Vail Resorts, Inc. was organized as a public holding company in 1997 and operates through various subsidiaries (collectively, the “Company”). The Company's operations are grouped into three business segments: Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate, which represented approximately 63%, 18% and 19%, respectively, of the Company's net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2009 (“Fiscal 2009”). The Company's Mountain segment owns and operates five world-class ski resort properties as well as ancillary businesses, primarily including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations, which provide a comprehensive resort experience to a diverse clientele with an attractive demographic profile. The Company's Lodging segment owns and/or manages a collection of luxury hotels under its RockResorts brand, as well as other strategic lodging properties and a large number of condominiums located in proximity to the Company's ski resorts, the Grand Teton Lodge Company (“GTLC”), which operates three destination resorts at Grand Teton National Park (the “Park”), Colorado Mountain Express (“CME”), a resort ground transportation company, and golf courses. Collectively, the Mountain and Lodging segments are considered the Resort segment. The Company's Real Estate segment owns and develops real estate in and around the Company's resort communities.
The Company's portfolio of world-class ski resorts currently includes:
·Vail Mountain (“Vail Mountain”) – the single most visited ski resort in the United States for the 2008/2009 ski season and the single largest ski mountain in the United States. Vail offers some of the most expansive and varied terrain with approximately 5,300 skiable acres including seven world renowned back bowls and the rustic Blue Sky Basin area of the resort.
·Breckenridge Ski Resort (“Breckenridge”) – the second most visited ski resort in the United States for the 2008/2009 ski season and host of the highest chairlift in North America, the Imperial Express Super Chair, reaching 12,840 feet and offering above tree line expert terrain. Breckenridge is well known for its historic town, vibrant night-life and progressive and award-winning pipes and parks.
·Keystone Resort (“Keystone”) – the fourth most visited ski resort in the United States for the 2008/2009 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.
·Beaver Creek Resort (“Beaver Creek”) – the seventh most visited ski resort in the United States for the 2008/2009 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.
·Heavenly Mountain Resort (“Heavenly”) – the ninth most visited ski resort in the United States for the 2008/2009 ski season and the second largest ski resort in the United States with over 4,800 skiable acres. Heavenly straddles the border of California and Nevada and offers unique and spectacular views of Lake Tahoe. Heavenly boasts the largest snowmaking capacity in the Lake Tahoe region and offers great night life including its proximity to several casinos.
Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, all located in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, and Heavenly, located in the Lake Tahoe area of California/Nevada, are year-round mountain resorts. Each offers a full complement of recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, sight-seeing, mountain biking, guided hiking, children’s activities and other recreational activities.
The Company's Mountain segment derives revenue through the sale of lift tickets and season passes 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 recreational activities. In addition to providing extensive guest amenities, the Company also engages in, among other activities, the leasing out of the Company’s owned commercial space around its base resorts for restaurants and retail stores.
The Company's Lodging segment includes the following operations:
·RockResorts -- a luxury hotel management company with a current portfolio of eight properties, including four Company-owned and four managed third-party owned resort hotels with locations in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and St. Lucia, West Indies as well as six properties currently under development that the Company will manage;
·Six additional independently flagged Company-owned hotels, management of the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa (“Vail Marriott”), Mountain Thunder Lodge, Crystal Peak Lodge and Austria Haus Hotel and condominium management operations, all of which are in and around the Company's Colorado ski resorts;
·GTLC -- a summer destination resort with three resort properties in the Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club (“JHG&TC”) near Jackson, Wyoming;
·CME -- a resort ground transportation company; and
·Five Company-owned resort golf courses in Colorado and one in Wyoming.
The Lodging segment currently includes approximately 3,900 owned and managed hotel and condominium rooms.
Real Estate Segment
The Company has extensive holdings of real property at its resorts throughout Summit and Eagle Counties in Colorado. The Company's real estate operations, through Vail Resorts Development Company (“VRDC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, include the planning, oversight, infrastructure improvement, development, marketing and sale of the Company's real property holdings. In addition to the cash flow generated from real estate development sales, these development activities benefit the Company's Mountain and Lodging segments through (i) the creation of additional resort lodging and other resort related facilities and venues (primarily restaurants, spas, commercial space, private mountain clubs, skier services facilities and parking structures) which provide the Company with the opportunity to create new sources of recurring revenue, enhance the guest experience at the resort and expand the destination bed base; (ii) the ability to control the architectural themes of the Company's resorts; and (iii) the expansion of the Company's property management and commercial leasing operations. Additionally, in order to facilitate the sale of real estate development projects, these projects have included the construction of resort assets benefiting the development, such as chairlifts, gondolas, ski trails or golf courses. While these improvements enhance the value of the real estate held for sale (for example, by providing ski-in/ski-out accessibility), they also benefit the Mountain and Lodging segments’ operations.
The Company, through certain operating subsidiaries, currently employs approximately 3,500 year-round employees and during the height of its operating season employs approximately 10,600 seasonal employees. In addition, the Company manages approximately 700 year-round and 160 seasonal employees on behalf of the owners of the managed hotel properties. None of the Company's employees are unionized. The Company considers employee relations to be good.