Whistler Blackcomb records 1.1 million skier visits so far, a record high

WHISTLER, B.C. – The Whistler Blackcomb resort is having a strong ski season so far and is on track to have a record number of visits, according to its parent company’s latest financial report.

Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. (TSX:WB) says it has been getting more visits from skiers within the region and beyond, as well as strong spending on its related businesses.

In the three months that ended Dec. 31, it recorded 502,000 skier visits – up 23.3 per cent from the comparable quarter of 2014. By Feb. 8, in the midst of the company’s second quarter, it had recorded 1.09 million skier visits.

Effective total prices in the company’s fiscal first quarter were up marginally at $56.70, compared with $56.48 a year before. Revenue per total visit was down marginally at $122.59, compared with $123.90.

Total revenue during the October-December quarter increased 22.1 per cent to $66.7 million from $54.64 million.

The holding company – which has a 75 per cent interest in the four-season resort complex east of Vancouver – also improved its profit dramatically and identified several growth projects in addition to its regular maintenance spending.

It had net income of $1.2 million – which compared with a loss of $4.6 million a year earlier. Its benchmark measure of profit improved to $17.24 million of adjusted earnings before certain items, up from $10.25 million.

“Since December 31, 2015, our strong visitation momentum has continued and I am pleased to report that we have welcomed the highest total visits in our history for the year to date period,” Whistler Blackcomb president and CEO Dave Brownlie said in a statement.

“Looking ahead, we are positioned well for the remainder of the ski season as both season pass and frequency card sales and hotel room bookings are pacing ahead of the same time last year.”

He said the company is planning to spend $8 million on growth projects including upgrades and expansion of two restaurants, to ski and snowboard teaching area as well as infrastructure on Whistler Mountain.

It’s also adding summer hiking trails and building a new glacier-view sightseeing deck connected to the Roundhouse Lodge on Whistler Mountain.