBITDA||(5,733)||3,269 ||28,100 |
|Resort Reported EBITDA||$||544,656 ||$||503,349 ||$||706,694 |
|Real Estate Reported EBITDA||$||(4,582)||$||(4,128)||$||(4,317)|
A discussion of segment results, including reconciliations of net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. to Total Reported EBITDA, and other items can be found below. The consolidated results of operations, including any consolidated financial metrics pertaining thereto, include the operations of Peak Resorts (acquired September 24, 2019), Falls Creek and Hotham (acquired April 4, 2019), Triple Peaks (acquired September 27, 2018) and Stevens Pass (acquired August 15, 2018), prospectively from their respective dates of acquisition.
The Resort Closures had a significant adverse impact on our results of operations for Fiscal 2020. Additionally, COVID-19 continued to have an adverse impact on our results of operations for Fiscal 2021, as further described below in our segment results of operations.
The sections titled “Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020” and “Fiscal 2020 compared to Fiscal 2019” in each of the Mountain and Lodging segment discussions below provide comparisons of financial and operating performance for Fiscal 2021 to Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2019, respectively, unless otherwise noted.
Mountain segment operating results for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except ETP):
| || || || ||Percentage|
| ||Year ended July 31,||Increase/(Decrease)|
|Mountain net revenue:|
|Lift ||$||1,076,578 ||$||913,091 ||$||1,033,234 ||17.9 ||%||(11.6)||%|
|Ski school||144,227 ||189,131 ||215,060 ||(23.7)||%||(12.1)||%|
|Dining||90,329 ||160,763 ||181,837 ||(43.8)||%||(11.6)||%|
|Retail/rental||227,993 ||270,299 ||320,267 ||(15.7)||%||(15.6)||%|
|Other||150,751 ||177,159 ||205,803 ||(14.9)||%||(13.9)||%|
|Total Mountain net revenue||1,689,878 ||1,710,443 ||1,956,201 ||(1.2)||%||(12.6)||%|
|Mountain operating expense:|
|Labor and labor-related benefits||452,352 ||473,365 ||507,811 ||(4.4)||%||(6.8)||%|
|Retail cost of sales||76,565 ||96,497 ||121,442 ||(20.7)||%||(20.5)||%|
|Resort related fees||69,768 ||75,044 ||96,240 ||(7.0)||%||(22.0)||%|
|General and administrative||253,279 ||239,412 ||233,159 ||5.8 ||%||2.7 ||%|
|Other||294,223 ||327,735 ||320,915 ||(10.2)||%||2.1 ||%|
|Total Mountain operating expense||1,146,187 ||1,212,053 ||1,279,567 ||(5.4)||%||(5.3)||%|
|Mountain equity investment income, net||6,698 ||1,690 ||1,960 ||296.3 ||%||(13.8)||%|
|Mountain Reported EBITDA||$||550,389 ||$||500,080 ||$||678,594 ||10.1 ||%||(26.3)||%|
|Total skier visits||14,852 ||13,483 ||14,998 ||10.2 ||%||(10.1)||%|
|ETP||$||72.49 ||$||67.72 ||$||68.89 ||7.0 ||%||(1.7)||%|
Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $20.3 million, $17.4 million and $16.5 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively.
Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020
Mountain Reported EBITDA increased $50.3 million, or 10.1%, primarily due to the impact of the prior year Resort Closures, including the deferral of $120.9 million of pass product revenue from Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2021 as a result of the Credit Offer to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders, as well as cost discipline efforts in the current year associated with lower levels of operations. These increases were partially offset by limitations and restrictions on our North American winter operations and closures, limitations and restrictions at Perisher, Falls Creek and Hotham during both the 2020 and 2021 Australian ski seasons. Additionally, Whistler Blackcomb’s performance was negatively impacted in the current year due to the continued closure of the Canadian border to international guests and was further impacted by the resort closing earlier than expected on March 30, 2021 following a provincial health order issued by the government of British Columbia. Mountain segment results also include $1.0 million and $13.6 million of acquisition and integration related expenses for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively, which are recorded within Mountain other operating expense. Additionally, operating results from Whistler Blackcomb, which are translated from Canadian dollars to U.S. dollars, were favorably affected by increases in the Canadian dollar exchange rate relative to the U.S. dollar as compared to the prior year, resulting in an increase in Mountain Reported EBITDA of approximately $2 million, which the Company calculated by applying current period foreign exchange rates to the prior period results.
Lift revenue increased $163.5 million, or 17.9%, primarily due to the Company operating for the full U.S. ski season in the current year as compared to the shortened operating season in the prior year as a result of the Resort Closures, including the deferral impact of the Credit Offer from Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2021, partially offset by limitations and restrictions on our North American winter operations in the current year due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, which resulted in a decrease in non-pass visitation. Pass product revenue increased 40.6%, primarily as a result of strong North American pass sales growth for the 2020/2021 ski season, including the deferral impact of the Credit Offer which was recognized primarily during Fiscal 2021. Non-pass revenue decreased 5.7% due to reduced non-pass visitation to our Resorts, which were adversely impacted by COVID-19 related capacity limitations and snowfall levels that were well below average at our Colorado, Utah and Tahoe
resorts through the holiday season, partially offset by an increase in non-pass ETP of 10.1% in the current year. Visitation was particularly impacted in regions where heightened COVID-19 related restrictions were in place, including Whistler Blackcomb, Tahoe and Vermont. Additionally, Whistler Blackcomb’s results were disproportionately impacted as compared to our broader Mountain segment performance in the current year due to the continued closure of the Canadian border to international guests, and was further impacted by the resort closing earlier than expected on March 30, 2021 following a provincial health order issued by the government of British Columbia.
Ski school revenue, dining revenue and retail/rental revenue each decreased in Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020 primarily due to the limitations and restrictions on our North American operations during Fiscal 2021 as a result of the impacts of COVID-19 on our business.
Other revenue mainly consists of summer visitation and mountain activities revenue, employee housing revenue, guest services revenue, commercial leasing revenue, marketing and internet advertising revenue, private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue. Other revenue is also comprised of Australian ski area lodging and transportation revenue. For Fiscal 2021, other revenue decreased $26.4 million, or 14.9%, primarily due to decreased mountain activities and mountain services revenue as a result of limitations and restrictions on our business in Fiscal 2021 due to COVID-19, as well as a reduction in ski pass insurance revenue as a result of the replacement of our previous ski pass insurance program with Epic Coverage for the 2020/2021 North American ski season, which is free to all pass product holders.
Operating expense decreased $65.9 million, or 5.4%, which was primarily attributable to cost discipline efforts in the current year associated with lower levels of operations and limitations, restrictions and closures of Resort operations resulting from COVID-19. Additionally, operating expense includes $1.0 million and $13.6 million of acquisition and integration related expenses for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively.
Labor and labor-related benefits decreased 4.4%, primarily due to cost discipline efforts in the current year associated with limitations, restrictions and closures of our Resort operations as a result of COVID-19, as well as incremental tax credits of approximately $10.3 million primarily associated with COVID-19 related legislation passed in Canada, partially offset by an increase in variable compensation. Retail cost of sales decreased 20.7% compared to a decrease in retail sales of 23.5%, reflecting a higher mix of aged retail products sold at reduced margins. Resort related fees decreased 7.0% primarily due to decreases in revenue on which those fees are based. General and administrative expense increased 5.8%, primarily due to a $13.2 million charge recorded during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2021 for a contingent obligation with respect to employment-related litigation, as well as an increase in variable compensation accruals, partially offset by incremental tax credits of approximately $2.7 million primarily associated with COVID-19 related legislation passed in Canada and Australia. Other expense decreased 10.2% primarily due to decreases in variable operating expenses associated with reduced revenues, as well as a decrease in acquisition and integration related expenses of $12.6 million.
Mountain equity investment income, net primarily includes our share of income from the operations of a real estate brokerage joint venture. Mountain equity investment income from the real estate brokerage company increased $5.0 million (296.3%) for Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020 due to a significant increase in both the number of real estate sales and the average price of those sales.
Fiscal 2020 compared to Fiscal 2019
Mountain Reported EBITDA decreased $178.5 million, or 26.3%, primarily due to the impact of the deferral of $120.9 million of pass product revenue during Fiscal 2020 as a result of the Credit Offer to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders from the Resort Closures and the overall impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in significantly reduced visitation and operations at our Resorts and retail stores for the 2019/2020 North American ski season, the 2020 Australian ski season and our 2020 North American summer operations. These decreases were partially offset by the incremental operations of Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham. Mountain segment results include $13.6 million and $16.4 million of acquisition and integration related expenses for Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively, which are recorded within Mountain other operating expense.
Lift revenue decreased $120.1 million, or 11.6%, primarily due to a 3.4% decrease in pass product revenue and an 18.8% decrease in non-pass revenue. Pass product revenue decreased primarily as a result of the deferral of approximately $120.9 million of pass product revenue associated with the Credit Offer to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders, which would have been recognized during Fiscal 2020 and which was instead recognized primarily in the second and third quarters of Fiscal 2021, partially offset by a combination of an increase in pricing and units sold and increased pass sales to Destination guests, as well as the introduction of the Epic Day Pass. Non-pass revenue decreased primarily due to significantly
reduced skier visitation as a result of the Resort Closures, partially offset by an increase in non-pass ETP (excluding Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham) of 6.2% and incremental revenue from Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham of approximately $61.4 million. Total non-pass ETP, including the impact of Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham decreased 7.3%.
Ski school revenue, dining revenue and retail/rental revenue in Fiscal 2020 all decreased compared to Fiscal 2019 due to the Resort Closures. These decreases were partially offset by incremental revenue from our acquisitions of Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham of $18.0 million of ski school revenue, $23.8 million of dining revenue and $26.8 million of retail/rental revenue.
Other revenue mainly consists of summer visitation and mountain activities revenue, employee housing revenue, guest services revenue, commercial leasing revenue, marketing and internet advertising revenue, private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue. Other revenue is also comprised of Australian ski area lodging and transportation revenue. For Fiscal 2020, other revenue decreased as a result of the Resort Closures, partially offset by incremental revenue from Peak Resorts of approximately $12.6 million.
Resort Closures and the associated actions taken by the Company to reduce costs resulted in a decrease in our operating expense of $67.5 million, or 5.3%, which includes incremental operating expenses from Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham of approximately $121.4 million, as well as $13.6 million and $16.4 million of acquisition and integration related expenses for Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively.
Labor and labor-related benefits decreased 6.8%, which primarily resulted from cost actions associated with the Resort Closures, including decreased staffing, employee furloughs, salary reductions and reduced variable compensation accruals, as well as tax credits of approximately $12.0 million associated with COVID-19 related legislation passed in the U.S., Canada and Australia, partially offset by incremental expenses from Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham of approximately $50.7 million. Retail cost of sales decreased 20.5% compared to a decrease in retail sales of 20.1%. Resort related fees decreased 22.0% primarily due to decreases in revenue on which those fees are based, partially offset by incremental expenses from Peak Resorts of approximately $4.3 million. General and administrative expense increased 2.7% primarily due to incremental expenses from Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham of approximately $18.9 million, partially offset by a decrease in allocated corporate overhead costs, a decrease in variable compensation accruals primarily as a result of the Resort Closures and tax credits of approximately $3.3 million associated with COVID-19 related legislation passed in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Other expense increased 2.1% primarily due to incremental operating expenses from Peak Resorts, Falls Creek and Hotham of approximately $42.2 million, partially offset by decreases in variable operating expenses associated with the Resort Closures, as well as a decrease in acquisition and integration related expenses.
Mountain equity investment income, net primarily includes our share of income from the operations of a real estate brokerage joint venture.
Lodging segment operating results for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except ADR and RevPAR):
| || || || ||Percentage|
| ||Year ended July 31,||Increase/(Decrease)|
|Lodging net revenue:|
|Owned hotel rooms||$||47,509 ||$||44,992 ||$||64,826 ||5.6 ||%||(30.6)||%|
|Managed condominium rooms||72,217 ||76,480 ||86,236 ||(5.6)||%||(11.3)||%|
|Dining||19,068 ||38,252 ||53,730 ||(50.2)||%||(28.8)||%|
|Transportation||9,271 ||15,796 ||21,275 ||(41.3)||%||(25.8)||%|
|Golf||20,437 ||17,412 ||19,648 ||17.4 ||%||(11.4)||%|
|Other||43,007 ||44,933 ||54,617 ||(4.3)||%||(17.7)||%|
|Lodging net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements)||211,509 ||237,865 ||300,332 ||(11.1)||%||(20.8)||%|
|Payroll cost reimbursements||6,553 ||10,549 ||14,330 ||(37.9)||%||(26.4)||%|
|Total Lodging net revenue||218,062 ||248,414 ||314,662 ||(12.2)||%||(21.1)||%|
|Lodging operating expense:|
|Labor and labor-related benefits||101,582 ||114,279 ||135,940 ||(11.1)||%||(15.9)||%|
|General and administrative||43,714 ||39,283 ||41,256 ||11.3 ||%||(4.8)||%|
|Other||71,946 ||81,034 ||95,036 ||(11.2)||%||(14.7)||%|
|Lodging operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs)||217,242 ||234,596 ||272,232 ||(7.4)||%||(13.8)||%|
|Reimbursed payroll costs||6,553 ||10,549 ||14,330 ||(37.9)||%||(26.4)||%|
|Total Lodging operating expense||223,795 ||245,145 ||286,562 ||(8.7)||%||(14.5)||%|
|Lodging Reported EBITDA||$||(5,733)||$||3,269 ||$||28,100 ||(275.4)||%||(88.4)||%|
Owned hotel statistics (1)
|ADR||$||264.83 ||$||266.43 ||$||256.50 ||(0.6)||%||3.9 ||%|
|RevPar||$||122.45 ||$||122.34 ||$||175.45 ||0.1 ||%||(30.3)||%|
Managed condominium statistics (1)
|ADR||$||349.08 ||$||328.98 ||$||324.34 ||6.1 ||%||1.4 ||%|
|RevPar||$||77.74 ||$||83.10 ||$||107.67 ||(6.5)||%||(22.8)||%|
Owned hotel and managed condominium statistics (combined) (1)
|ADR||$||322.15 ||$||310.76 ||$||300.47 ||3.7 ||%||3.4 ||%|
|RevPar||$||85.99 ||$||90.37 ||$||121.81 ||(4.8)||%||(25.8)||%|
(1) RevPAR for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 declined from Fiscal 2019 primarily due to limitations and restrictions on our North American operations resulting from COVID-19, as well as the impact of the Resort Closures.
Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $3.8 million, $3.4 million and $3.2 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively.
Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020
Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2021 decreased $9.0 million, or 275.4%, primarily as a result of limitations and restrictions on our North American operations in the current year as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, which resulted in reduced occupancy and capacity-related restrictions at our lodging properties compared to the prior year.
Revenue from managed condominium rooms, dining, transportation, and other revenue each decreased primarily as a result of the impacts of COVID-19. These decreases were partially offset by increases in revenue from golf, primarily due to strong
summer demand in Fiscal 2021, and owned hotel rooms, primarily as a result of increased revenue from GTLC and partially offset by decreases at our other lodging properties as a result of the impacts of COVID-19.
Operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs) decreased 7.4%. Labor and labor related benefits decreased 11.1% primarily due to decreased staffing associated with COVID-19. General and administrative expense increased 11.3% due to an increase in allocated corporate overhead costs across all functions, including variable compensation accruals, primarily as a result of lower costs in the prior year associated with the Resort Closures. Other expense decreased 11.2% related to lower variable expenses associated with reduced revenue as a result of COVID-19.
Revenue from payroll cost reimbursement and the corresponding reimbursed payroll costs relate to payroll costs at managed hotel properties where we are the employer and all payroll costs are reimbursed by the owners of the properties under contractual arrangements. Since the reimbursements are made based upon the costs incurred with no added margin, the revenue and corresponding expense have no effect on our Lodging Reported EBITDA.
Fiscal 2020 compared to Fiscal 2019
Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2020 decreased $24.8 million, or 88.4%, primarily due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated Resort Closures.
Primarily as a result of the Resort Closures, revenue from owned hotel rooms, managed condominium rooms, dining, transportation, golf and other revenue each decreased. The decreases resulting from the Resort Closures were partially offset by $13.7 million of incremental revenue from Peak Resorts and Triple Peaks.
Operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs) decreased 13.8%. Labor and labor related benefits decreased 15.9% primarily due to cost actions associated with the Resort Closures, including decreased staffing, employee furloughs, salary reductions and reduced variable compensation accruals, as well as tax credits of approximately $2.2 million associated with recent COVID-19 related legislation passed in the U.S., Canada and Australia, partially offset by $6.4 million of incremental expenses from Peak Resorts and Triple Peaks. General and administrative expense decreased 4.8% due to lower allocated corporate overhead costs primarily associated with a reduction in variable compensation accruals, as well as tax credits of approximately $0.5 million associated with recent COVID-19 related legislation passed in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Other expenses decreased 14.7% primarily related to lower variable expenses associated with the impact of the Resort Closures, partially offset by $4.7 million of incremental expenses from Peak Resorts and Triple Peaks.
Revenue from payroll cost reimbursement and the corresponding reimbursed payroll costs relate to payroll costs at managed hotel properties where we are the employer and all payroll costs are reimbursed by the owners of the properties under contractual arrangements. Since the reimbursements are made based upon the costs incurred with no added margin, the revenue and corresponding expense have no effect on our Lodging Reported EBITDA.
Real Estate Segment
Our Real Estate net revenue is primarily determined by the timing of closings and the mix of real estate sold in any given period. Different types of projects have different revenue and profit margins; therefore, as the real estate inventory mix changes, it can greatly impact Real Estate segment net revenue, operating expense, gain on sale of real property and Real Estate Reported EBITDA.
Real Estate segment operating results for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019 are presented by category as follows (in thousands):
| || || || ||Percentage|
| ||Year ended July 31,||Increase/(Decrease)|
|Total Real Estate net revenue||$||1,770 ||$||4,847 ||$||712 ||(63.5)||%||580.8 ||%|
|Real Estate operating expense:|
|Cost of sales (including sales commissions)||1,294 ||3,932 ||13 ||(67.1)||%||30,146.2 ||%|
|Other||5,382 ||5,250 ||5,596 ||2.5 ||%||(6.2)||%|
|Total Real Estate operating expense||6,676 ||9,182 ||5,609 ||(27.3)||%||63.7 ||%|
|Gain on sale of real property||324 ||207 ||580 ||56.5 ||%||(64.3)||%|
|Real Estate Reported EBITDA||$||(4,582)||$||(4,128)||$||(4,317)||(11.0)||%||4.4 ||%|
We did not close on any significant real estate transactions during Fiscal 2021. Other operating expense of $5.4 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits, professional services and allocated corporate overhead costs.
During Fiscal 2020, we closed on the sale of a development land parcel for $4.1 million which was recorded within Real Estate net revenue, with a corresponding cost of sale (including sales commission) of $3.9 million.
Other operating expense of $5.3 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits, professional services and allocated corporate overhead costs.
We closed on two land sales during the third quarter of Fiscal 2019 with third party developers at Keystone (One River Run site) and Breckenridge (East Peak 8 site) for proceeds of approximately $16.0 million, including $4.8 million associated with the sale of density for the Breckenridge property. The land parcel sales were accounted for as financing arrangements as a result of the Company’s continuing involvement with the underlying assets that were sold, including but not limited to, the obligation to repurchase finished commercial space from the development projects upon completion. As a result, the estimated gain of $3.6 million associated with the East Peak 8 site and the estimated loss of $3.2 million associated with the One River Run site will be deferred until the Company no longer maintains continuing involvement. Additionally, the Company’s future obligation to repurchase finished commercial space in the two completed projects, as well as other related capital spending, will result in total estimated capital expenditures of up to approximately $9.5 million in future fiscal years.
Other operating expense of $5.6 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits, professional services and allocated corporate overhead costs. Real Estate Reported EBITDA also included a gain on sale of real property of $0.6 million for the sale of land parcels.
In addition to segment operating results, the following items contributed to our overall financial position and results of operations (in thousands).
|Year ended July 31,||Percentage Increase/(Decrease)|
|Depreciation and amortization||$||(252,585)||$||(249,572)||$||(218,117)||1.2 ||%||14.4 ||%|
|Asset impairments||$||— ||$||(28,372)||$||— ||(100.0)||%||nm|
|Change in fair value of contingent consideration||$||(14,402)||$||2,964 ||$||(5,367)||(585.9)||%||155.2 ||%|
|Interest expense, net ||$||(151,399)||$||(106,721)||$||(79,496)||41.9 ||%||34.2 ||%|
|Foreign currency gain (loss) on intercompany loans||$||8,282 ||$||(3,230)||$||(2,854)||356.4 ||%||(13.2)||%|
|Provision for income taxes||$||(726)||$||(7,378)||$||(75,472)||(90.2)||%||(90.2)||%|
|Effective tax rate||(0.6)||%||(6.3)||%||(18.9)||%||(5.7 pts)||(12.6 pts)|
Depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization expense for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 increased over Fiscal 2019 primarily due to assets acquired in the Peak Resorts acquisition (incremental impact of $24.3 million in Fiscal 2020 relative to Fiscal 2019), as well as discretionary capital projects completed at our resorts in each fiscal year.
Asset impairments. We recorded an asset impairment of approximately $28.4 million during Fiscal 2020 as a result of the effects of COVID-19 on our Colorado resort ground transportation company, with corresponding reductions to goodwill, net of $25.7 million and intangible assets, net and property, plant and equipment, net of $2.7 million. See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
Change in fair value of contingent consideration. We recorded a loss of $14.4 million during Fiscal 2021 primarily related to improved performance compared to estimated results for Park City in Fiscal 2021, resulting in an increase in the expected payment for the year, as well as accretion resulting from the passage of time. We recorded a gain of $3.0 million during Fiscal 2020 primarily related to a decrease in the estimated Contingent Consideration payments for Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2021 as a result of a decrease in expected results due to the anticipated impacts of COVID-19. We recorded a loss of $5.4 million during Fiscal 2019 primarily related to the estimated Contingent Consideration payment for Fiscal 2019. The estimated fair value of contingent consideration is based on assumptions for EBITDA of Park City in future periods, as calculated under the lease on which participating payments are determined, and was $29.6 million and $17.8 million as of July 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.
Interest expense, net. Interest expense, net for Fiscal 2021 increased compared to Fiscal 2020 primarily due to borrowings under our 6.25% unsecured bond offering, which was completed on May 4, 2020 (the “6.25% Notes”) and generated approximately $28.3 million of incremental interest expense in Fiscal 2021, and $12.5 million of non-cash interest expense associated with amortization of the debt discount for the 0.0% Convertible Notes, which were issued in December 2020. Interest expense, net for Fiscal 2020 increased compared to Fiscal 2019 primarily due to debt obligations assumed in the Peak Resorts acquisition; borrowings under our 6.25% unsecured bond offering which was completed on May 4, 2020; incremental term loan borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement of $335.6 million, which were used to fund the Peak Resorts acquisition in September 2019; and incremental borrowings under the revolver components of our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and Whistler Credit Agreement, which were almost entirely drawn on during Fiscal 2020 as a precautionary measure in order to increase our cash position and financial flexibility in light of the financial market conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and were subsequently paid down, partially offset by a decrease in variable interest rates.
Foreign currency gain (loss) on intercompany loans. Foreign currency gain (loss) on intercompany loans for Fiscal 2021 increased as compared to Fiscal 2020 and decreased for Fiscal 2020 as compared to Fiscal 2019 as a result of the Canadian dollar fluctuating relative to the U.S. dollar, and was associated with an intercompany loan from Vail Holdings, Inc. to Whistler Blackcomb in the original amount of $210.0 million that was funded, effective as of November 1, 2016, in connection with the acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb. This intercompany loan, which had an outstanding balance of approximately $97.2 million as of July 31, 2021, requires foreign currency remeasurement to Canadian dollars, the functional currency for Whistler Blackcomb. As a result, foreign currency fluctuations associated with the loan are recorded within our results of operations.
Provision for income taxes. The effective tax rate was (0.6)%, (6.3)% and (18.9)% in Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019, respectively. The decrease in the effective tax rate provision during Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020 was primarily driven by an increase in excess tax benefits from employee share awards that were exercised (stock appreciation rights) and that vested (restricted stock awards). The decrease in the effective tax rate during Fiscal 2020 compared to Fiscal 2019 was primarily due to lower full year pre-tax net income, as well as a one-time, provisional $3.8 million benefit related to the net operating loss carryback provision of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, partially offset by a decrease in excess tax benefits from employee share awards that were exercised (stock appreciation rights) and that vested (restricted stock awards).
Reconciliation of Segment Earnings
The following table reconciles net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. to Total Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2021, Fiscal 2020 and Fiscal 2019 (in thousands):
| ||Year ended July 31,|
|Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.||$||127,850 ||$||98,833 ||$||301,163 |
|Net (loss) income attributable to noncontrolling interests||(3,393)||10,222 ||22,330 |
|Net income||124,457 ||109,055 ||323,493 |
|Provision for income taxes||726 ||7,378 ||75,472 |
|Income before provision for income taxes||125,183 ||116,433 ||398,965 |
|Depreciation and amortization||252,585 ||249,572 ||218,117 |
|Asset impairments||— ||28,372 ||— |
|Loss (gain) on disposal of fixed assets and other, net||5,373 ||(838)||664 |
|Change in fair value of contingent consideration||14,402 ||(2,964)||5,367 |
|Investment income and other, net||(586)||(1,305)||(3,086)|
|Foreign currency (gain) loss on intercompany loans||(8,282)||3,230 ||2,854 |
|Interest expense, net||151,399 ||106,721 ||79,496 |
|Total Reported EBITDA||$||540,074 ||$||499,221 ||$||702,377 |
|Mountain Reported EBITDA|