Revenues increase for Whistler Blackcomb in first quarter 

Visitor numbers up five per cent over Christmas period

PHOTO BY PAUL MORRISON COURTESY OF WHISTLER BLACKCOMB
  • Photo by Paul Morrison courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb

Revenue for Whistler Blackcomb is up by two per cent, or $1.1 million, to $50.3 million for the first quarter of 2013 over the first quarter of the 2012 season.

The revenue increase was largely a result of lift revenue increases and more money being spent per guest compare with the same period last year, reported Dave Brownlie, president and chief executive officer of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. on Feb. 1.

Brownlie spoke at the corporation's phone-in conference for media and shareholders to report the financial results for the three months ending Dec. 31, 2012.

"I'm pleased with our results so far," Brownlie said at the phone-in.

As well, he said, total season pass and frequency card sales to Dec. 31, 2012 were a record $36.6 million, a six per cent increase over 2012.

There was a strong 16-day Christmas holiday period, where visitor growth numbers increased by five per cent over 2012 to 309,484.

There were 461,000 skier visits overall in the first quarter, which was consistent with the same period in 2012 and higher than the historical average.

Cash and cash equivalents ended strongly, he added, at $56.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2012.

Much of this good news came from strong numbers of regional visits, Brownlie said, which offset declines in the destination market.

Two areas where numbers had decreased included destination visits from Europe, Brownlie noted Britain and Germany in particular.

"Our efforts in the regional market had a stabilizing effect on our business and I am very pleased with our results," he said.

"As a result of the later start to the holiday period (which began on Dec. 22) our busy Christmas season pushed into January and had a delayed effect on holiday visitation patterns compared to last year and contributed to lower destination visits for the quarter."

He added that there had been improvement in the destination market in January.

"I am optimistic that we'll continue to see strength in destination visitations through the remainder of the second quarter," Brownlie said.

Effective ticket prices had grown for the period by 2.5 per cent to $49.22, contributing to revenues. Incremental revenues from food and beverage, retail-rental and other divisions resulted in a two per cent increase in ancillary revenue.

The recent announcement of Whistler Blackcomb's plan to build the new high-speed detachable Harmony Six and Crystal-Zone Quad chairlifts would contribute to growth in the 2013-2014 season and in the future, Brownlie added.

Going into January 2013 and the start of the second quarter, year-to-date visits as of Jan. 27 are 852,000, and increase of 8,000 — or one per cent — over the same period in 2012. For January itself, skier visits had increased by two per cent, and destination skier visits increased.

"I am cautiously optimistic that we'll continue to see growth in skier visits through the remainder of the second quarter," Brownlie said.

For more, check out the Feb. 7 issue of Pique or piquenewsmagazine.com.

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