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, 2022
|☐||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 $277.10 per share as reported on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Tape on January 31, 2022 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was $11,123,660,215.
As of September 26, 2022, 40,281,228 shares of the registrant’s common stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of July 31, 2022 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 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;
•prolonged weakness in general economic conditions, including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries;
•the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on the travel and leisure industry generally, and our financial condition and operations;
•unfavorable weather conditions or the impact of natural disasters;
•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;
•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;
•risks related to 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 maintain adequate staffing, including hiring and retaining 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, including their integration into our internal controls and infrastructure; our ability to successfully navigate new markets, including Europe; or that acquired businesses may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, including the Seven Springs Resorts and Andermatt-Sedrun;
•risks associated with international operations;
•fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates where the Company has foreign currency exposure, primarily the Canadian and Australian dollars, and the Swiss franc, 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 litigation and 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 88%, 12% and 0%, respectively, of our net revenue for our fiscal year ended July 31, 2022 (“Fiscal 2022”).
Our Mountain segment operates 41 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”) concessioner 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.”
Acquisition of Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG
On August 3, 2022, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, we acquired a 55% controlling interest in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG (“Andermatt-Sedrun”) from Andermatt Swiss Alps AG ("ASA"). Andermatt-Sedrun operates mountain and ski-related assets, including all lifts, most of the restaurants and a ski school operation at the ski area. We invested CHF 149.3 million ($155.7 million), comprised of a CHF 110.0 million ($114.4 million) investment into Andermatt-Sedrun for use in capital investments to enhance the guest experience on the mountain and CHF 39.3 million ($41.3 million) paid to ASA. The proceeds paid to ASA will be fully reinvested into the real estate developments in the base area. ASA has retained a 40% ownership stake, with a group of existing shareholders comprising the remaining 5% ownership.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in international and U.S. economies and markets, and has had an unprecedented impact on the travel and leisure industries, including our Company. While our North American Resorts were operational throughout the 2021/2022 ski season, the impacts of COVID-19, and specifically the Omicron variant, resulted in negative impacts to our operational results, including staffing challenges, increased labor costs and reduced visitation through the holiday period of the 2021/2022 North American ski season. In particular, Whistler Blackcomb was disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions during the holiday period, which continued to result in lower than normal U.S. destination and international visitation to the resort. However, our results for the 2021/2022 North American ski season significantly improved following the holiday period, and have significantly outperformed results from the prior year, primarily due to the greater impact of COVID-19 and related limitations and restrictions on results for the prior year. Despite these improved results, COVID-19 still presents significant challenges, including challenges to our ability to maintain adequate staffing in a constrained labor market.
In the Mountain segment, the Company operates the following 41 destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas, including five resorts within the top ten most visited resorts in the United States for the 2021/2022 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 110 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 2021/2022 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 2021/2022 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 2021/2022 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 2021/2022 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 2021/2022 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.
•Andermatt-Sedrun - acquired by the Company on August 3, 2022, Andermatt-Sedrun is located approximately 70 miles from Zurich, Switzerland and approximately 200 miles from Geneva, Switzerland, in the Ursern Valley of the Swiss Alps. Andermatt-Sedrun offers nearly 75 miles of varied terrain and a top elevation of 9,800 feet across the mountains of Andermatt, Sedrun and Gemsstock, with connected access to Disentis, which is owned independently. The ski area spans over 10 miles of scenic high alpine terrain between Andermatt and Sedrun, including the iconic Oberalp Pass, and is connected by the Matterhorn Gothard Bahn which operates year-round.
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 eight ski areas in the Mid-Atlantic region serving guests in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, 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 755 ski areas in North America with approximately 470 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 2021/2022 North American ski season, combined skier visits for all ski areas in North America were approximately 80.6 million. Our North American Resorts had approximately 16.2 million skier visits during the 2021/2022 ski season, representing approximately 20.1% 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, Palisades Tahoe, 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, the Southwest, British Columbia, Canada and Switzerland, 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
We believe 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 and one ski resort in Switzerland. 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 2021/2022 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 18 and 35 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. We have made significant recent 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 2022 include, among other projects, the installation of 18 new or replacement lifts across 12 of our resorts. Key lift upgrades include, among others:
•a new high-speed 10-person gondola at Whistler Blackcomb replacing the existing 6-person gondola;
•replacing Whistler Blackcomb’s existing Big Red Express high-speed 4-person lift with a high-speed 6-person chair;
•a new high-speed 4-person chair in Vail’s Sun Down Bowl;
•replacing the current 4-person chair in Vail’s Game Creek Bowl with a new high-speed 6-person lift;
•replacing Breckenridge’s current fixed-grip double Rip’s Ride lift with a high-speed 4-person chair;
•a new high-speed 6-person chair replacing Northstar’s Comstock 4-person chair; and
•replacing Heavenly’s existing fixed-grip triple North Bowl lift with a high-speed 4-person chair.
In the past several years, we have installed or upgraded several high speed chairlifts and gondolas across our mountain resorts, 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.
•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; and
•replacing the Leichardt T-bar lift at Perisher with a new four-person lift.
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, a mobile application that, through radio frequency technology or Global Positioning System, captures a guest’s activity on the mountain (e.g. number of ski days, vertical feet skied and chairlift activity); provides current trail maps along with real-time trail and lift status; allows guests to access real and forecasted lift line wait times; and provides information regarding parking, dining, events and other on-mountain activities. We have also invested in lift ticket express fulfillment through 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 application of a “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 out-of-state and international (“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. 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 2022. 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 three 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 August 2022, we acquired Andermatt-Sedrun, located in Switzerland, marking our first strategic investment in, and opportunity to operate, a ski resort in Europe. In December 2021, we acquired Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Area in Pennsylvania (collectively, the “Seven Springs Resorts”), which added three regional ski areas strategically located near Pittsburgh, expanding our presence in the Mid-Atlantic region and generating incremental drive-to business from other major metropolitan areas such as Washington DC, Baltimore and Cleveland. 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. Additionally, we enter into strategic long-term season pass alliance agreements with third-party mountain resorts, which for the 2022/2023 ski season include Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado, Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu Resort in Japan, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in Canada, Les 3 Vallées in France, Verbier 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Skirama Dolomiti in Italy and Ski Arlberg in Austria, which further increase the value proposition of our pass products.
Pass product holders also receive additional value in exchange for their advance commitment through our Epic Mountain Rewards 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, Epic Coverage is included with the purchase of all pass products for no additional charge and 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 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 2021/2022 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 340 retail/rental locations specializing in sporting goods including ski, snowboard and cycling equipment. Several of our rental locations offer delivery services, bringing ski and snowboard gear and expert advice directly to our guests. 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, 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 and as a result of labor shortages. 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 2021 and 2022 summer seasons to ensure the safety of our guests and employees as a result of COVID-19 and as a result of labor shortages. 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, Pennsylvania and British Columbia, Canada; two NPS concessioner 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 Vermont, one in Pennsylvania, 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 5,900 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) 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 797,000 rooms at approximately 2,500 properties in the U.S. as of July 31, 2022. For Fiscal 2022, 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 $309.78, a paid occupancy rate of 55.1% and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) of $170.84, as compared to the upper upscale segment’s ADR of $201.53, a paid occupancy rate of 59.3% and RevPAR of $119.47. 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
some 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.
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. The Seven Springs Resorts also provide conference services, offering over 77,000 square feet of meeting and function space;
•we have a central reservations system that leverages 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 Concessioner Properties
We own GTLC, which is based in the Jackson Hole area in Wyoming and operates within Grand Teton National Park under a concession 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 concession 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 mid-May through the end of September.
We primarily compete with such companies as Aramark Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, ExploreUS and Xanterra Parks & Resorts in retaining and obtaining NPS concession agreements. Four full-service concessioners 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. We also operate two additional campgrounds separate from these facilities: the 304-site Gros Ventre Campground and 51-site Jenny Lake Campground. GTLC offers dining options as extensive as its lodging options, with cafeterias, casual eateries and fine dining establishments. Additionally we operate 11 retail outlets located throughout the GTLC properties. 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, although due to low water levels, certain retail locations and activities are not operating for the 2022 summer season. 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 generally 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 (primarily 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 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 2022, 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. We furthered a pilot project to recycle snack wrappers at additional resorts and worked with strategic partners to create 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 2022 we purchased approximately 328,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of wind energy, addressing over 90% of the Company’s current electricity use across its 37 North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas.
For over three 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 2022, we sponsored the reforestation of 80 acres in Colorado and California previously impacted by 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 2022, our focus for the EpicPromise community impact grant program continued to be 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 launched Epic for Everyone Youth Access in partnership with the Katz Amsterdam Foundation, hosting 917 urban youth to a 5-day snowsports program. We also continued our legacy access program with more than 7,400 youth participating in 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 6,900 year-round employees. Over the course of our Resorts’ various winter and summer operating seasons in Fiscal 2022, we employed approximately 38,100 seasonal employees. In addition, we employed approximately 200 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.
During the third quarter of Fiscal 2022 we announced a significant increase in compensation for seasonal frontline staff. For the 2022/2023 North American ski season, we will be increasing our minimum wage to $20 per hour, while maintaining career and leadership differentials to provide a significant increase in pay to all of our hourly employees. We also announced a substantial investment in our human resource department to support a return to full staffing and deliver a better employee experience. The increase in wages and the return to normal staffing levels is expected to result in an approximately $175 million increase in expected labor expense in Fiscal 2023 compared to Fiscal 2022. Additionally, during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2022, we announced a new mental health program available for all employees, even if they are not enrolled in an employer-sponsored healthcare plan, which includes free mental health therapy sessions. We have also recently established a Flexible Remote Work policy which allows employees to permanently work from any state in which we currently operate.
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 (69% internal fill rate). Over the past two years, 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. Nearly 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, with differentiated development for our highest performing, highest potential employees who make up our long-term leadership succession pipeline. Building upon our culture of leadership development and in addition to the wage investment for seasonal, frontline talent announced in the third quarter of Fiscal 2022, we also announced a new focus on the frontline leadership development experience. For the 2022/2023 North American ski season, this includes relaunching our signature “Epic Service” training to inspire and equip frontline talent, who play the most important role in delivering a differentiated guest experience, to practice service-based leadership, which will be reinforced through a new daily in-resort frontline recognition program. The full Epic Service development platform will enable employees to choose curated learning experiences in the areas of Leadership – Self, Team, Guest Service and Business – that align with their specific motivations and career goals. Employee data will be used to build out a full portfolio of online and in-person learning programming to support these learning routes over time. Results impact will be measured by completion of required training, utilization and impact of the Epic Service recognition program and guest experience and Net Promoter scores.
Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented a continuous listening survey to measure and understand the impact of COVID-19 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. We have 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 five of our seven largest resorts (Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City and Crested Butte). Five of the ten directors on our Board are women and two of our nine executive committee members are women, and our Chief Executive Officer, Kirsten Lynch, is 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 and a Women’s Employee Resources Group to foster an inclusive culture, and Forbes has previously named us one of America’s Best Employers for Women.
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 and retaining 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 the past two years, we have undertaken extensive efforts around DEI, including company-wide virtual webinars bringing forward diverse voices, DEI dialogues with external thought leaders, online DEI training modules aligned with our “Be Inclusive” value, and establishment of employee resource groups and affinity groups. 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 are also focused on building support systems for a diverse employee population, including the development of Employee Resources Groups and Affinity Groups, including the recently launched Rainbow Room, an employee-founded and led affinity group focused on providing a supportive community for LGBTQ+ employees. This group provides a space for LGBTQ+ employees to connect, build community and support specific needs, challenges and successes to empower employees to bring their whole authentic selves to work.
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 2022, 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. 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, as well as our guests and resort communities, we took extensive steps during the 2021/2022 winter season. 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 2022/2023 North American ski season, including recently updating our policies to remove the COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment, consistent with the withdrawal of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration vaccination and testing emergency temporary standard for large employers.
Providing affordable employee housing is a critical lever to achieve our hiring and retention goals. While identifying and securing affordable housing options is challenging in some of the communities in which we operate, providing frontline employees affordable housing in our resort communities is a critical aspect of the employee value proposition. For the 2022/2023 North American ski season, we will serve approximately 6,700 frontline team members with affordable housing across our Resorts, as well as an additional 1,300 team members at GTLC for the 2023 summer season. This includes the addition of nearly 500 beds recently acquired or leased, including the 441-bed project at the base of Canyons at Park City to provide affordable housing opportunities to our full time seasonal and year round workforce. We have also announced plans for new affordable housing at Whistler Blackcomb and Vail Mountain for the 2023/2024 North American ski season that we expect will serve an additional 405 team members upon completion, which are subject to regulatory approvals.
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®, Crested Butte & Design®, Kirkwood & Design® and Heavenly®. The Company also owns Canadian and U.S. trademark registrations for the Whistler Blackcomb & Design® 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). With the acquisition of Andermatt-Sedrun, the Company is required to comply with all Swiss regulations, including federal acts and ordinances, as well as Cantonal authorities.
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.
Laurel Mountain Ski Area operates within Laurel Mountain State Park (“State Park”) under a Concession Lease Agreement (the “Lease Agreement”) with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, acting through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (“Department”). The Lease Agreement, first entered into on October 15, 2018, allows for ski operations on approximately 387 acres of the State Park, including the existing ski area, buildings and equipment owned by the Department. The Lease Agreement is automatically renewed for a total of 35 one-year terms through October 31, 2051. We pay a fixed annual rent, as well and an additional amount based on the number of skier visits, with a cap subject to semi-annual consumer price index adjustments.
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.
Andermatt-Sedrun, acquired by the Company on August 3, 2022, is located in the Usern Valley of the Swiss Alps and comprises five mountains (Gemsstock, Nätschen, Sedrun/Oberalp, Realp and Valtgeva). Ski operations are conducted on land owned by ASA as freehold or leasehold properties, land owned by Usern Corporation, land owned by the municipality of Tujetsch and land owned by private property owners.
ASA holds three leasehold properties, which are owed by either Usern Corporation, a corporation under public law consisting of all the citizens of the Usern Valley, or the Swiss Confederation, namely the Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection, and Sport (“DDPS”). For the land owned by Usern Corporation, ASA and Usern Corporation have entered into a main framework concession agreement, dated August 13, 2013, which sets forth the terms and conditions for the use of the land in connection with ski infrastructure facilities in the Gemsstock and Nätschen-Gütsch-Oberalp areas (“Ursern Framework Concession”). The Ursern Framework Concession was entered into for a fixed term until December 31, 2032. An application for renewal of the Ursern Framework Concession must be submitted at least 12 months prior to the expiration of the concession agreement, and we anticipate applying for the renewal. For the land owned by the Swiss Confederation, ASA has entered into leasehold agreements with the DDPS, which have a term of 50 years expiring on April 10, 2067 and March 13, 2068.
Another part of the land on which the Andermatt-Sedrun resort operations are conducted is owned by the municipality of Tujetsch. By means of a personal easement agreement dated October 12, 2012, ASA was granted various building rights and rights of way in order to build, operate and maintain the T-Bars and chairlifts on Tujetsch's property. The personal easement agreement was entered into for a fixed term until October 12, 2032, and we anticipate applying for renewal.
With respect to Swiss operations, companies who provide for regular and commercial passenger transportation by rail, road and water as well as by cable cars and elevators must obtain a passenger transport concession from the Federal Office of Transport (“FOT”). Under the Ursern Framework Concession, ASA was granted the required concessions for all ski infrastructure facilities and the usage of the ski slopes on the property of the Ursern Corporation. In the course of expanding the ski infrastructure facilities Urserntal-Oberalp, the FOT granted ASA passenger transport concessions for a total of 12 cableway installations by means of a plan approval dated May 30, 2014. Each passenger transport concession has a separate expiration date between 2026 and 2042, and we will then be able to apply for an extension or new concession. Additionally, the plan approval included concessions and approvals for ancillary installations such as ski slopes, snowmaking systems, rolling carpets, railway station passenger subway and clearings.
National Park Concessioner Properties
GTLC operates three lodging properties, food and beverage services, retail, camping and other services within the Grand Teton National Park under a concession agreement with the NPS. Our concession 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 concessioners 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.
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
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.
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 inflationary pressures, supply chain disruption, geopolitical uncertainties, increased labor costs and shortages, increased fuel prices, high unemployment, erosion of consumer confidence, health pandemics (such as the ongoing impact of COVID-19), sovereign debt issues and financial instability in the global markets, among other factors, could have negative effects on the travel and leisure industry and on our results of operations. 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 inflation, geopolitical conflicts or COVID-19, it could impact the volume of international visitation, which could have a significant impact on our operating results.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had, and may continue to have, a significant negative impact on the travel and leisure industry generally and, as a result, on our financial condition and operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been and continues to be a complex and evolving situation and has resulted in significant disruption and additional risks to our business; the lodging, hospitality, resort and travel industries; and the global economy. We
expect the impact of the disruptions resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extent of their adverse impact on global economic activity, the volatility of financial markets, the travel and leisure industry, and our financial and operational results, will continue to be dictated by the length of time such disruptions continue. Although all our properties are currently open, we cannot predict whether future closures would be appropriate or could be mandated. Even once travel advisories and restrictions are modified or cease to be necessary, demand for travel and leisure may remain weak for a significant length of time and we cannot predict if or when our properties will return to pre-outbreak levels of visitation. In particular, future demand for travel and leisure may be negatively impacted by the adverse changes in the perceived or actual economic climate, including higher unemployment rates, declines in income levels and loss of personal wealth from the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
While our North American Resorts were operational throughout the 2021/2022 ski season, Whistler Blackcomb was disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 related travel restrictions, which created challenging results for international destination visitation to the resort. Additionally, the significant increase in COVID-19 cases associated with the Omicron variant during the second quarter Fiscal 2022 negatively impacted our operational results due to staffing challenges and lower overall skier visitation, consistent with the broader travel and leisure sector at that time. Our Australian Resorts were open for their 2022 winter season, however, there were public health orders in place until July 6, 2022 which required those arriving from outside of the country to undertake a PCR test upon arrival (and incur a negative test result to avoid a mandatory quarantine), which may have impacted early season visitation. We continue to monitor public health orders and regulations that affect or may affect our winter operations for the 2022/2023 North American ski season.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had, and may continue to have, a material adverse effect on our business, financial performance and condition, operating results, liquidity and cash flows. Given the uncertainty around the extent and timing of the potential future spread or mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic and around the imposition or relaxation of protective measures, we cannot reasonably estimate the impact on 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.
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.
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 decreased snowfall, increased weather variability and/or warmer overall temperatures, which would likely adversely affect skier visits and our revenue and profits. For instance, revenues and profits generated from mountain summer activities/sightseeing and golf peak season operations are not nearly sufficient to off-set off-season losses from our other mountain and lodging operations. This impact could be exacerbated by climate change.
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.
Leisure travel is particularly susceptible to various factors outside of our control, including terrorism, the uncertainty of military and geopolitical 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. Pandemics, acts of terrorism, political events and developments in military and geopolitical 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. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its resulting impacts, including supply chain disruptions, increased fuel prices, international sanctions and other measures that have been imposed, as well as resulting economic volatility and uncertainty, have increased the cost of travel, which may adversely affect our business.
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.
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 2022, approximately 83% 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 2022 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 primarily recognized in the second and third fiscal 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 may continue to have, a significant negative impact on the travel and leisure industry generally and, as a result, on our financial condition and operations.” 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 755 ski areas in North America, including approximately 470 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, Switzerland, 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, inflation has accelerated in the U.S. and globally due in part to global supply chain issues, the Ukraine-Russia war, a rise in energy prices, and strong consumer demand, as economies continue to reopen from restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Increases in expenses as a result of this inflationary environment and 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 and operating costs 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. We currently anticipate that we will spend approximately $323 million to $333 million on capital projects in calendar year 2022.
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, especially considering rising interest rates. 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, including interest rates, 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, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania 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, Mount Sunapee is located on land we lease from the State of New Hampshire and Laurel Mountain is located on land we lease from the State of Pennsylvania. 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 concession 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 (i) Province of British Columbia, (ii) the New South Wales and Victoria, Australia governments and (iii) the DDPS, the municipality of Tujetsch and the FOT in Switzerland. 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. Portions of our operations at Andermatt-Sedrun are located on land owned by (i) the DDPS and subject to two leasehold agreements with ASA, each with a term of 50 years expiring on April 10, 2067 and March 13, 2068; and (ii) the municipality of Tujetsch by means of a personal easement agreement which expires on October 12, 2032 with an option to apply for renewal. We also hold a passenger transport concessions from the FOT, for a total of 12 cableway installations by means of a plan approval dated May 3, 2014. Each passenger transport concession has a separate expiration date between 2026 and 2042, and we will then be able to apply for an extension or new concession. 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 vaccination, 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 labor costs and 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. In addition, our mountain and lodging operations are highly dependent on a large seasonal workforce. Maintaining adequate staffing is complicated and unpredictable due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the constrained labor market. For example, in December 2021 and January 2022, daily exclusions of COVID-symptomatic employees reduced our total workforce and significantly increased volatility in our staffing levels, resulting in the temporary closure of some ski lifts and dining facilities at certain Resorts. The market for the most qualified talent continues to be highly
competitive and we must provide competitive wages, benefits and workplace conditions to attract and retain the most qualified employees, particularly during a time when we have seen significant wage inflation in the market for employees. In addition, in many communities, the supply of resort-area housing is constrained due to market conditions, making it difficult for our employees to obtain available, affordable housing. Further, zoning regulations, protracted approval processes and local anti-development sentiment can prevent or substantially delay new housing projects that we or other parties may pursue to meet the demand for new affordable housing stock.
Changes in immigration laws could also impact our workforce because we typically recruit and hire foreign nationals as part of our seasonal workforce. For example, due in part to certain federal vaccination requirements for foreign workers and embassy closures as a result of COVID-19, we were unable to hire the number of foreign workers we anticipated for the 2021/2022 season. A shortage of international workers, failure to adequately recruit and retain new domestic employees, 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 also 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, increased employee turnover and health care mandates can increase our labor costs. We are subject to mandated minimum wage rates and also experience market-driven pressures to pay wages even higher than mandated minimum wages. This can result in increases not only to the wages of our minimum wage employees but also to the wages paid to employees at wage rates that are above the minimum wage. During Fiscal 2021, we implemented minimum wage increases across many of our Resorts, and in January 2022 we announced a new end of season bonus program of $2 per hour for all hours worked by qualifying employees during the applicable time period. For the 2022/2023 North American ski season, we will be increasing our minimum wage to $20 per hour and announced a substantial investment in our human resource department to support our effort to return to normal staffing levels. The increase in wages and a return to normal staffing is expected to result in an approximately $175 million increase in expected labor expense in Fiscal 2023 compared to Fiscal 2022. From time to time, we have 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. For additional details, see “Business—Human Capital Management.”
We have recently acquired the Seven Springs Resorts, which were not subject to rules and regulations promulgated under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended ("Sarbanes-Oxley"), and they may therefore lack the internal controls that would be required of a U.S. public company, which could ultimately affect our ability to ensure compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley.
We have recently acquired the Seven Springs Resorts, which were not previously subject to the rules and regulations promulgated under Sarbanes-Oxley and accordingly were not required to establish and maintain an internal control infrastructure meeting the standards promulgated under Sarbanes-Oxley. Our assessment of and conclusion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of July 31, 2022 did not include certain elements of the internal controls of the Seven Springs Resorts, which were acquired on December 31, 2021.
Although our management will continue to review and evaluate the effectiveness of our internal controls in light of this acquisition, we cannot provide any assurances that there will be no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. Any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the internal control structure of our acquired businesses may cause significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and our ability to comply with Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley.
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 recent acquisitions of the Seven Springs Resorts and Andermatt-Sedrun, some of which include:
•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;
•additional risks with respect to current and potential international operations, including by unique laws, regulations and business practices of foreign jurisdictions; 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.
We are subject to additional risks with respect to our current and potential international operations and properties.
As a result of the acquisitions of Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Perisher, Hotham and Falls Creek in Australia, and Andermatt-Sedrun in Switzerland, 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. We also intend to consider strategic growth opportunities for our portfolio globally through acquisitions in attractive international markets to service demonstrable demand where we believe the anticipated risk-adjusted returns are consistent with our investment objectives. Our international operations and properties and in particular our newly acquired European properties (following the Andermatt-Sedrun acquisition), could be affected by factors peculiar to the laws, regulations and business practices of those jurisdictions. These laws, regulations and business practices expose us to risks that are different than or in addition to those commonly found in the United States. Risks relating to our international operations and properties include:
•changing governmental rules and policies, including changes in land use and zoning laws;
•enactment of laws relating to international ownership and laws restricting the ability to remove profits earned from activities within a particular country to a person’s or company’s country of origin;
•changes in laws or policies governing foreign trade or investment and use of foreign operations or workers, and any negative sentiments towards multinational companies as a result of any such changes to laws, regulations or policies or due to trends such as political populism and economic nationalism;
•variations in currency exchange rates and the imposition of currency controls;
•adverse market conditions caused by terrorism, civil unrest, natural disasters, infectious disease and changes in international, national or local governmental or economic conditions;
•business disruptions arising from public health crises and outbreaks of communicable diseases, including the recent coronavirus outbreak;
•the willingness of U.S. or international lenders to make loans in certain countries and changes in the availability, cost and terms of secured and unsecured debt resulting from varying governmental economic policies;
•the imposition of unique tax structures and changes in tax rates and other operating expenses in particular countries, including the potential imposition of adverse or confiscatory taxes;
•the potential imposition of restrictions on currency conversions or the transfer of funds;
•general political and economic instability;
•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
•our limited experience and expertise in foreign countries, particularly European countries, relative to our experience and expertise in the United States;
If any of the foregoing risks were to materialize, they could materially and adversely affect us.
We may be adversely impacted by the effects of high or prolonged inflation.
Inflation increases the cost of goods we purchase and services we buy, the cost of capital projects and wages and benefits for our workforce. Although we may take measures to mitigate the impact of inflation through pricing actions or cost reduction measures, if we are not able to offset inflationary costs, our results of operations will be negatively impacted and possibly in a material manner. As a result, the impact of high and prolonged inflation could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, or results of operations. Inflationary pressures also increase the cost of living and cost of travel, which decreases consumers’ disposable income and could impact our guests’ discretionary spending habits or willingness to visit our Resorts, which could reduce customer demand for the products and services that we offer and negatively impact our revenues and operating cash flow.
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, Falls Creek and Andermatt-Sedrun 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, Swiss franc 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 Ownership of our Common 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 were subject to the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period (See “Risks Relating to Ownership of our Common Stock—Restrictions imposed by the terms of our indebtedness may prevent or limit our future business plans.”), we were prohibited from paying any dividends or making share repurchases, unless (x) no default or potential default existed under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and (y) we had 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 could 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, 2022, our Board of Directors approved a cash dividend of $1.91 per share payable on October 24, 2022 to stockholders of record as of October 5, 2022.
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, 2022, we had $2.8 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) $11.7 million of indebtedness under our credit agreement at Whistler Blackcomb (the “Whistler Credit Agreement”), (v) $357.6 million with respect to our obligation associated with the Canyons long-term lease and (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”). Our borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement are subject to interest rate changes substantially increasing our risk to changes in interest rates. Following the Fifth Amendment to the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, dated as of August 31, 2022 (the “Fifth Amendment”), borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, including the term loan facility, bear interest annually at a rate of SOFR, which replaced LIBOR as the reference interest rate under the Fifth Amendment, plus a spread of 0.1%, plus 1.25%. We also have, on a cumulative basis, minimum lease payment obligations under operating leases of approximately $273.7 million as of July 31, 2022. 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 December 18, 2020, we entered into an amendment to the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, pursuant to which we were exempted from complying with certain financial maintenance covenants for the fiscal quarters ending through January 31, 2022 (unless we made a one-time irrevocable election to terminate such exemption period prior to such date) (such period, the “Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period”), and we were prohibited from undertaking certain activities during such period. On October 31, 2021, we exited the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period. As a result, we were required to comply with the financial maintenance covenants in the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement starting with the fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2021, and we are no longer subject to the covenant modifications that were applicable during the Financial Covenants Temporary Waiver Period.
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, 2022, the Company has repurchased 6,465,708 shares at a cost of approximately $479.4 million. As of July 31, 2022, 1,034,292 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. Further, the U.S. has implemented a 1% excise tax on certain corporate share repurchases beginning in January 2023, which could adversely impact our share repurchases. 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.
For instance, provisions of the indentures governing our indebtedness stipulate that the Company must repurchase the senior notes at the option of their holders upon the event of a change in control of the Company. Further, a change of control would constitute an event of default under our credit agreements.
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 acres)||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 acres)||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||Concession 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|
|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||Concession 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 (7,050 acres)||SUP||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Hidden Valley Resort, MO||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements|
|Hidden Valley Resort, PA||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|
|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, WY||Owned||Golf course, clubhouse, tennis and dining facilities|
|Jackson Lake Lodge, WY||Concession contract||Lodging, dining and conference facilities|
|Jenny Lake Lodge, WY||Concession 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|
|Laurel Mountain, PA||Leased||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 (1,400 acres)||Leased ||Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements used for operation of Stowe Mountain Resort|
|Northstar California Resort, CA (7,200 acres)||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 (8,900 acres)||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 (220 acres)||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 (3,335 acres)|
|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|
|Seven Springs Resort, PA||Owned||Ski trails, ski lifts, dining facilities, commercial space, lodging, property management, conference facilities and other improvements|
|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 260 rental and retail stores (of which approximately 110 stores are currently held under lease) for recreational products and 7 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 26, 2022, 40,281,228 shares of common stock were outstanding, held by approximately 245 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. We did not pay any dividends during the year ended July 31, 2021 (“Fiscal 2021”) and we resumed making dividend payments in October 2021. 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, 2022, our Board of Directors approved a cash dividend of $1.91 per share payable on October 24, 2022 to stockholders of record as of October 5, 2022. We expect to fund the dividend with available cash on hand.
Repurchase of Equity Securities
The following table sets forth our purchases of shares of our common stock during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2022:
Total Number of
Paid per Share
Total Number of
as Part of Publicly
Number of Shares
that May Yet Be
the Plans or
|May 1, 2022 - May 31, 2022||158,268 ||$||234.88 ||158,268 ||1,035,716 |
|June 1, 2022 - June 30, 2022||1,424 ||$||228.86 ||1,424 ||1,034,292 |
|July 1, 2022 - July 31, 2022||— ||$||— ||— ||1,034,292 |
|Total||159,692 ||$||234.83 ||159,692 ||1,034,292 |
(1) 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. From inception of this stock repurchase program through July 31, 2022, the Company has repurchased 6,465,708 shares at a cost of approximately $479.4 million. As of July 31, 2022, 1,034,292 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.
In connection with the Company’s acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb in October 2016, the Company issued consideration in the form of shares of Vail Resorts common stock (the “Vail Shares”), redeemable preferred shares of the Company’s wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. (“Exchangeco”) or cash (or a combination thereof). Whistler Blackcomb shareholders elected to receive 3,327,719 Vail Shares and 418,095 redeemable preferred shares of Exchangeco (the “Exchangeco Shares”). The Exchangeco Shares could be redeemed for Vail Shares at any time until October 2023 or until the Company elects to convert any remaining Exchangeco Shares to Vail Shares, which we have the ability to do once total
Exchangeco Shares outstanding fall below 20,904 shares (or 5% of the total Exchangeco Shares originally issued). In July 2022, the number of outstanding Exchangeco Shares fell below such threshold and on August 25, 2022, the Company elected to redeem all outstanding Exchangeco Shares, effective September 26, 2022. As of the date of this Annual Report on Form 10-K, all Exchangeco Shares have been exchanged for Vail Shares. Both Vail Shares and Exchangeco Shares have a par value of $0.01 per share, and Exchangeco Shares, while they were outstanding, were substantially the economic equivalent of the Vail Shares. The Company’s calculation of weighted-average shares outstanding includes the Exchangeco Shares.
The total return graph below is presented for the period from the beginning of our fiscal year ended July 31, 2018 through the end of our fiscal year ended July 31, 2022 (“Fiscal 2022”). 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 ||$||134.22 ||$||123.01 ||$||98.39 ||$||156.38 ||$||124.02 |
|$||100.00 ||$||118.73 ||$||113.44 ||$||108.21 ||$||164.41 ||$||140.84 |
Standard & Poor’s 500
|$||100.00 ||$||116.23 ||$||125.50 ||$||140.48 ||$||191.66 ||$||182.73 |
Dow Jones U.S. Travel and Leisure
|$||100.00 ||$||105.97 ||$||122.97 ||$||93.52 ||$||137.40 ||$||111.89 |
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 Resort Reported EBITDA, and long-term debt, net to Net Debt.
Items excluded from Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are significant components in understanding and assessing financial performance or liquidity. Resort Reported EBITDA, Total 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 88%, 12% and 0%, respectively, of our net revenue for Fiscal 2022.
In the Mountain segment, the Company operates the following 41 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, primarily 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 ski operations occurring in our second and third fiscal quarters and the majority of revenue earned from our Australian ski operations occurring in our first and fourth fiscal quarters. Our North American destination mountain resorts and regional ski areas (collectively, “Resorts”) typically experience their peak operating season for the Mountain segment from mid-December through mid-April, and our Australian ski areas typically experience their peak operating season from June to early October. Our largest source of Mountain segment revenue comes from the sale of lift tickets (including pass products), which represented approximately 59%, 63% and 53% of Mountain segment net revenue for Fiscal 2022, the fiscal year ended July 31, 2021 (“Fiscal 2021”) and the fiscal year ended July 31, 2020 (“Fiscal 2020”), 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 Resorts is divided into two primary categories: (i) out-of-state and international (“Destination”) guests and (ii) in-state and local (“Local”) guests. For the 2021/2022 North American ski season, Destination guests comprised approximately 58% of our North American destination mountain resort skier visits (excluding complimentary access), while Local guests comprised approximately 42% of our North American destination mountain resort skier visits (excluding complimentary access), which compares to 52% and 48%, respectively, for the 2020/2021 North American ski season and approximately 58% and 42%, respectively, for the 2019/2020 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. Additionally, Destination guest visitation is less likely to be impacted by changes in the weather during the current 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 toward 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 three tiers of resort access offerings. Our pass products provide 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 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 enter into strategic long-term pass alliance agreements with third-party mountain resorts, which further increase the value proposition of our pass products. For the 2022/2023 ski season, our pass alliances include Telluride Ski Resort in Colorado, Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu Resort in Japan, Resorts of the Canadian Rockies in Canada, Les 3 Vallées in France, Verbier 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Skirama Dolomiti in Italy and Ski Arlberg in Austria. 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 on a straight-line basis using skiable days (see Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information).
Lift revenue consists of pass product lift revenue (“pass revenue”) and non-pass lift product revenue (“non-pass revenue”). Approximately 61%, 61% and 51% of total lift revenue was derived from pass revenue for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively (including the impact of the deferral of pass product revenue from Fiscal 2020 to Fiscal 2021 as a result of credits offered to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders who purchased 2020/2021 pass products). Additionally, lift revenue for Fiscal 2021 was impacted by restrictions which only allowed pass product holders to access our Resorts during the early portion of the 2020/2021 North American ski season, as well as our use of 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.
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”) concessioner properties, including the 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) proximate to our Resorts, and our Colorado resort ground transportation company, are closely aligned with the performance of the Mountain segment and generally experience similar seasonal trends, particularly with respect to visitation by Destination guests. Revenues from such properties represented approximately 73%, 67% and 75% of Lodging segment net revenue (excluding Lodging segment revenue associated with the reimbursement of payroll costs) for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, 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 and as such, the revenue and corresponding expense do not affect 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 concessioner properties (as their peak operating season generally occurs from mid-May through 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 important factors (as well as risks and uncertainties associated with such factors) that could impact our future financial performance or condition:
•COVID-19 has led to travel restrictions and other adverse economic impacts in global and local economies. Our operations for Fiscal 2022 continued to be negatively impacted by COVID-19 and associated government-mandated restrictions, including capacity limitations, vaccination requirements 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 the safety of our guests, employees and resort communities. The ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and associated regional shutdowns resulted in periodic closures of our Australian ski areas during their 2021 ski seasons. Although conditions have improved relative to the prior year, 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 experienced a 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 fluctuating commodity prices. While we anticipate improvements as compared to Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021, 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 2022/2023 North American ski season.
•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. Additionally, our pass products provide a compelling value proposition to our guests, which in turn create a guest commitment predominately prior to the start of the ski season. In March 2022, we began our pass product sales program for the 2022/2023 North American ski season. Pass product sales through September 23, 2022 for the upcoming 2022/2023 North American ski season increased approximately 6% in units and approximately 7% in sales dollars as compared to the prior year through September 24, 2021. Pass product sales are adjusted to include pass product sales for the Seven Springs Resorts in both periods and to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying an exchange rate of $0.76 between the Canadian dollar and U.S. dollar to both periods for Whistler Blackcomb pass product sales. We cannot predict if this favorable trend will continue through the remainder of the 2022 North American pass product sales campaign or the overall impact that pass product sales will have on lift revenue for the 2022/2023 North American ski season.
•The 2021/2022 North American ski season got off to a slow start with challenging early season conditions which persisted through the holiday period, but results were strong from January through the remainder of the season. We had particularly strong Destination visitation this year, which was further supported by lift ticket sales at our Colorado and Utah resorts that exceeded our expectations through the spring. Our results at Whistler Blackcomb were also stronger than expected after the holiday period due to the easing of travel restrictions in Canada in late February. Additionally, after the holiday period, performance at our eastern U.S. ski areas was in-line with our expectations while our Tahoe resorts were impacted by challenging spring conditions, resulting in performance below our expectations. Throughout the season, our ancillary businesses continued to be capacity constrained by staffing and, in the case of dining, by operational restrictions associated with COVID-19. During the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2022, our Australian resorts experienced record visitation, driven by strong demand following two years of COVID-19 related disruptions, continued momentum in advance commitment pass product sales following the addition of Hotham and Falls Creek in April 2019, and favorable early season conditions that continued throughout the quarter. We cannot predict the impact that COVID-19 limitations and restrictions, future weather conditions or continued staffing challenges may have on our skier visitation and results of operations for the year ending July 31, 2023 (“Fiscal 2023”) and beyond.
•As of July 31, 2022, we had $1,107.4 million of cash and cash equivalents as well as $417.4 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 $82.6 million. Additionally, we have a credit facility which supports the liquidity needs of Whistler Blackcomb (the “Whistler Credit Agreement”). As of July 31, 2022, we had C$281.6 million ($220.0 million) available under the revolver component of the Whistler Credit Agreement which represents the total commitment of C$300.0 million ($234.3 million) less outstanding borrowings of C$15.0 million ($11.7 million) and letters of credit outstanding of C$3.4 million ($2.6 million). 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.
•On December 31, 2021, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, we acquired Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Hidden Valley Resort and Laurel Mountain Ski Area in Pennsylvania (collectively, the “Seven Springs Resorts”) from Seven Springs Mountain Resort, Inc. and its affiliates for a purchase price of approximately $116.5 million, after adjustments for certain agreed-upon terms, which we funded with cash on hand. The acquisition included the mountain operations of the Seven Springs Resorts, including base area skier services (food and beverage, retail and rental, lift ticket offices and ski and snowboard school facilities), as well as hotel, conference center and other related operations. We cannot predict the ultimate impact the acquisition of the Seven Springs Resorts will have on our future results from operations.
•On August 3, 2022, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, we acquired a 55% controlling interest in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG (“Andermatt-Sedrun”) from Andermatt Swiss Alps AG (“ASA”). Andermatt-Sedrun controls and operates all of Andermatt-Sedrun's mountain and ski-related assets, including lifts, most of the restaurants and a ski school operation at the ski area. We invested CHF 149.3 million ($155.7 million), comprised of a CHF 110.0 million ($114.4 million) investment into Andermatt-Sedrun for use in capital investments to enhance the guest experience on the mountain and CHF 39.3 million ($41.3 million) paid to ASA. The proceeds paid to ASA will be fully reinvested into the real estate developments in the base area. ASA retains a 40% ownership stake, with a group of existing shareholders comprising the remaining 5% ownership. We will provide unlimited and unrestricted access to Andermatt-Sedrun on the Epic Pass for the 2022/2023 ski season, as well as provide access on other pass products. We cannot predict the ultimate impact the acquisition of Andermatt-Sedrun will have on our future results from operations.
Results of Operations
Shown below is a summary of operating results for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 (in thousands):
| ||Year ended July 31,|
|Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.||$||347,923 ||$||127,850 ||$||98,833 |
|Income before provision for income taxes||$||457,161 ||$||125,183 ||$||116,433 |
|Mountain Reported EBITDA||$||811,167 ||$||552,753 ||$||503,440 |
|Lodging Reported EBITDA||25,747 ||(8,097)||(91)|
|Resort Reported EBITDA||$||836,914 ||$||544,656 ||$||503,349 |
|Real Estate Reported EBITDA||$||(3,927)||$||(4,582)||$||(4,128)|
(1) Segment results for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect current period presentation. See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
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 the Seven Springs Resorts (acquired December 31, 2021) prospectively from the date of acquisition.
COVID-19 in general had an adverse impact on our results of operations for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 as further described below in our segment results of operations.
The sections titled “Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021” and “Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020” in each of the Mountain and Lodging segment discussions below provide comparisons of financial and operating performance for Fiscal 2022 to Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2021 to Fiscal 2020, respectively, unless otherwise noted.
Mountain segment operating results for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except ETP):
| || || || ||Percentage|
| ||Year ended July 31,||Increase/(Decrease)|
|Mountain net revenue:|
|Lift ||$||1,310,213 ||$||1,076,578 ||$||913,091 ||21.7 ||%||17.9 ||%|
|Ski school||223,645 ||144,227 ||189,131 ||55.1 ||%||(23.7)||%|
|Dining||163,705 ||92,186 ||167,551 ||77.6 ||%||(45.0)||%|
|Retail/rental||311,768 ||227,993 ||270,299 ||36.7 ||%||(15.7)||%|
|Other||203,783 ||161,814 ||186,548 ||25.9 ||%||(13.3)||%|
|Total Mountain net revenue||2,213,114 ||1,702,798 ||1,726,620 ||30.0 ||%||(1.4)||%|
|Mountain operating expense:|
|Labor and labor-related benefits||561,266 ||458,029 ||479,993 ||22.5 ||%||(4.6)||%|
|Retail cost of sales||99,024 ||77,217 ||97,052 ||28.2 ||%||(20.4)||%|
|Resort related fees||93,177 ||69,983 ||75,246 ||33.1 ||%||(7.0)||%|
|General and administrative||292,412 ||253,279 ||239,412 ||15.5 ||%||5.8 ||%|
|Other||358,648 ||298,235 ||333,167 ||20.3 ||%||(10.5)||%|
|Total Mountain operating expense||1,404,527 ||1,156,743 ||1,224,870 ||21.4 ||%||(5.6)||%|
|Mountain equity investment income, net||2,580 ||6,698 ||1,690 ||(61.5)||%||296.3 ||%|
|Mountain Reported EBITDA||$||811,167 ||$||552,753 ||$||503,440 ||46.8 ||%||9.8 ||%|
|Total skier visits||17,298 ||14,852 ||13,483 ||16.5 ||%||10.2 ||%|
|ETP||$||75.74 ||$||72.49 ||$||67.72 ||4.5 ||%||7.0 ||%|
(1) Segment results for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect current period presentation. See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $20.9 million, $20.3 million and $17.4 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively.
Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021
Mountain Reported EBITDA increased $258.4 million, or 46.8%, primarily due to strong North American pass product sales growth for the 2021/2022 North American ski season and fewer COVID-19 related limitations and restrictions on our North American operations compared to the prior year. Visitation across our North American Resorts increased relative to prior year levels, but was partially offset by the negative impact of delayed Resort openings due to challenging early season conditions. Additionally, our Australian resorts had strong visitation during the fourth quarter of Fiscal 2022, compared to being negatively impacted by limitations and restrictions during the 2021 Australian ski season. These increases were partially offset by an increase in variable expenses associated with the increase in revenue and visitation, and an increase in general and administrative expenses primarily due to cost discipline efforts in the prior year associated with lower levels of operations. Mountain segment results for Fiscal 2022 also include acquisition and integration related expenses, including expenses associated with the acquisitions of the Seven Springs Resorts and Andermatt-Sedrun, of $7.7 million, compared to $1.0 million of acquisition and integration related expenses for Fiscal 2021.
Lift revenue increased $233.6 million, or 21.7%, primarily due to an increase in pass revenue and an increase in non-pass lift ticket purchases. Pass revenue increased 21.5%, which was primarily driven by increased pass product sales for the 2021/2022 North American ski season compared to the 2020/2021 North American ski season, which were favorably impacted by increased pass product sales to new pass holders and Destination guests. Non-pass revenue increased 22.0% primarily due to an increase in visitation, which was significantly impacted by COVID-19 related capacity limitations in the prior year, as well as an increase in non-pass ETP of 8.2%. The increase in non-pass lift revenue was partially offset by delayed North American Resort openings as a result of challenging early season conditions, which negatively impacted visitation.
Ski school revenue increased $79.4 million, or 55.1%; dining revenue increased $71.5 million, or 77.6%; and retail/rental revenue increased $83.8 million, or 36.7%. Each increased primarily due to fewer COVID-19 related limitations and restrictions on our North American winter operations as compared to the prior year, as well as an increase in demand over the prior year.
Other revenue mainly consists of summer visitation and other mountain activities revenue, employee housing revenue, guest services revenue, commercial leasing revenue, marketing revenue, private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue. Other revenue also includes Australian ski area lodging and transportation revenue. Other revenue increased $42.0 million, or 25.9%, primarily as a result of increased visitation and fewer COVID-19 related limitations and restrictions on our North American operations as compared to the prior year.
Operating expense increased $247.8 million, or 21.4%, which was primarily attributable to increased variable expenses associated with increases in revenue, and the impact of cost discipline efforts in the prior year associated with lower levels of operations, including limitations, restrictions and closures resulting from COVID-19. Additionally, operating expense for Fiscal 2022 includes acquisition and integration related expenses, including expenses associated with the acquisitions of the Seven Springs Resorts and Andermatt-Sedrun, of $7.7 million, compared to $1.0 million of acquisition and integration related expense for Fiscal 2021.
Labor and labor-related benefits increased 22.5%, primarily due to increased staffing associated with an increase in visitation and the impact of COVID-19 related cost actions in the prior year, including salary reductions, as well as a decrease of $16.5 million in tax credits from COVID-19 related legislation in Canada. Retail cost of sales increased 28.2%, compared to an increase in retail sales of 36.3%, reflecting increased margins on a higher mix of newer, higher-margin retail products. Resort related fees increased 33.1%, primarily due to increases in revenue on which those fees are based. General and administrative expense increased 15.5%, primarily due to an increase in corporate overhead costs due to cost reduction measures in the prior year to offset the impacts of COVID-19, as well as a decrease of $5.2 million in tax credits associated with COVID-19 related legislation in Canada and Australia. Other expense increased 20.3%, primarily due to increases in variable operating expenses associated with increased revenues and visitation, as well as an increase in acquisition and integration related expenses of $6.7 million.
Mountain equity investment income, net primarily includes our share of income from the operations of a real estate brokerage company. Mountain equity investment income from the real estate brokerage company decreased $4.1 million, or 61.5%, for Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021 primarily due to a lower number of real estate sales.
Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020
Mountain Reported EBITDA increased $49.3 million, or 9.8%, primarily due to the impact of the Fiscal 2020 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 Fiscal 2021 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 Fiscal 2021 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 for Fiscal 2021 as compared to Fiscal 2020, resulting in a decrease in Mountain Reported EBITDA of approximately $2.0 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 Fiscal 2021 as compared to the shortened operating season in Fiscal 2020 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 Fiscal 2021 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%. 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 Fiscal 2021 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 $24.7 million, or 13.3%, 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 $68.1 million, or 5.6%, which was primarily attributable to cost discipline efforts in Fiscal 2021 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 4.6%%, primarily due to cost discipline efforts in Fiscal 2021 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 20.4% 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 10.5% 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 $5.0 million (296.3%) for Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020 due to a significant increase in both the number of real estate sales and the average price of those sales.
Lodging segment operating results for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except average daily rate (“ADR”) and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”)):
| || || || ||Percentage|
| ||Year ended July 31,||Increase/(Decrease)|
|Lodging net revenue:|
|Owned hotel rooms||$||80,579 ||$||47,509 ||$||44,992 ||69.6 ||%||5.6 ||%|
|Managed condominium rooms||97,704 ||72,217 ||76,480 ||35.3 ||%||(5.6)||%|
|Dining||48,569 ||17,211 ||31,464 ||182.2 ||%||(45.3)||%|
|Transportation||16,021 ||9,271 ||15,796 ||72.8 ||%||(41.3)||%|
|Golf||10,975 ||9,373 ||8,023 ||17.1 ||%||16.8 ||%|
|Other||46,500 ||43,008 ||44,933 ||8.1 ||%||(4.3)||%|
|Lodging net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements)||300,348 ||198,589 ||221,688 ||51.2 ||%||(10.4)||%|
|Payroll cost reimbursements||11,742 ||6,553 ||10,549 ||79.2 ||%||(37.9)||%|
|Total Lodging net revenue||312,090 ||205,142 ||232,237 ||52.1 ||%||(11.7)||%|
|Lodging operating expense:|
|Labor and labor-related benefits||128,884 ||95,899 ||107,651 ||34.4 ||%||(10.9)||%|
|General and administrative||55,081 ||43,714 ||39,283 ||26.0 ||%||11.3 ||%|
|Other||90,636 ||67,073 ||74,845 ||35.1 ||%||(10.4)||%|
|Lodging operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs)||274,601 ||206,686 ||221,779 ||32.9 ||%||(6.8)||%|
|Reimbursed payroll costs||11,742 ||6,553 ||10,549 ||79.2 ||%||(37.9)||%|
|Total Lodging operating expense||286,343 ||213,239 ||232,328 ||34.3 ||%||(8.2)||%|
|Lodging Reported EBITDA||$||25,747 ||$||(8,097)||$||(91)||418.0 ||%||(8,797.8)||%|
|Owned hotel statistics|
|ADR||$||309.78 ||$||264.83 ||$||266.43 ||17.0 ||%||(0.6)||%|
|RevPar||$||170.84 ||$||122.45 ||$||122.34 ||39.5 ||%||0.1 ||%|
|Managed condominium statistics|
|ADR||$||410.13 ||$||349.08 ||$||328.98 ||17.5 ||%||6.1 ||%|
|RevPar||$||122.15 ||$||77.74 ||$||83.10 ||57.1 ||%||(6.5)||%|
|Owned hotel and managed condominium statistics (combined)|
|ADR||$||373.89 ||$||322.15 ||$||310.76 ||16.1 ||%||3.7 ||%|
|RevPar||$||133.53 ||$||85.99 ||$||90.37 ||55.3 ||%||(4.8)||%|
(1) Segment results for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect current period presentation. See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $3.7 million, $3.8 million and $3.4 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively.
Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021
Lodging Reported EBITDA increased $33.8 million, or 418.0%, primarily as a result of fewer COVID-19 capacity-related restrictions and limitations on our North American operations compared to the prior year, which resulted in increased occupancy at our lodging properties as compared to the prior year, as well as an increase in ADR of 16.1% driven by increased pricing at our owned hotels and managed condominiums due to an increase in demand particularly for group visitation. Additionally we benefited from the incremental operations of the Seven Springs Resorts (acquired in December 2021) which generated $5.8 million of EBITDA in the current year. These increases were partially offset by increased general and administrative expenses primarily due to COVID-19 related cost management in the prior year.
Revenue from owned hotel rooms, managed condominium rooms, dining, transportation, golf and other revenue each increased primarily as a result of fewer COVID-19 related limitations and restrictions as compared to the prior year, as well as an increase in demand over the prior year and incremental revenue from the Seven Springs Resorts of $18.7 million.
Operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs) increased 32.9%, including incremental operating expenses from the Seven Springs Resorts of $12.9 million. Labor and labor related benefits increased 34.4%, primarily due to increased staffing associated with improved North American operations in the current year as a result of fewer COVID-19 related limitations and restrictions and increased demand, as well as the impact of salary reductions in the prior year. General and administrative expense increased 26.0% primarily due to an increase in allocated corporate overhead costs for nearly all functions, which were impacted in the prior year by COVID-19 related cost management. Other expense increased 35.1%, primarily related to higher variable expenses associated with increased revenue.
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 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020
Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2021 decreased $8.0 million or 8797.8%, primarily as a result of limitations and restrictions on our North American operations in Fiscal 2021 as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, which resulted in reduced occupancy and capacity-related restrictions at our lodging properties compared to Fiscal 2020.
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 6.8%. Labor and labor related benefits decreased 10.9% 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 10.4% 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.
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 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 are presented by category as follows (in thousands):
| || || || ||Percentage|
| ||Year ended July 31,||Increase/(Decrease)|
|Total Real Estate net revenue||$||708 ||$||1,770 ||$||4,847 ||(60.0)||%||(63.5)||%|
|Real Estate operating expense:|
|Cost of sales (including sales commissions)||251 ||1,294 ||3,932 ||(80.6)||%||(67.1)||%|
|Other||5,660 ||5,382 ||5,250 ||5.2 ||%||2.5 ||%|
|Total Real Estate operating expense||5,911 ||6,676 ||9,182 ||(11.5)||%||(27.3)||%|
|Gain on sale of real property||1,276 ||324 ||207 ||293.8 ||%||56.5 ||%|
|Real Estate Reported EBITDA||$||(3,927)||$||(4,582)||$||(4,128)||14.3 ||%||(11.0)||%|
We did not close on any significant real estate transactions during Fiscal 2022. Other operating expense of $5.7 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits, professional services and allocated corporate overhead costs.
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 $5.3 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits, professional services and allocated corporate overhead costs.
In addition to segment operating results, the following items contributed to our overall financial position and results of operations (in thousands).
|Year ended July 31,||Percentage Increase/(Decrease)|
|Asset impairments||$||— ||$||— ||$||(28,372)||nm||(100.0)||%|
|Change in estimated fair value of contingent consideration||$||(20,280)||$||(14,402)||$||2,964 ||(40.8)||%||(585.9)||%|
|Gain (loss) on disposal of fixed assets and other, net||$||43,992 ||$||(5,373)||$||838 ||918.8 ||%||(741.2)||%|
|Interest expense, net ||$||(148,183)||$||(151,399)||$||(106,721)||2.1 ||%||(41.9)||%|
|Foreign currency (loss) gain on intercompany loans||$||(2,682)||$||8,282 ||$||(3,230)||(132.4)||%||356.4 ||%|
|Provision for income taxes||$||(88,824)||$||(726)||$||(7,378)||(12,134.7)||%||90.2 ||%|
|Effective tax rate||(19.4)||%||(0.6)||%||(6.3)||%||18.8 pts||(5.7 pts)|
|Net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interest||$||(20,414)||$||3,393 ||$||(10,222)||(701.7)||%||133.2 ||%|
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 estimated fair value of contingent consideration. We recorded losses of $20.3 million and $14.4 million during Fiscal 2022 and Fiscal 2021, respectively, primarily related to an increase in the estimated contingent consideration payment for each respective 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 at that time. 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 $42.4 million and $29.6 million as of July 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Gain (loss) on disposal of fixed assets and other, net. Gain on disposal of fixed assets and other, net for Fiscal 2022 included (i) $32.2 million from the sale of the DoubleTree at Breckenridge hotel; (ii) $10.3 million in proceeds from the NPS related to partial payments for a leasehold surrender interest at GTLC associated with assets that have been fully depreciated by the Company (payments were made at the request of the NPS); and (iii) $7.9 million from the sale of an administrative building in Avon, CO. These gains were partially offset by losses on other annual disposals of fixed assets.
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.
Foreign currency (loss) gain on intercompany loans. Foreign currency (loss) gain on intercompany loans for Fiscal 2022 decreased as compared to Fiscal 2021 and increased for Fiscal 2021 as compared to Fiscal 2020, both 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 $97.2 million as of July 31, 2022, requires foreign currency remeasurement to Canadian dollars, the functional currency for Whistler Blackcomb. As a result, foreign currency fluctuations associated with the loan are recorded within our results of operations.
Provision for income taxes. The effective tax rate was 19.4%, 0.6% and 6.3% in Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020, respectively. The increase in the effective tax rate during Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021 was primarily due to an increase in full fiscal year pre-tax book income, which lessens the tax rate impact from favorable permanent items and favorable discrete items, as well as a shift in income to higher tax rate jurisdictions. The decrease in the effective tax rate provision during Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020 was primarily driven by an increase in excess tax benefits from employee share awards that were exercised (stock appreciation rights) and that vested (restricted stock awards).
Net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interest. Net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interest is primarily associated with the income or loss attributable to the minority shareholder of Whistler Blackcomb, and accordingly, fluctuations are primarily associated with changes in income or loss from Whistler Blackcomb operations.
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures
The following table reconciles net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. to Total Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 (in thousands):
| ||Year ended July 31,|
|Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.||$||347,923 ||$||127,850 ||$||98,833 |
|Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests||20,414 ||(3,393)||10,222 |
|Net income||368,337 ||124,457 ||109,055 |
|Provision for income taxes||88,824 ||726 ||7,378 |
|Income before provision for income taxes||457,161 ||125,183 ||116,433 |
|Depreciation and amortization||252,391 ||252,585 ||249,572 |
|Asset impairments||— ||— ||28,372 |
|(Gain) loss on disposal of fixed assets and other, net||(43,992)||5,373 ||(838)|
|Change in estimated fair value of contingent consideration||20,280 ||14,402 ||(2,964)|
|Investment income and other, net||(3,718)||(586)||(1,305)|
|Foreign currency loss (gain) on intercompany loans||2,682 ||(8,282)||3,230 |
|Interest expense, net||148,183 ||151,399 ||106,721 |
|Total Reported EBITDA||$||832,987 ||$||540,074 ||$||499,221 |
|Mountain Reported EBITDA||$||811,167 ||$||552,753 ||$||503,440 |
|Lodging Reported EBITDA||25,747 ||(8,097)||(91)|
|Resort Reported EBITDA||836,914 ||544,656 ||503,349 |
|Real Estate Reported EBITDA||(3,927)||(4,582)||(4,128)|
|Total Reported EBITDA||$||832,987 ||$||540,074 ||$||499,221 |
(1) Segment results for Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 have been retrospectively adjusted to reflect current period presentation. See Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information.
The following table reconciles long-term debt, net to Net Debt (defined as long-term debt, net plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents) (in thousands):
| ||Year ended July 31,|
|Long-term debt, net||$||2,670,300 ||$||2,736,175 |
|Long-term debt due within one year||63,749 ||114,117 |
|Total debt||2,734,049 ||2,850,292 |
|Less: cash and cash equivalents||1,107,427 ||1,243,962 |
|Net Debt||$||1,626,622 ||$||1,606,330 |
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Changes in significant sources and uses of cash for Fiscal 2022, Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020 are presented by categories as follows (in thousands):
|Year ended July 31,|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||$||710,499 ||$||525,250 ||$||394,950 |
|Net cash used in investing activities||$||(347,917)||$||(103,329)||$||(492,739)|
|Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities||$||(493,136)||$||434,662 ||$||376,233 |
Historically, we have lower cash available at the end of each first and fourth fiscal quarter-end as compared to our second and third fiscal quarter-ends, primarily due to the seasonality of our Mountain segment operations, although our available cash balances as of July 31, 2022 and 2021 were higher than our historical July 31 balance primarily as a result of the debt offerings we completed in Fiscal 2021 and Fiscal 2020.
Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021
We generated $710.5 million of cash from operating activities during Fiscal 2022, an increase of $185.2 million when compared to $525.3 million of cash generated during Fiscal 2021. The increase in operating cash flows was primarily a result of increased Mountain and Lodging segment operating results during Fiscal 2022 compared to the prior year, including an increase in pass product sales and associated accounts receivable collections, net of refunds, during Fiscal 2022 compared to the prior year, which was impacted by the credits offered to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders who purchased 2020/2021 pass products. These increases were partially offset by (i) a decrease in cash flows from accounts payable and accrued liabilities, primarily associated with the lower level of operations as of the beginning of Fiscal 2021 resulting from COVID-19 and (ii) an increase in inventory purchases during Fiscal 2022 compared to the prior year.
Cash used in investing activities for Fiscal 2022 increased by $244.6 million primarily due to (i) cash payments of $116.3 million, net of cash acquired of $0.2 million, related to the acquisition of the Seven Springs Resorts during Fiscal 2022; (ii) a cash deposit of $114.4 million made in July 2022 related to the acquisition of Andermatt-Sedrun, which closed on August 3, 2022; and (iii) an increase in capital expenditures of $77.7 million as a result of the deferral of discretionary capital projects in the prior year related to our decision to prioritize near-term liquidity due to the effects of COVID-19. These increases were partially offset by proceeds of $40.5 million from the sale of the DoubleTree at Breckenridge during Fiscal 2022, as well as proceeds of $10.3 million from the NPS related to partial payments for leasehold surrender interest at GTLC associated with assets that have been fully depreciated and the sale of an administrative building in Avon, CO for $11.3 million.
Cash (used in) provided by financing activities decreased by $927.8 million during Fiscal 2022 compared to Fiscal 2021, primarily due to (i) prior year proceeds of $575.0 million from the issuance of our 0.0% Convertible Notes during Fiscal 2021; (ii) an increase in dividends paid of $225.8 million; (iii) an increase in repurchases of common stock of $75.0 million; (iv) a $51.5 million repayment of debt associated with the maturity of the EB-5 Development Notes (as defined in Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements); and (v) an increase in net payments under the revolver component of our Whistler Credit Agreement of $14.8 million. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in financing costs primarily associated with the issuance of the 0.0% Convertible Notes in the prior year.
Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020
We generated $525.3 million of cash from operating activities during Fiscal 2021, an increase of $130.3 million when compared to $395.0 million of cash generated during Fiscal 2020. The increase in operating cash flows was primarily a result of (i) an increase in accounts payable and accrued liabilities (excluding accounts payable and accrued liabilities assumed through acquisitions) primarily due to an increase in accrued trade payables, salaries and wages in Fiscal 2021 due to a return to more normal operations, as compared to significantly lower accruals in the prior year due to the early closure of the 2019/2020 North American ski season for our Resorts, lodging properties and retail stores beginning on March 15, 2020; (ii) an increase in pass product sales and collections as compared to Fiscal 2020, primarily as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, including the extended pass product sales deadline in the prior year and the impact of credits offered to 2019/2020 North American pass product holders who purchased 2020/2021 pass products; and (iii) a decrease in inventories (excluding inventories assumed through acquisitions) as of July 31, 2021 as compared to the beginning of the fiscal year relative to an increase in the prior year period. These increases were partially offset by an increase in cash interest payments of $37.3 million in Fiscal 2021 as compared to the prior year, primarily due to incremental cash interest payments on the 6.25% Notes issued in May 2020, for which the first interest payments were made during Fiscal 2021.
Cash used in investing activities for Fiscal 2021 decreased by $389.4 million, primarily due to cash payments of $327.6 million, net of cash acquired, related to the acquisition of Peak Resorts during Fiscal 2020. Additionally, capital expenditures decreased by $57.2 million primarily as a result of the deferral of a significant amount of discretionary capital projects related to our decision during the outbreak of COVID-19 to prioritize near-term liquidity.
Cash provided by financing activities increased by $58.4 million during Fiscal 2021 compared to Fiscal 2020, primarily due to (i) proceeds of $575.0 million from the issuance of our 0.0% Convertible Notes during Fiscal 2021; (ii) a decrease in dividends paid of $212.7 million; (iii) a decrease in net payments of $208.0 million under the revolver component of our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement; and (iv) a decrease in repurchases of common stock of $46.4 million. These increases in cash provided by financing activities were partially offset by (i) proceeds of $600.0 million related to the issuance of our 6.25% Notes during Fiscal 2020; (ii) proceeds of $335.6 million from incremental borrowings under the term loan portion of our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement during Fiscal 2020, which were used to fund the Peak Resorts acquisition; (iii) an increase in net payments under the revolver component of our Whistler Credit Agreement of $23.5 million; and (iv) an increase in employee taxes paid for equity award exercises of $19.6 million.
Significant Sources of Cash
We had $1,107.4 million of cash and cash equivalents as of July 31, 2022, compared to $1,244.0 million as of July 31, 2021. Although we cannot predict the future impact associated with the COVID-19 pandemic or other economic factors on our business, we currently anticipate that our Mountain and Lodging segment operating results will continue to provide a significant source of future operating cash flows.
In addition to our $1,107.4 million of cash and cash equivalents at July 31, 2022, we had $417.4 million available under the revolver component of our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement as of July 31, 2022 (which represents the total commitment of $500.0 million less certain letters of credit outstanding of $82.6 million). Also, to further support the liquidity needs of Whistler Blackcomb, we had C$281.6 million ($220.0 million) available under the revolver component of our Whistler Credit Agreement (which represents the total commitment of C$300.0 million ($234.3 million) less outstanding borrowings of C$15.0 million ($11.6 million) and letters of credit outstanding of C$3.4 million ($2.6 million)). We expect that our liquidity needs in the near term will be met by continued use of our existing cash and cash equivalents, operating cash flows and borrowings under both the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and Whistler Credit Agreement, if needed. On August 31, 2022, we entered into an amendment of the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, to extend the maturity date by two years to September 2026. Additionally, in connection with the amendment the reference rate changed from LIBOR to the secured overnight financing rate (“SOFR”) given the anticipated sunset of LIBOR in June of 2023. SOFR is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash in the overnight U.S. Treasury repo market and is administered by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. There were no other material changes in terms. The Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and the Whistler Credit Agreement provide adequate flexibility and are priced favorably with any new borrowings currently priced at SOFR, plus a spread of 0.1%, plus 1.25% for the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, and Bankers Acceptance Rate plus 1.75% for the Whistler Credit Agreement.
Significant Uses of Cash
We have historically invested significant amounts of cash in capital expenditures for our resort operations, and we expect to continue to do so, subject to operating performance particularly as it relates to discretionary projects. In addition, we may incur capital expenditures for retained ownership interests associated with third-party real estate development projects. Currently planned capital expenditures primarily include investments that will allow us to maintain our high-quality standards, as well as certain incremental discretionary improvements at our Resorts, throughout our owned hotels and in technology that can impact the full network. We evaluate additional discretionary capital improvements based on an expected level of return on investment.
We currently anticipate we will spend approximately $323 million to $333 million on resort capital expenditures during calendar year 2022. This plan includes the installation of 18 new or replacement lifts across 12 of our resorts, which will meaningfully increase lift capacity at those lift locations. The capital plan includes approximately $9 million for the addition of annual capital expenditures associated with the recently acquired Seven Springs Resorts, approximately $4 million related to the addition of Andermatt-Sedrun and approximately $20 million of incremental spending to complete the one-time capital plans associated with the Peak Resorts and Triple Peaks acquisitions. Also included in these estimated capital expenditures are approximately $105 million to $115 million of maintenance capital expenditures, which are necessary to maintain appearance and level of service appropriate to our resort operations. We currently plan to utilize cash on hand, borrowings available under our credit agreements and/or cash flow generated from future operations to provide the cash necessary to complete our capital plans.
Approximately $87 million was spent for capital expenditures in calendar year 2022 as of July 31, 2022, leaving approximately $236 million to $246 million to spend in the remainder of calendar year 2022.
On December 31, 2021, we acquired the assets of the Seven Springs Resorts for a purchase price of approximately $116.5 million, after adjustments for certain agreed-upon terms, which was funded with cash on hand.
On August 3, 2022, we acquired a majority stake in Andermatt-Sedrun Sport AG, for a purchase price of CHF 149.3 million ($155.7 million), which was funded with cash on hand. During Fiscal 2022, we made a cash deposit of CHF 110.0 million ($114.4 million) to escrow as a required prepayment in connection with the acquisition, and the remaining CHF 39.3 million ($41.3 million) was paid subsequent to July 31, 2022. As of August 3, 2022, the value of the total consideration paid to the seller was $155.4 million.
As of July 31, 2022, principal payments on the majority of our long-term debt ($2.7 billion of the total $2.8 billion debt outstanding as of July 31, 2022) are not due until fiscal year 2025 and beyond. As of July 31, 2022 and 2021, total long-term debt, net (including long-term debt due within one year) was $2.7 billion and $2.9 billion, respectively. Net Debt (defined as long-term debt, net plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents) was $1.6 billion as of both July 31, 2022 and 2021.
As of July 31, 2022, the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement provides for (i) a revolving loan facility in an aggregate principal amount of $500.0 million and (ii) a term loan facility of $1.1 billion. We expect that our liquidity needs in the near term will be met by continued use of our existing cash and cash equivalents, operating cash flows and borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement and the Whistler Credit Agreement, if needed.
Our debt service requirements can be impacted by changing interest rates as we had approximately $0.7 billion of net variable-rate debt outstanding as of July 31, 2022, after consideration of $400.0 million in interest rate swaps which convert variable-rate debt to fixed-rate debt. A 100-basis point change in LIBOR (or its successor, SOFR) would cause our annual interest payments on our net variable-rate debt to change by approximately $7.4 million. Additionally, the annual payments associated with the financing of the Canyons transaction increase by the greater of CPI less 1%, or 2%. The fluctuation in our debt service requirements, in addition to interest rate and inflation changes, may be impacted by future borrowings under our credit agreements or other alternative financing arrangements we may enter into. Our long term liquidity needs depend upon operating results that impact the borrowing capacity under our credit agreements, which can be mitigated by adjustments to capital expenditures, the flexibility of investment activities and the ability to obtain favorable future financing. We can respond to liquidity impacts of changes in the business and economic environment, by managing our capital expenditures, variable operating expenses, the timing of new real estate development activity and the payment of cash dividends on our common stock.
Material Cash Requirements
As part of our ongoing operations, we enter into arrangements that obligate us to make future payments under contracts such as debt agreements and construction agreements in conjunction with our resort capital expenditures. Debt obligations, which totaled $2.8 billion as of July 31, 2022, are recognized as liabilities in our Consolidated Balance Sheet. Obligations under construction contracts and other purchase commitments are not recognized as liabilities in our Consolidated Balance Sheet until services and/or goods are received which is in accordance with GAAP. A summary of our material cash requirements as of July 31, 2022 (excluding obligations presented elsewhere, including Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements) is presented below (in thousands):
| ||Payments Due by Period|
Long-term debt (1)
|$||3,164,858 ||152,598 ||1,748,777 ||630,925 ||632,558 |
|Service contracts||$||26,507 ||24,800 ||1,288 ||419 ||— |
Purchase obligations and other (2)
|$||698,358 ||597,847 ||77,411 ||— ||23,100 |
|Total contractual cash obligations||$||3,889,723 ||$||775,245 ||$||1,827,476 ||$||631,344 ||$||655,658 |
(1) Long-term debt includes principal payments, fixed-rate interest payments (including payments that are required under interest rate swaps) and estimated variable interest payments utilizing interest rates in effect at July 31, 2022, and assumes all debt outstanding as of July 31, 2022 will be held to maturity. The future annual interest obligations noted herein are estimated only in relation to debt outstanding as of July 31, 2022, and do not reflect interest obligations on potential future debt or refinancing (including the impact of the Fifth Amendment, which we entered into in August 2022 and which extended the maturity date of our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement by two years to September 2026 (see Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information)).
Long-term debt also includes $12.8 million of proceeds resulting from real estate transactions accounted for as a financing arrangements. Fiscal 2023 payments shown above include approximately $6.2 million of proceeds, which are expected to be recognized on the Company’s Statement of Operations during Fiscal 2023 as a result of the anticipated resolution of continuing involvement, with no associated cash outflow (see Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information).
(2) Purchase obligations and other primarily includes amounts which are classified as trade payables ($149.8 million), accrued payroll and benefits ($109.8 million), accrued fees and assessments ($25.7 million), contingent consideration liability ($42.4 million) and accrued taxes (including taxes for uncertain tax positions) ($87.5 million) on our Consolidated Balance Sheet as of July 31, 2022. These amounts also include other commitments for goods and services not yet received, including construction contracts and minimum commitments under season pass alliance agreements, which are not included on our Consolidated Balance Sheet as of July 31, 2022 in accordance with GAAP. Purchase obligations and other does not include any amounts associated with the acquisition of Andermatt-Sedrun, which was acquired on August 3, 2022.
Share Repurchase Program
Our share repurchase program is conducted under authorizations made from time to time by our Board of Directors. On March 6, 2006, our Board of Directors initially authorized the repurchase of up to 3,000,000 shares of Vail Shares and later authorized additional repurchases of up to 3,000,000 additional Vail Shares (July 16, 2008) and 1,500,000 Vail Shares (December 4, 2015), for a total authorization to repurchase shares of up to 7,500,000 Vail Shares. During Fiscal 2022, we repurchased 304,567 shares of common stock at an average price of $246.27 for a total cost of $75.0 million. Since the inception of this stock repurchase program through July 31, 2022, we have repurchased 6,465,708 Vail Shares at a cost of approximately $479.4 million. As of July 31, 2022, 1,034,292 Vail Shares remained available to repurchase under the existing repurchase authorization. Vail Shares purchased pursuant to the repurchase program will be held as treasury shares and may be used for the issuance of shares under our share award plan. Repurchases under the program 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. The share repurchase program has no expiration date.
During Fiscal 2022, we paid cash dividends of $5.58 per share ($225.8 million, including cash dividends paid to Exchangeco shareholders). We did not pay cash dividends during Fiscal 2021. On September 22, 2022, our Board of Directors approved a cash dividend of $1.91 per share payable on October 24, 2022 to stockholders of record as of October 5, 2022. We expect to fund the dividend with available cash on hand. 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.
Covenants and Limitations
We must abide by certain restrictive financial covenants under our credit agreements. The most restrictive of those covenants include the following: for the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio, Secured Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio and the Interest Coverage ratio (each as defined in the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement); for the Whistler Credit Agreement, Consolidated Total Leverage Ratio and Consolidated Interest Coverage Ratio (each as defined in the Whistler Credit Agreement); and for the EPR Secured Notes, Maximum Leverage Ratio and Consolidated Fixed Charge Ratio (each as defined in the EPR Agreements). In addition, our financing arrangements limit our ability to make certain restricted payments, pay dividends on or redeem or repurchase stock, make certain investments, make certain affiliate transfers and may limit our ability to enter into certain mergers, consolidations or sales of assets and incur certain indebtedness. Our borrowing availability under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement is primarily determined by the Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio, which is based on our segment operating performance, as defined in the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement. Our borrowing availability under the Whistler Credit Agreement is primarily determined based on the commitment size of the credit facility and our compliance with the terms of the Whistler Credit Agreement.
We were in compliance with all restrictive financial covenants in our debt instruments as of July 31, 2022. We expect that we will continue to meet all applicable financial maintenance covenants in effect in our credit agreements throughout the year ending July 31, 2023; however, there can be no assurance that we will continue to meet such financial covenants. If such covenants are not met, we would be required to seek a waiver or amendment from the banks participating in our credit agreements. There can be no assurance that such waiver or amendment would be granted, which could have a material adverse impact on our liquidity.
Off Balance Sheet Arrangements
We do not have off balance sheet transactions that are expected to have a material effect on our financial condition, revenue, expenses, results of operations, liquidity, capital expenditures or capital resources.
Critical Accounting Policies
The preparation of Consolidated Financial Statements in conformity with GAAP requires us to select appropriate accounting policies and to make judgments and estimates affecting the application of those accounting policies. In applying our accounting policies, different business conditions or the use of different assumptions may result in materially different amounts reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements.
We have identified the most critical accounting policies which were determined by considering accounting policies that involve the most complex or subjective decisions or assessments. We also have other policies considered key accounting policies; however, these policies do not meet the definition of critical accounting policies because they do not generally require us to make estimates or judgments that are complex or subjective. We have reviewed these critical accounting policies and related disclosures with our Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
Goodwill and Intangible Assets
The carrying value of goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are evaluated for possible impairment on an annual basis or between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the estimated fair value of a reporting unit or indefinite-lived intangible asset below its carrying value. Other intangible assets are evaluated for impairment only when there is evidence that events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of these assets may not be recoverable.
Judgments and Uncertainties
Application of the goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment test requires judgment, including the identification of reporting units, assignment of assets and liabilities to reporting units, assignment of goodwill to reporting units and determination of the estimated fair value of reporting units and indefinite-lived intangible assets. We perform a qualitative analysis to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit or indefinite-lived intangible asset exceeds the carrying amount. If it is determined, based on qualitative factors, that the fair value of the reporting unit or indefinite-lived intangible asset may be more likely than not less than carrying amount, or if significant changes to macro-economic factors related to the reporting unit or intangible asset have occurred that could materially impact fair value since the previous quantitative analysis was performed, a quantitative impairment test would be required, in which we would determine the estimated fair value of our reporting units using a discounted cash flow analysis and determine the estimated fair value of indefinite-lived intangible assets primarily using the income approach based upon estimated future revenue streams. These analyses require significant judgments, including estimation of future cash flows, which is dependent on internal forecasts, available industry/market data (to the extent available), estimation of the long-term rate of growth for our business including expectations and assumptions regarding the impact of general economic conditions on our business, estimation of the useful life over which cash flows will occur (including terminal multiples), determination of the respective weighted average cost of capital and market participant assumptions. Changes in these estimates and assumptions could materially affect the determination of estimated fair value and impairment for each reporting unit or indefinite-lived intangible asset.
Effect if Actual Results Differ From Assumptions
Goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are tested for impairment at least annually as of May 1. Our testing for goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment consists of a comparison of the estimated fair value of those assets with their net carrying values. If the net carrying value of the assets exceed their estimated fair value, an impairment will be recognized for indefinite-lived intangible assets, including goodwill, in an amount equal to that excess; otherwise, no impairment loss is recognized. During Fiscal 2022, we primarily performed qualitative analyses of our reporting units and indefinite-lived intangible assets and determined that the estimated fair value of all material reporting units and indefinite-lived intangible assets significantly exceeded their respective carrying values.
Fair value determinations require considerable judgment and are sensitive to changes in underlying assumptions and factors. As a result, there can be no assurance that the estimates and assumptions made for purposes of the annual goodwill impairment test will prove to be an accurate prediction of the future. Examples of events or circumstances that could reasonably be expected to negatively affect the underlying key assumptions and ultimately impact the estimated fair value of our reporting units may include such items as: (1) prolonged adverse weather conditions resulting in a sustained decline in guest visitation; (2) a prolonged weakness in the general economic conditions in which guest visitation and spending is adversely impacted (particularly with regard to COVID-19 or other potential future pandemics); and (3) volatility in the equity and debt markets which could result in a higher discount rate.
While historical performance and current expectations have generally resulted in estimated fair values of our reporting units in excess of carrying values, if our assumptions are not realized, it is possible that an impairment charge may need to be recorded in the future. However, it is not possible at this time to determine if an impairment charge would result or if such a charge would be material. As of July 31, 2022, we had $1,754.9 million of goodwill and $254.2 million of indefinite-lived intangible assets recorded on our Consolidated Balance Sheet. There can be no assurance that the estimates and assumptions made for purposes of the annual goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment tests will prove to be an accurate prediction of the future.
We must make certain estimates and judgments in determining income tax expense for financial statement purposes. These estimates and judgments occur in the calculation of tax credits and deductions and in the calculation of certain tax assets and liabilities, which arise from differences in the timing of recognition of revenue and expense for tax and financial statement purposes, as well as the interest and penalties relating to uncertain tax positions. The calculation of our tax liabilities involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax regulations. We recognize liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on a two-step process. The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any. The second step requires us to estimate and measure the largest tax benefit that is cumulatively greater than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement. It is inherently difficult and subjective to estimate such amounts, as this requires us to determine the probability of various possible outcomes. This evaluation is based on factors including, but not limited to, changes in facts or circumstances, changes in tax law, interpretation of tax law, effectively settled issues under audit and new audit activity. A significant amount of time may pass before a particular matter, for which we may have established a reserve, is audited and fully resolved.
Judgments and Uncertainties
The estimates of our tax contingencies reserve contain uncertainty because management must use judgment to estimate the potential exposure associated with our various filing positions.
Effect if Actual Results Differ From Assumptions
We believe the estimates and judgments discussed herein are reasonable and we have adequate reserves for our tax contingencies for uncertain tax positions. Our reserves for uncertain tax positions, including any income tax related interest and penalties, are $68.8 million as of July 31, 2022. This reserve relates to the treatment of the Canyons lease payments obligation as payments of debt obligations and that the tax basis in Canyons goodwill is deductible. Actual results could differ and we may be exposed to increases or decreases in those reserves and tax provisions that could be material.
An unfavorable tax settlement could require the use of cash and could possibly result in increased tax expense and effective tax rate and/or adjustments to our deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities in the year of resolution. A favorable tax settlement could possibly result in a reduction in our tax expense, effective tax rate, income taxes payable, other long-term liabilities and/or adjustments to our deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities in the year of settlement or in future years.
Depreciable Lives of Assets
Mountain and lodging operational assets, furniture and fixtures, computer equipment, software, vehicles and leasehold improvements are primarily depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset. Assets may become obsolete or require replacement before the end of their useful life in which the remaining book value would be written-off or we could incur costs to remove or dispose of assets no longer in use.
Judgments and Uncertainties
The estimates of our useful lives of the assets contain uncertainty because management must use judgment to estimate the useful life of the asset.
Effect if Actual Results Differ From Assumptions
Although we believe the estimates and judgments discussed herein are reasonable, actual results could differ, and we may be exposed to increased expense related to depreciable assets disposed of, removed or taken out of service prior to its originally estimated useful life, which may be material. A 10% decrease in the estimated useful lives of depreciable assets would have increased depreciation expense by approximately $24.0 million for Fiscal 2022.