Vail Resorts Cancel All Lift Construction For Next Season

2nd April 2020

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Vail Resorts have announced it is cancelling plans to build a host of new lifts at several of its resorts for next winter.

The world’s biggest ski resort operating company had announced more than $200 million of capital expenditure ahead of 20-21 but says it expects to lose between $180 and 200 million in March and April alone because of the coronavirus lockdown.

Projects put on ice include a planned major expansion into McCoy Park at Beaver Creek and Okemo was to get a new six seat chairlift at Jackson Gore.  Both Breckenridge and Keystone planned new chairlifts to increase uphill capacity in high traffic areas.

Eliminating lift construction, terrain expansions and discretionary base area improvements will save the company $80 to 85 million, but they say the vast majority of ‘maintenance’ type capital projects to proceed.

“The circumstances surrounding COVID-19 are unprecedented and the financial impact to our Company and the broader travel industry has been significant,” noted Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts.  “We are taking proactive steps to align our capital spending and return of capital approach to ensure that we remain positioned for long-term success.”

Other steps revealed today include the furlough of nearly all year-round hourly employees, suspension of the company’s shareholder dividend, salary reductions for non-hourly employees and elimination of cash compensation for the CEO and board of directors.

The cancellations are expected to in turn impact lift construction companies.

Vail’s rivals the Alterra Group have not yet announced any changes to their similar $200m+ summer 2020 spending plans.