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Vail Resorts fiscal 3Q profit up 4 percent

June 6, 2012
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BROOMFIELD, Colo.—Vail Resorts Inc. said Wednesday that its fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 4 percent despite a dip in revenue in what it called the most challenging winter in the history of the U.S. ski industry.

Its revenue still beat Wall Street's expectations. The stock rose more than 3 percent in midday trading.

Cumulative snowfall levels for the 2011/2012 ski season were down more than 50 percent across the company's resorts and more than 70 percent at its resorts in Colorado. The lack of snow combined with unseasonably warm weather hurt visitation during the key spring break and Easter vacations periods.

Still, Vail Resorts said it was able to improve mountain revenue through higher per-skier spending, lift ticket prices and strong season pass sales.

The ski resort company reported net income of $79.6 million, or $2.17 per share, for the three months ended April 30 compared with $76.9 million, or $2.08 per share, a year earlier. A write-down on the declining value of certain assets weighed on its year-ago profit.

Revenue fell slightly to $421.1 million from $422.1 million a year ago.

Analysts expected earnings of $2.19 per share on revenue of $416.6 million, according to FactSet.

The company said it is encouraged by its spring season pass sales for the upcoming season. Historically, Vail's spring pass sales period represent one-third of its total.

Its shares rose $1.80, or 4.1 percent, to $45.55 in midday trading. Its shares peaked for the past year at $48.13 in late October. They traded as low as $34.54 in August.

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