Shares of Vail Resorts Inc. (MTN) tumbled 13.5% to $185.70 Friday after the resort operator trimmed its full-year resort earnings guidance due to weak pre-holiday guest visits.
CEO Rob Katz said in a statement that improved conditions at the company's western U.S. resorts helped drive a strong rebound in visitation and spending, particularly during the key holiday weeks, but "despite good conditions our destination guest visitation was much lower than anticipated in the pre-holiday period, particularly December 1st through December 21st."
Katz said that primarily as a result of missing expectations in the pre-holiday period, the Broomfield, Colorado-based company expects full-year resort reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to be "slightly below the low end" of its earlier guidance range of $718 million to $750 million.
"We believe this was driven by destination guests' concerns from two prior years of poor pre-holiday conditions at our U.S. resorts and we did not see the pickup in short-term bookings we had expected," Katz said. "Results over the holidays were in line with our expectations across our resorts except at Whistler Blackcomb and our Tahoe resorts which had results below our expectations primarily driven by increased weather variability at those resorts over the holidays and lower than expected destination and international visitation."
In addition, Katz said season-to-date total skier visits for the company's North American mountain resorts were up 16.9% compared with the year-ago season-to-date period.