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MTN > SEC Filings for MTN > Form 10-Q on 7-Dec-2011All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-Q for VAIL RESORTS INC


7-Dec-2011

Quarterly Report


ITEM 2. 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 should be read in conjunction with our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended July 31, 2011 ("Form 10-K") and the Consolidated Condensed Financial Statements as of October 31, 2011 and 2010 and for the three months then ended, included in Part I, Item 1 of this Form 10-Q, which provide additional information regarding our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. To the extent that the following Management's Discussion and Analysis contains statements which are not of a historical nature, such statements are forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties. See "Forward-Looking Statements" below. These risks include, but are not limited to those discussed in this Form 10-Q and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including the risks described in Item 1A "Risk Factors" of Part I of the Form 10-K.

Management's Discussion and Analysis includes discussion of financial performance within each of our segments. We have chosen to specifically include Reported EBITDA (defined as segment net revenue less segment operating expense, plus or minus segment equity investment income or loss) and Net Debt (defined as long-term debt plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents), in the following discussion because we consider these measurements to be significant indications of our financial performance and available capital resources. Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are not measures of financial performance or liquidity under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America ("GAAP"). We utilize Reported EBITDA in evaluating our performance and in allocating resources to our segments. Refer to the end of the Results of Operations section for a reconciliation of Reported EBITDA to net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. 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. Refer to the end of the Results of Operations section for a reconciliation of Net Debt to long-term debt.

Items excluded from Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are significant components in understanding and assessing financial performance or liquidity. Reported EBITDA and Net Debt should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to, or substitute for, net income (loss), net change in cash and cash equivalents or other financial statement data presented in the Consolidated Condensed Financial Statements as indicators of financial performance or liquidity. Because Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are not measurements determined in accordance with GAAP and are thus susceptible to varying calculations, Reported EBITDA and Net Debt as presented may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies.

Overview

Our operations are grouped into three integrated and interdependent segments:
Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate. Resort is the combination of the Mountain and Lodging segments.

Mountain Segment

The Mountain segment is comprised of the operations of six ski resort properties as well as ancillary businesses, primarily including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations. Mountain segment revenue is seasonal in nature, with the majority of revenue earned in our second and third fiscal quarters. Our first fiscal quarter is a seasonally low period as our ski operations are generally not open for business until mid-November, which falls in our second fiscal quarter. Revenue of the Mountain segment during the first fiscal quarter is primarily generated from summer and group related visitation at our mountain resorts, as well as retail operations.

Lodging Segment

Operations within the Lodging segment include (i) ownership/management of a group of luxury hotels through the RockResorts brand, including several proximate to our ski resorts; (ii) ownership/management of non-RockResorts branded hotels and condominiums proximate to our ski resorts; (iii) Grand Teton Lodge Company ("GTLC"); (iv) Colorado Mountain Express ("CME"), a resort ground transportation company; and (v) golf courses.

Revenue of the Lodging segment during our first fiscal quarter is generated primarily by the operations of GTLC (as GTLC's peak operating season occurs during the summer months), as well as golf operations and seasonally low operations from our other owned and managed properties and businesses. Lodging properties (including managed


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condominium rooms) at or around our ski resorts, and CME, are closely aligned with the performance of the Mountain segment and generally experience similar seasonal trends as the Mountain segment. Management primarily focuses on Lodging net revenue excluding payroll cost reimbursement and Lodging operating expense excluding reimbursed payroll costs (which are not measures of financial performance under GAAP) as the reimbursements are made based upon the costs incurred with no added margin, as such the revenue and corresponding expense have no effect on our Lodging Reported EBITDA which we use to evaluate Lodging segment performance.

Real Estate Segment

The Real Estate segment owns and develops real estate in and around our resort communities and primarily engages in vertical development of projects. Currently, the principal activities of our Real Estate segment include the marketing and selling of remaining condominium units that are available for sale, planning for future real estate development projects, including zoning and acquisition of applicable permits, and the purchase of selected strategic land parcels for future development. Revenue from vertical development projects is not recognized until closing of individual units within a project, which occurs after substantial completion of the project. We attempt to mitigate the risk of vertical development by often utilizing guaranteed maximum price construction contracts (although certain construction costs may not be covered by contractual limitations), pre-selling a portion of the project, requiring significant non-refundable deposits, and potentially obtaining non-recourse financing for certain projects (although our last two major vertical development projects have not incurred any such direct third party financing). Additionally, our real estate development projects most often result in the creation of certain resort assets that provide additional benefit to the Mountain and Lodging segments. 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

Together with those risk factors that we have identified in our Form 10-K, our management has identified the following important factors (as well as risks and uncertainties associated with such factors) that could impact our future financial performance or condition:

Although we experienced improved operating results for the year ended July 31, 2011 compared to the years ended July 31, 2010 and 2009 in our Mountain and Lodging segments in part due to increased pricing and increased visitation for the 2010/2011 ski season, as well as an increase in overall guest spend on ancillary services, uncertainties still exist around the current global economic environment. Conditions currently present or recently present in the economic environment including financial instability in the global markets, erosion of consumer confidence stemming from uncertainties in the growth of the U.S. economy and high unemployment could potentially have negative effects on the travel and leisure industry. Given the current uncertainties around global economic trends, we cannot predict what impact this will have on overall travel and leisure or more specifically, on our guest visitation, guest spending or other related trends for the upcoming 2011/2012 ski season. During the most recent recession, our 2008/2009 ski season was impacted by lower visitation, reduced guest spend on ancillary services and closer in booking trends for guest reservations.

The timing and amount of snowfall can have an impact on Mountain and Lodging revenue particularly in regards to skier visits and the duration and frequency of guest visitation. To help mitigate this impact, we sell a variety of season pass products prior to the beginning of the ski season to in-state and local ("In-State") guests and out-of-state and international ("Destination") guests. Additionally, we have invested in snowmaking upgrades in an effort to address the inconsistency of early season snowfall where possible. For the 2010/2011 ski season we experienced significantly above average early season snowfall compared to significantly below average early season snowfall for the previous two ski seasons, which we believe had a positive impact on early season visitation for the 2010/2011 ski season, especially from season passholders. We cannot predict the level of early season snowfall nor can we predict the ultimate impact that early season snowfall will have on our results of operations for the 2011/2012 ski season.

Our season pass products provide a value option to our guests which in turn creates a guest commitment predominately prior to the start of the ski season, resulting in a more stabilized stream of lift revenue for us. For the 2010/2011 ski season pass revenue represented 35% of total lift revenue for the entire ski season. Through December 4, 2011 our season pass sales for the 2011/2012 ski season were up approximately 13% in sales dollars and 5% in units as compared to season pass sales through the similar period of the 2010/2011 ski season. We cannot predict the impact that season pass sales will have on total lift revenue or effective ticket price for the 2011/2012 ski season.


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Real Estate Reported EBITDA is highly dependent on, among other things, the timing of closings on real estate held for sale, which determines when revenue and associated cost of sales is recognized. Changes to the anticipated timing or mix of closing on one or more real estate projects, or unit closings within a real estate project, could materially impact Real Estate Reported EBITDA for a particular quarter or fiscal year. During the three months ended October 31, 2011 we closed on four units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail (with an additional one unit having closed subsequent to October 31, 2011). Additionally, we have closed on two units at One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge during the three months ended October 31, 2011 (with an additional two units having closed subsequent to October 31, 2011). We currently have on a combined basis 84 units available for sale at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail, and One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge. We have increased risk associated with selling and closing units in these projects as a result of the continued instability in the credit markets and a slowdown in the overall real estate market. Buyers have been or may be unable to close on units in part due to a reduction in funds available to buyers and/or decreases in mortgage availability. We cannot predict the ultimate number of units that we will sell, the ultimate price we will receive, or when the units will sell, although we currently believe the selling process will take multiple years. Additionally, if a prolonged weakness in the real estate market or general economic conditions were to occur we may have to adjust our selling prices in an effort to sell and close on units available for sale. However, our risk associated with adjusting selling prices to levels that may not be acceptable to us is partially mitigated by the fact that we generate cash flow from placing unsold units into our rental program until such time selling prices are at acceptable levels to us. Furthermore, if the current weakness in the real estate market were to persist for multiple years thus requiring us to sell remaining units below recent pricing levels (including any sales concessions and discounts) for the remaining inventory of units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail or One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, it may result in an impairment charge on one or both projects.

We had $44.7 million in cash and cash equivalents as of October 31, 2011 as well as $332.7 million available under the revolver component of our senior credit facility ("Credit Agreement") (which represents the total commitment of $400.0 million less certain letters of credit outstanding of $67.3 million). Additionally, we believe our 6.50% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2019 ("6.50% Notes") and our Credit Agreement will allow for sufficient flexibility in our ability to make acquisitions, investments and distributions and incur debt. The above, combined with the substantial completion in calendar 2010 of our real estate projects where the proceeds from future real estate closings on The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail, and One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge are expected to significantly exceed future carrying costs, has and is anticipated to provide us with significant liquidity which will allow us to consider strategic investments, including future acquisitions and other forms of providing return to our shareholders. We cannot predict that any strategic initiatives undertaken will achieve the anticipated results.

Under GAAP we test goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets for impairment annually as well as on an interim basis to the extent factors or indicators become apparent that could reduce the fair value of our goodwill or indefinite-lived intangible assets below book value and we evaluate long-lived assets for potential impairment whenever events or change in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. We evaluate the recoverability of our goodwill by estimating the future discounted cash flows of our reporting units and terminal values of the businesses using projected future levels of income as well as business trends, prospects and market and economic conditions. We evaluate the recoverability of indefinite-lived intangible assets using the income approach based upon estimated future revenue streams, and we evaluate long-lived assets based upon estimated undiscounted future cash flows. Our fiscal 2011 annual impairment test did not result in a goodwill or indefinite-lived intangible asset impairment. However, if a more severe prolonged weakness in general economic conditions were to occur it could cause less than expected growth and/or reduction in terminal values and cash flows and could result in an impairment charge attributable to certain goodwill, indefinite-lived intangible assets and/or long-lived assets (particularly related to our Lodging operations), negatively impacting our results of operations and stockholders' equity.


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RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

Summary

Due to the seasonality of our Resort operations, we normally incur net losses
during the first fiscal quarter, as shown in the summary of operating results
below for the three months ended October 31, 2011, compared to the three months
ended October 31, 2010 (in thousands):



                                                        Three Months Ended
                                                           October 31,
                                                       2011           2010
       Mountain Reported EBITDA                      $ (48,455 )    $ (41,577 )
       Lodging Reported EBITDA                          (1,707 )        1,543

       Resort Reported EBITDA                          (50,162 )      (40,034 )
       Real Estate Reported EBITDA                      (4,738 )        4,198
       Loss before benefit from income taxes           (92,121 )      (71,174 )

       Net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.   $ (55,709 )    $ (43,023 )

A discussion of the segment results and other items can be found below.

Mountain Segment

Three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010

Mountain segment operating results for the three months ended October 31, 2011 and 2010 are presented by category as follows (in thousands):

                                              Three Months Ended          Percentage
                                                 October 31,               Increase
                                             2011           2010          (Decrease)
  Net Mountain revenue:
  Lift tickets                             $      -       $      -                 -  %
  Ski school                                      -              -                 -  %
  Dining                                       5,647          4,106              37.5 %
  Retail/rental                               26,964         22,053              22.3 %
  Other                                       17,059         14,620              16.7 %

  Total Mountain net revenue               $  49,670      $  40,779              21.8 %

  Mountain operating expense:
  Labor and labor-related benefits         $  29,540      $  24,682              19.7 %
  Retail cost of sales                        15,530         12,657              22.7 %
  General and administrative                  26,495         24,189               9.5 %
  Other                                       26,990         21,608              24.9 %

  Total Mountain operating expense         $  98,555      $  83,136              18.5 %

  Mountain equity investment income, net         430            780             (44.9 )%

  Mountain Reported EBITDA                 $ (48,455 )    $ (41,577 )           (16.5 )%

Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $2.6 million and $2.0 million of stock-based compensation expense for the three months ended October 31, 2011 and 2010, respectively.

Our first fiscal quarter historically results in negative Mountain Reported EBITDA, as our ski resorts generally do not open for ski operations until our second fiscal quarter. The first fiscal quarter consists primarily of operating and administrative expense plus summer business and retail operations.

Total Mountain net revenue increased $8.9 million, or 21.8%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010, which increase includes $3.7 million of revenue from Northstar-at-Tahoe, which was acquired on October 25, 2010 in the prior fiscal year. Excluding the impact of Northstar-at-Tahoe, total Mountain net revenue increased $5.2 million, or 12.8%.

Dining revenue increased $1.5 million, or 37.5%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the same period in the prior year, which includes $1.0 million of incremental revenue from Northstar-at-Tahoe. Excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, dining revenues increased $0.5 million, or 13.1%, which is primarily attributable to the addition of two new on-mountain dining venues which also are used for summer and wedding activities combined with an increase in summer visitation related to summer activities.


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Retail/rental revenue increased $4.9 million, or 22.3%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the same period in the prior year which includes $0.5 million of incremental revenue from Northstar-at-Tahoe in the current fiscal year. Excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, retail/rental revenue increased $4.4 million, or 19.8%, which was driven by higher retail sales at our Colorado front range stores and Any Mountain stores (in the San Francisco bay area) and was primarily attributable to strong sales at pre-ski season sales events and improved retail sales at our Vail and Beaver Creek mountain resort stores. Additionally, the retail/rental revenue increase was partly attributable to the acquisition in July 2011 of an on-line retailer which generated $2.1 million in revenue during the three months ended October 31, 2011.

Other revenue mainly consists of private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), summer visitation and other mountain activities revenue, marketing and internet advertising revenue, commercial leasing revenue, employee housing revenue, municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue. For the three months ended October 31, 2011, other revenue increased $2.4 million, or 16.7%, compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010, which includes $2.1 million of incremental revenue from Northstar-at-Tahoe. Excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, other revenue increased $0.3 million, or 2.0%, which benefited from an increase in summer activities revenue of $0.5 million primarily occurring at Breckenridge, which benefited from the addition of an alpine coaster that was placed in service in the second quarter of fiscal 2011, partially offset by a decrease of $0.3 million in municipal services revenue (primarily transportation services provided on behalf of certain municipalities).

Operating expense increased $15.4 million, or 18.5%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010, which includes $10.2 million of incremental operating expense from Northstar-at-Tahoe in the current fiscal quarter. Additionally, operating expense for the three months ended October 31, 2010 included $3.1 million of acquisition related costs (included in general and administrative in the prior year) associated with Northstar-at-Tahoe. Excluding the expenses associated with Northstar-at-Tahoe for both the current and prior year fiscal quarters, operating expense increased $8.3 million, or 10.4%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010. Labor and labor-related benefits increased $2.7 million, or 10.8%, excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, largely due to an increase in staffing levels for retail/rental operations driven by increased sales volume and the addition of new stores (including the acquisition of our online retailer). Additionally, labor and labor-related benefits were impacted by increased volume in dining and summer activities as previously discussed. Retail cost of sales increased $2.0 million, or 15.7%, excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, due to increased volume in retail sales, partially offset by improved gross margins. General and administrative expense, excluding prior year Northstar-at-Tahoe acquisition related costs, increased $3.3 million, or 15.5%, primarily due to higher Mountain segment component of corporate costs which included increased sales and marketing expenditures. Other expense increased $0.4 million, or 1.8%, excluding Northstar-at-Tahoe, primarily due to increased resort related fees (including Forest Service fees, other resort-related fees, credit card fees and commissions), due to overall increases in revenue upon which those fees are based, increased food and beverage cost of sales due to an increase in dining revenue and higher fuel and utilities costs, largely offset by $0.9 million in assessments for extensive renovations incurred in the prior year related to a commercial property in Breckenridge in which we are a tenant.

Mountain equity investment income primarily includes our share of income from the operations of a real estate brokerage joint venture. The decrease in equity investment income for the three months ended October 31, 2011 is primarily due to decreased commissions earned by the brokerage compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010.


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Lodging Segment

Three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010

Lodging segment operating results for the three months ended October 31, 2011 and 2010 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except average daily rates ("ADR") and revenue per available room ("RevPAR")):

                                                      Three months ended            Percentage
                                                          October 31,                Increase
                                                     2011             2010          (Decrease)
Lodging net revenue:
Owned hotel rooms                                  $  12,032        $ 11,753                2.4 %
Managed condominium rooms                              5,546           4,756               16.6 %
Dining                                                 9,557           9,956               (4.0 )%
Transportation                                         1,702           1,754               (3.0 )%
Golf                                                   7,445           6,898                7.9 %
Other                                                  9,577           9,261                3.4 %

                                                      45,859          44,378                3.3 %
Payroll cost reimbursement                             7,735           6,739               14.8 %

Total Lodging net revenue                          $  53,594        $ 51,117                4.8 %

Lodging operating expense:
Labor and labor-related benefits                   $  22,569        $ 21,866                3.2 %
General and administrative                             7,528           7,072                6.4 %
Other                                                 17,469          13,897               25.7 %

                                                      47,566          42,835               11.0 %
Payroll cost reimbursement                             7,735           6,739               14.8 %

Total Lodging operating expense                    $  55,301        $ 49,574               11.6 %

Lodging Reported EBITDA                            $  (1,707 )      $  1,543             (210.6 )%

Owned hotel statistics:
ADR                                                $  188.98        $ 179.52                5.3 %
RevPar                                             $  102.50        $ 107.49               (4.6 )%

Managed condominium statistics:
ADR                                                $  191.20        $ 176.25                8.5 %
RevPar                                             $   29.15        $  33.19              (12.2 )%

Owned hotel and managed condominium statistics
(combined):
ADR                                                $  189.70        $ 178.53                6.3 %
RevPar                                             $   56.30        $  64.25              (12.4 )%

Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $0.6 million of stock-based compensation expense for both the three months ended October 31, 2011 and 2010.

Revenue from owned hotel rooms increased $0.3 million, or 2.4%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010, which was driven primarily by an increase in transient and group revenue at GTLC. GTLC's room revenue was $7.8 million for the three months ended October 31, 2011 resulting in an increase of $0.6 million, or 7.8%, compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010 and was primarily driven by an increase in ADR. Owned hotel room revenue was adversely impacted by a decline in group business at our Keystone resort, resulting in a decrease in group room revenue of $0.3 million. Revenue from managed condominium rooms increased $0.8 million, or 16.6%, for the three months ended October 31, 2011 compared to the three months ended October 31, 2010, and was primarily attributable to the addition of managed condominium rooms in the Lake Tahoe region. Partially offsetting the . . .

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