By Jason Blevins, Denver Post
If the 2011-12 ski season was a test, Vail Resorts passed with top marks.
The largest resort operator in North America on Tuesday illustrated the power of its season pass program by reporting 2011-12 ski season lift ticket revenue that barely moved from last year despite the worst snowfall in 30-plus years. In a season that saw a 50 percent annual decline in snowfall and a 12.6 percent decline in visits, the now seven-resort ski industry leader reported a mere 0.3 percent decline in lift ticket revenue.
The Broomfield-based company’s Colorado resorts – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone – saw an 8.9 percent decline in visitation. Vail’s California resorts – Heavenly and Northstar saw a whopping 24.2 percent decline. (Vail’s most recent acquisition, California’s Kirkwood ski area, was not included in the latest round of ski metrics.)