Annual Report






UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
FORM 10-K
ý ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017

or
¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from          to             
Commission File Number: 001-09614
VAILA08.JPG
Vail Resorts, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Delaware
 
51-0291762
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
390 Interlocken Crescent
Broomfield, Colorado
 
80021
(Address of principal executive offices)
 
(Zip Code)
(303) 404-1800
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
 
 
 
Title of each class
 
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, $0.01 par value
 
New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
None
(Title of class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.   x   Yes   ¨   No
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.   ¨   Yes   x  No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
x   Yes   ¨   No






Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).
x   Yes   ¨   No
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer
x
 
 
Accelerated filer
¨
Non-accelerated filer
¨
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
 
Smaller reporting company
¨
 
 
 
 
Emerging growth company
¨

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
¨   Yes   x   No
The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the registrant, based on the closing price of $171.54 per share as reported on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Tape on January 31, 2017 (the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was $6,782,234,961.
As of September 25, 2017, 40,019,342 shares of Common Stock were outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for its 2017 Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission within 120 days of July 31, 2017 are incorporated by reference herein into Part III, Items 10 through 14, of this Annual Report.







Table of Contents
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
Item 9B.
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
Item 15.
Item 16.

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FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
Except for any historical information contained herein, the matters discussed or incorporated by reference in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws. These statements relate to analyses and other information, which are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements also relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.

These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions. Although we believe that our plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that such plans, intentions or expectations will be achieved. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

prolonged weakness in general economic conditions, including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries;
unfavorable weather conditions or the impact of natural disasters;
willingness of our guests to travel due to terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts or outbreaks of contagious diseases, and the cost and availability of travel options and changing consumer preferences;
the seasonality of our business combined with adverse events that occur during our peak operating periods;
competition in our mountain and lodging businesses;
high fixed cost structure of our business;
our ability to fund resort capital expenditures;
our reliance on government permits or approvals for our use of public land or to make operational and capital improvements;
risks related to a disruption in our water supply that would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations;
risks related to federal, state, local and foreign government laws, rules and regulations;
risks related to our reliance on information technology, including our failure to maintain the integrity of our customer or employee data;
our ability to hire and retain a sufficient seasonal workforce;
risks related to our workforce, including increased labor costs;
loss of key personnel;
adverse consequences of current or future legal claims;
a deterioration in the quality or reputation of our brands, including our ability to protect our intellectual property and the risk of accidents at our mountain resorts;
our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses, or that acquired businesses may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, including Whistler Blackcomb, Stowe or future acquisitions;
our ability to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, with respect to acquired businesses;
risks associated with international operations;
fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates where the Company has foreign currency exposure, primarily the Canadian and Australian dollars;
changes in accounting and tax estimates and judgments, accounting principles, policies or guidelines or adverse determinations by taxing authorities;
a materially adverse change in our financial condition; and
other risks and uncertainties included under Part I, Item 1A,“Risk Factors” in this document.

All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements.

If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected. Given these uncertainties, users of the information included in this Form 10-K, including investors and prospective investors, are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements that we make for a number of reasons including those described above and in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K. All forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof. Except as may be required by law, we do not intend to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information, future events or other circumstances have made them incorrect or misleading.

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PART I
 
 
ITEM 1.
BUSINESS
General
Vail Resorts, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, is referred to throughout this document as “we,” “us,” “our” or the “Company.”

Vail Resorts, Inc., a Delaware corporation, was organized as a holding company in 1997 and operates through various subsidiaries. Our operations are grouped into three business segments: Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate, which represented approximately 85%, 14% and 1%, respectively, of our net revenue for our fiscal year ended July 31, 2017 (“Fiscal 2017”).

As of July 31, 2017, our Mountain segment operates eleven world-class mountain resort properties and three urban ski areas, as well as ancillary services, primarily including:
ski school,
dining, and
retail/rental operations.

Our Lodging segment includes the following:
owned and/or managed luxury hotels under our RockResorts brand, as well as other strategic lodging properties,
owned and/or managed condominiums located in proximity to our mountain resorts,
certain National Park Service (“NPS”) concessionaire properties, including Grand Teton Lodge Company (“GTLC”), which operates destination resorts at Grand Teton National Park,
Colorado Mountain Express (“CME”), a Colorado resort ground transportation company, and
Mountain resort golf courses.

Collectively, the Mountain and Lodging segments are considered the Resort segment. Our Real Estate segment owns, develops and sells real estate in and around our resort communities.

For financial information and other information about the Company’s segments and geographic areas, see Item 7. “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and Item 8. “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data” below.

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Mountain Segment
Our portfolio of world-class mountain resorts and urban ski areas includes:
VAILMAP.JPG
United States
Colorado and Utah Resorts (Rocky Mountain Region)
Breckenridge Ski Resort (“Breckenridge”) - the single most visited mountain resort in the United States (“U.S.”) for the 2016/2017 ski season with five interconnected peaks offering an expansive variety of terrain for every skill level, including access to above tree line intermediate and expert terrain, and progressive and award-winning terrain parks.

Vail Mountain Resort (“Vail Mountain”) - the second most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2016/2017 ski season. Vail Mountain offers some of the most expansive and varied terrain in North America with approximately 5,300 skiable acres including seven world renowned back bowls and the resort’s rustic Blue Sky Basin.

Park City Resort (“Park City”) - the third most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2016/2017 ski season and the largest by acreage in the U.S. Park City offers 7,300 acres of skiable terrain for every type of skier and snowboarder and offers guests an outstanding ski experience with fine dining, ski school, retail and lodging.

Keystone Resort (“Keystone”) - the fifth most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2016/2017 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. Keystone is a premier destination for families with its “Kidtopia” program focused on providing activities for kids on and off the mountain.

Beaver Creek Resort (“Beaver Creek”) - the tenth most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2016/2017 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.


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Lake Tahoe Resorts
Heavenly Mountain Resort (“Heavenly”) - the eleventh most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2016/2017 ski season. Heavenly is located near the South Shore of Lake Tahoe with over 4,800 skiable acres, straddling the border of California and Nevada, offers unique and spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and boasts the largest snowmaking capacity in the Lake Tahoe region. Heavenly offers great nightlife, including its proximity to several casinos.

Northstar Resort (“Northstar”) - the thirteenth most visited mountain resort in the U.S. for the 2016/2017 ski season. Northstar is the premier luxury mountain resort destination near Lake Tahoe which offers premium lodging, a vibrant base area and over 3,000 skiable acres. Northstar’s village features high-end shops and restaurants, a conference center and a 9,000 square-foot skating rink.

Kirkwood Mountain Resort (“Kirkwood”) - located southwest of Lake Tahoe, offering a unique location atop the Sierra Crest. Kirkwood is recognized for offering some of the best high alpine advanced terrain in North America with 2,000 feet of vertical drop and over 2,300 acres of terrain.

East Coast Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort (“Stowe”) - acquired in June 2017, Stowe is a premier mountain resort located in Northern Vermont which offers high-end lodging and dining options. The mountain offers 116 trails on 485 skiable acres, with a variety of terrain for skiers of all skill levels, as well as a comprehensive offering of summer activities including zip line tours, hiking and sightseeing.

Urban Ski Areas
Afton Alps Ski Area (“Afton Alps”), located near the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area, is the largest ski area near a major city in the Midwest and offers 48 trails, with night skiing, riding and tubing. Mount Brighton Ski Area (“Mt. Brighton”), located near Detroit, offers 26 trails with night skiing and riding. Wilmot Mountain (“Wilmot” ), located in southern Wisconsin, is near the Chicago metropolitan area and offers 25 trails, four terrain parks, a ski and snowboard school, a ski racing program and a tubing hill.

International Resorts
Whistler Blackcomb Resort (“Whistler Blackcomb”) - acquired in October 2016 and located in British Columbia, Canada, Whistler Blackcomb is the most visited and largest year-round mountain resort in North America, with two mountains connected by the PEAK 2 PEAK gondola, which combined offer over 200 marked runs, over 8,000 acres of terrain, 14 alpine bowls, three glaciers and one of the longest ski seasons in North America. In the summer Whistler Blackcomb offers a variety of activities, including hiking trails, a bike park and sightseeing. Whistler Blackcomb is a popular destination for international visitors and was home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Perisher Ski Resort (“Perisher”) - located in New South Wales, Australia and is the largest and most visited ski resort in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere. Perisher provides accessibility, significant lodging and the market’s most skiable acreage for the country’s largest cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Canberra and Brisbane. Perisher offers over 3,000 skiable acres on seven peaks and includes the resort areas known as Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega, along with ski school, lodging, food and beverage, retail/rental and transportation operations.

Our resorts in Colorado, Utah, Lake Tahoe, Vermont and British Columbia, Canada are year-round mountain resorts that provide a comprehensive resort experience to a diverse clientele with an attractive demographic profile. Our resorts offer a broad complement of winter and summer recreational activities, including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowtubing, sightseeing, mountain biking, guided hiking, zip lines, challenge ropes courses, alpine slides and mountain coasters, children’s activities and other recreational activities.

Our Mountain segment derives revenue through the sale of lift tickets, including 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 winter and summer recreational activities. In addition to providing extensive guest amenities, we also lease some of our owned and leased commercial space to third party operators to add unique restaurants and retail stores to the mix of amenities at the base of our resorts.


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Ski Industry/Market
There are approximately 780 ski areas in North America and approximately 480 in the U.S., ranging from small ski area operations that service day skiers to large resorts that attract both day skiers and destination resort guests looking for a comprehensive vacation experience. One of the primary ski industry statistics for measuring performance is “skier visit,” which represents a person utilizing a ticket or pass to access a mountain resort for any part of one day during a winter ski season, and includes both paid and complimentary access. During the 2016/2017 North American ski season, combined skier visits for all ski areas in North America were approximately 73.4 million. Our North American mountain resorts and urban ski areas had approximately 11.3 million skier visits during the 2016/2017 ski season representing approximately 15.4% of North American skier visits.

Our Rocky Mountain region mountain resorts appeal to both day skiers and destination guests due to our Colorado resorts’ proximity to Colorado’s Front Range (Denver, Colorado Springs and Boulder) metropolitan areas and Park City’s proximity to the Salt Lake City metropolitan area. The Colorado Front Range has a population of approximately 4.8 million and is within approximately 100 miles from each of our Colorado resorts, with access via a major highway. Additionally, the Salt Lake City metropolitan area has a population of approximately 1.2 million and is approximately 30 miles from Park City. These resorts are also accessible from several airports, including Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport in Colorado and the Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah and have a wide range of amenities available at each resort, as well as within the proximate base areas, villages and towns. The Rocky Mountain region has 94 ski areas. All ski areas within the Rocky Mountain region combined recorded approximately 21.7 million skier visits for the 2016/2017 ski season with skier visits at our Rocky Mountain region mountain resorts totaling 6.7 million, or approximately 30.9% of total Rocky Mountain region skier visits for the 2016/2017 ski season.

Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border of California and Nevada, is a major skiing destination less than 100 miles from Sacramento and Reno and approximately 200 miles from San Francisco, drawing skiers from the entirety of California and Nevada and making it a convenient destination for both day skiers and destination guests. Heavenly, located near the South Shore of Lake Tahoe; Northstar, located near the North Shore of Lake Tahoe; and Kirkwood, located about 35 miles southwest of South Lake Tahoe, are popular year-round vacation destinations, featuring outstanding winter sports offerings and extensive summer attractions. Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood are proximate to both the Reno/Tahoe International Airport and the Sacramento International Airport. California and Nevada collectively have 34 ski areas. Our Lake Tahoe resorts had approximately 1.8 million skier visits for the 2016/2017 ski season, which was approximately 25.7% of the approximately 7.0 million total California and Nevada skier visits for the 2016/2017 ski season.

Whistler Blackcomb is located in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada and is approximately 85 miles from the Vancouver International Airport. Whistler Blackcomb is North America’s largest four-season mountain resort. For the 2016/2017 North American ski season, Whistler Blackcomb generated approximately 23.6% of the total skier visits in the Pacific Northwest region (including British Columbia).

Competition
There is limited opportunity for development of new destination ski resorts due to the limited private lands on which ski areas can be built, the difficulty in obtaining the appropriate governmental approvals to build on public lands and the significant capital needed to construct the necessary infrastructure. As such, there have been virtually no new destination ski resorts in North America for over 30 years, which has and should continue to allow the best-positioned destination resorts to benefit from future industry growth. Our resorts compete with other major destination mountain resorts, including, among others, Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Mammoth, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Squaw Valley USA, Killington, Okemo, Sierra at Tahoe, Steamboat, Jackson Hole and Winter Park, as well as other ski areas in Colorado, California, Nevada, Utah, the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, Southwest and British Columbia, Canada, and other destination ski areas in North America and worldwide as well as non-ski related vacation options and destinations. Additionally, our season pass products compete with other multi-resort frequency and pass products in North America.

While the ski industry has performed well in recent years in terms of number of skier visits, with the five best seasons occurring in the past ten years for U.S. visitation, a particular ski area’s growth is also largely dependent on either attracting skiers away from other resorts, generating more revenue per skier visit or generating more visits from each skier. The better capitalized mountain resorts operators, including Vail Resorts, are expanding their offerings, as well as enhancing the quality and experience by adding new high speed chairlifts, gondolas, terrain parks, state of the art grooming machines, expanded terrain, on-mountain dining venues, as well as amenities at the base areas of the resorts, including dining, retail and lodging, all of which are aimed at increasing guest visitation and revenue per skier visit.

Our premier resorts and business model differentiate our Company from the rest of the ski industry. We have iconic, branded mountain resorts in important ski destinations in Colorado, Utah, Lake Tahoe and British Columbia, Canada. Through our sales of season passes, we provide our guests with a strong value proposition in return for guests committing to ski at our resorts prior

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to, or very early into the ski season, which we believe attracts more guests to our resorts. We believe we invest in more capital improvements than our competitors and we create synergies by operating multiple resorts, which enhances our profitability. Additionally, most of our mountain resorts located in the U.S. typically rank in the most visited ski resorts in the U.S., and most of our mountain resorts consistently rank in the top ranked ski resorts in North America according to industry surveys, which we attribute to our mountain resorts’ ability to provide a high-quality experience.

Summer tourism at our destination resorts provides for a strong summer business opportunity. Our mountain resorts offer non-ski related attractions such as sightseeing, mountain biking, guided hiking, 4x4 Jeep tours, zip line tours, challenge ropes courses, alpine slides and coasters, children’s activities and other recreational activities. In the fall of 2011, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act was enacted into law which allows our mountain resorts on USDA Forest Service (“Forest Service”) land to offer more summer-season recreational opportunities. The second year of Epic Discovery, our comprehensive summer activities program which launched at both Vail Mountain and Heavenly in June 2016 and at Breckenridge in June 2017, introduced a number of new activities, including zip lines, challenge ropes courses, tubing, mountain excursions, canopy tours and Forest Flyers (i.e. alpine coasters). Additionally, our summer business at Whistler Blackcomb, Park City and Stowe is robust and offers guests a number of activities including biking, hiking and zip lines, among other summer activities. These activities are popular with summer travelers and introduce a new guest demographic to our mountain resorts.

The ski industry statistics stated in this section have been derived from data published by Colorado Ski Country USA, Canadian Ski Council, Kottke National End of Season Survey 2016/2017 (the “Kottke Survey”) and other industry publications.

Our Competitive Strengths
All of our mountain resorts maintain the distinction of competing effectively as both market leaders and quality leaders. We believe the following factors contribute directly to each resort’s success:

Exceptional Mountain Experience
World-Class Mountain Resorts and Integrated Base Resort Areas
Our mountain resorts offer a multitude of skiing and snowboarding experiences for the beginner, intermediate, advanced and expert levels. Each mountain resort is fully integrated into expansive resort base areas offering a broad array of lodging, dining, retail, nightlife and other amenities, some of which we own or manage, to our guests.

Snow Conditions
Our mountain resorts are located in areas that generally receive significantly higher than average snowfall compared to most other North American ski resort locations. Our resorts in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado and Utah, the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Lake Tahoe and the Coast Mountains in British Columbia, Canada receive average yearly snowfall between 20 and 39 feet. Average yearly snowfall in Australia is significantly lower than at North American ski resorts, although Perisher generally receives higher average yearly snowfall compared to other Australian alpine ski resorts due to its location in the Australian Alps and the elevation of its terrain. Even in these abundant snowfall areas, we have significant snowmaking systems that can help provide a more consistent experience, especially in the early season. Additionally, we provide several hundred acres of groomed terrain at each of our mountain resorts with extensive fleets of snow grooming equipment.

Lift Service
We systematically upgrade our lifts and put in new lifts to increase uphill capacity and streamline skier traffic to maximize the guest experience. In the past several years, we have installed several high speed chairlifts and gondolas across our mountain resorts, including the Sun Up chairlift at Vail Mountain (Chair 17); several chairlifts at Wilmot; an eight-passenger gondola connecting Park City and Canyons; a high-speed, state-of-the-art combination gondola and chairlift replacing the Centennial Express Lift at Beaver Creek; a high-speed, six-passenger chairlift replacing the Colorado SuperChair at Breckenridge, which is the primary chairlift serving the critical Peak 8 base area; a high-speed, six-passenger chairlift and a new four-passenger chairlift to access the Peak 6 area in Breckenridge; and a state-of-the-art ten passenger gondola (Gondola 1) at Vail. For the 2017/2018 ski season, upgrades to various chairlifts include, among other projects, the Northwoods lift at Vail Mountain (Chair 11), the Peak 10 Falcon Chair at Breckenridge, Drink of Water chair (Chair 5) at Beaver Creek, and the Montezuma lift at Keystone.


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Terrain Parks
Our mountain resorts and urban ski areas are committed to leading the industry in terrain park design, education and events for the growing segment of freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Each of our mountain resorts has multiple terrain parks that include progressively-challenging features. These park structures, coupled with freestyle ski school programs, promote systematic learning from basic to professional skills.

Extraordinary Service and Amenities
Commitment to the Guest Experience
Our focus is to provide quality service at every level of the guest experience. Prior to arrival at our mountain resorts, guests can receive personal assistance through our full-service, in-house travel center and through our comprehensive websites to book desired lodging accommodations, lift tickets, ski school lessons, equipment rentals and travel arrangements. Upon arrival, our resort staff serve as ambassadors to engage guests, answer questions and create a customer focused environment. In addition, we offer guests what we believe is the industry leading EpicMix application. EpicMix is an online and mobile application that, through radio frequency technology, captures a guest’s activity on the mountain (e.g. number of ski days, vertical feet skied and chairlift activity) and allows a guest to share his or her experience and accomplishments with family and friends on social networks. Since the initial launch of our EpicMix technology, we have expanded EpicMix to include additional offerings such as EpicMix Time, which allows guests to access real time lift line wait times; EpicMix Academy, which allows our ski school instructors to certify the attainment of certain skills and ski levels; EpicMix Photo, which provides professional photos and allows guests to share photos on social networks; and EpicMix Guide, which uses guest input to provide a customized, step-by-step navigational guide to experience our mountains in Colorado, Utah and Tahoe. EpicMix is expected to be implemented at Whistler Blackcomb for the upcoming 2017/2018 North American ski season.

We also solicit guest feedback through a variety of surveys and results, which are used to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction, understand trends and develop future resort programs and amenities.

Season Pass Products
We offer a variety of season pass products for all of our mountain resorts and urban ski areas that are marketed towards both out-of-state and international (“Destination”) guests and in-state and local (“Local”) guests. Our season pass products are available for purchase predominately during the period prior to the start of the ski season, offering our guests a better value in exchange for their commitment to ski at our resorts before the season begins. As such, our season pass program drives strong customer loyalty, mitigates exposure to more weather sensitive guests leading to greater revenue stability and allows us to capture valuable guest data. Additionally, our season pass customers typically ski more days each season than those guests who do not buy season passes, which leads to additional ancillary spending. Season pass products generated approximately 43% of our total lift revenue for Fiscal 2017. In addition, our season pass products attract new guests to our mountain resorts and urban ski areas. Sales of season pass products are a key component of our overall Mountain segment revenue and help create strong synergies among our mountain resorts and urban ski areas. Our season pass products range from providing access to one or a combination of our mountain resorts and urban ski areas to our Epic Pass which provides unrestricted access to all our mountain resorts and urban ski areas. All of our various season pass options can be found on our consumer website www.snow.com. Information on our websites does not constitute part of this document.

As part of our continued strategy to drive season pass sales and create a stronger connection between key skier markets and our iconic destination mountain resorts, we have continued to expand our portfolio of properties in recent years. Whistler Blackcomb, acquired in October 2016, is a world-renowned international skiing destination which receives more than two million skier visits each year. Stowe, acquired in June 2017, is the premier high-end ski resort for skiers and snowboarders on the East Coast, which draws visitors from New York City, Boston and the broader Northeast skier population. In June 2015, we acquired Perisher in Australia, which is also an important international market for ski resorts across the Northern Hemisphere, generating an estimated more than one million skier visits annually to resorts in North America, Japan and Europe. Additionally, our urban ski areas are strategically positioned near key U.S. population centers; Wilmot in Wisconsin near the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas, Afton Alps in Minnesota near Minneapolis/St. Paul and Mt. Brighton in Michigan near Detroit. This close proximity to major Midwestern skier markets allows guests to visit regularly during the week, including popular night skiing, or on the weekends. Additionally, these cities offer major airports with routine direct flights to Denver, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.

We believe our strategy increases the value of our season pass products and dramatically enhances the connection between our destination mountain resorts, urban ski areas and key skier markets.

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Premier Ski Schools
Our mountain resorts are home to some of the highest quality and most widely recognized ski and snowboard schools in the industry. Through a combination of outstanding training and abundant work opportunities, our ski schools have become home to many of the most experienced and credentialed professionals in the business. We complement our instructor staff with state-of-the-art facilities and extensive learning terrain, all with a keen attention to guest needs. We offer a wide variety of adult and child group and private lesson options with a goal of creating lifelong skiers and riders and showcasing to our guests all the terrain our resorts have to offer.

Dining
Our resorts provide a variety of quality on-mountain and base village dining venues, ranging from top-rated fine dining restaurants to trailside express food service outlets. We operate approximately 190 dining venues at our mountain resorts and urban ski areas.

Retail/Rental
We have approximately 270 retail/rental locations specializing in sporting goods including ski, snowboard, golf and cycling equipment. In addition to providing a major retail/rental presence at each of our mountain resorts, we also have retail/rental locations throughout the Colorado Front Range and at other Colorado and California ski resorts, as well as the San Francisco Bay Area, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis. Many of the locations in the Colorado Front Range and in the San Francisco Bay Area also offer prime venues for selling our season pass products.

On-Mountain Activities
We are a ski industry leader in providing comprehensive destination vacation experiences, including on-mountain activities designed to appeal to a broad range of interests. In addition to our exceptional ski experiences, guests can choose from a variety of non-ski related activities such as snowtubing, snowshoeing, guided snowmobile and scenic cat tours, backcountry expeditions, horse-drawn sleigh rides and high altitude dining. During the summer, on-mountain recreational activities provide guests with a wide array of options including scenic chairlift and gondola rides; mountain biking; horseback riding; hiking; 4x4 Jeep tours; and our Epic Discovery program at Vail Mountain, Breckenridge and Heavenly. The Epic Discovery program encourages “learn through play” by featuring extensive environmental educational elements interspersed between numerous activities, consisting of zip lines, children’s activities, challenge ropes courses, tubing, mountain excursions, an alpine slide and alpine coasters.

Lodging and Real Estate
Quality lodging options are an integral part of providing a complete resort experience. Our owned or managed hotels and resorts proximate to our mountain resorts, including five RockResorts branded properties and a significant inventory of managed condominium units, provide numerous accommodation options for our mountain resort guests. More recently, our real estate efforts have focused on the potential to expand our destination bed base and upgrade our resorts through the sale of land parcels to third-party developers which in turn provides opportunity for the development of condominiums, luxury hotels, parking and commercial space for restaurants and retail shops. Our Lodging and Real Estate segments have and continue to invest in resort related assets and amenities or seek opportunities to expand and enhance the overall resort experience.

Lodging Segment

Our Lodging segment includes the following operations, which collectively offer a wide range of services to guests (additional property details provided in the table below and in Item 2. Properties):
Eight owned and twenty two managed properties, including those under our luxury hotel management company, RockResorts;
Managed condominium units which are in and around our mountain resorts in Colorado, Lake Tahoe, Utah and British Columbia, Canada;
Two NPS concessionaire properties in and near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming;
CME, a resort ground transportation company in Colorado; and
Company-owned mountain resort golf courses including five in Colorado and one in Wyoming and two Company-operated mountain golf courses, one in Lake Tahoe, California and one in Park City, Utah.


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The Lodging segment currently includes approximately 4,700 owned and managed hotel rooms and condominium units. Additional property details on our portfolio of owned or managed luxury resort hotels and other hotels and properties are provided in the table below:
Name
Location
Own/Manage
Rooms/Units (1)
RockResorts:
 
 
 
The Lodge at Vail
Vail, CO
Own
170 (2)
The Arrabelle at Vail Square
Vail, CO
Own
99 (2)
The Pines Lodge
Beaver Creek, CO
Own
71 (2)
The Osprey at Beaver Creek
Beaver Creek, CO
Own
47 (2)
One Ski Hill Place
Breckenridge, CO
Manage
64
 
 
 
 
Other Hotels and Properties:
 
 
 
DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge
Breckenridge, CO
Own
208
The Keystone Lodge
Keystone, CO
Own
152
Village Hotel
Breckenridge, CO
Own
60
Ski Tip Lodge
Keystone, CO
Own
10
Vail Marriott Mountain Resort & Spa
Vail, CO
Manage
347
Austria Haus Hotel
Vail, CO
Manage
25
Mountain Thunder Lodge
Breckenridge, CO
Manage
78
Crystal Peak Lodge
Breckenridge, CO
Manage
23
Inn at Keystone
Keystone, CO
Manage
103
Grand Summit Hotel
Park City, UT
Manage
282
Silverado Lodge
Park City, UT
Manage
141
Sundial Lodge
Park City, UT
Manage
116
DoubleTree by Hilton Park City - The Yarrow
Park City, UT
Manage
182
Jackson Lake Lodge
Grand Teton Nat’l Pk., WY
Concessionaire Contract
385
Colter Bay Village
Grand Teton Nat’l Pk., WY
Concessionaire Contract
166
Jenny Lake Lodge
Grand Teton Nat’l Pk., WY
Concessionaire Contract
37
Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch
Moran, WY
Concessionaire Contract
92
 
 
 
 
(1) Rooms/Units excludes approximately 1,800 managed condominium units.
(2) Includes individual owner units that are in a rental program managed by us.

Our lodging strategy seeks to complement and enhance our mountain resort operations through our ownership or management of lodging properties and condominiums proximate to our mountain resorts and selective management of luxury resorts in premier destination locations.

In addition to our portfolio of owned or managed luxury resort hotels and other hotels and properties, our lodging business also features a Colorado ground transportation company, CME, which represents the first point of contact with many of our guests when they arrive by air to Colorado. CME offers year-round ground transportation from Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport to the Vail Valley (locations in and around Vail, Beaver Creek, Avon and Edwards), Aspen (locations in and around Aspen and Snowmass) and Summit County (which includes Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Frisco and Silverthorne). CME offers four primary types of services: door-to-door shuttle business; point-to-point shuttle business with centralized drop-off at transportation hubs; private chartered vans; and premier luxury charter vehicles.


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Lodging Industry/Market
Hotels are categorized by Smith Travel Research, a leading lodging industry research firm, as luxury, upper upscale, upscale, mid-price and economy. The service quality and level of accommodations of our RockResorts’ hotels place them in the luxury segment, which represents hotels achieving the highest average daily rates (“ADR”) in the industry, and includes such brands as the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood’s Luxury Collection hotels. Our other hotels are categorized in the upper upscale and upscale segments of the hotel market. The luxury and upper upscale segments consist of approximately 715,000 rooms at approximately 2,100 properties in the U.S. as of July 2017. For Fiscal 2017, our owned hotels, which include a combination of certain RockResort hotels as well as other hotels in proximity to our mountain resorts, had an overall ADR of $245.31, a paid occupancy rate of 68.5% and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) of $168.14, as compared to the upper upscale segment’s ADR of $181.17, a paid occupancy rate of 74.1% and RevPAR of $134.30. We believe that this comparison to the upper upscale segment is appropriate as our mix of owned hotels include those in the luxury and upper upscale segments, as well as certain of our hotels that fall in the upscale segment. The highly seasonal nature of our lodging properties generally results in lower average occupancy as compared to the upper upscale segment of the lodging industry as a whole.

Competition
Competition in the hotel industry is generally based on quality and consistency of rooms, restaurants, meeting facilities and services, the attractiveness of locations, availability of a global distribution system and price. Our properties compete within their geographic markets with hotels and resorts that include locally-owned independent hotels, as well as facilities owned or managed by national and international chains, including such brands as Four Seasons, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Starwood’s Luxury Collection and Westin. Our properties also compete for convention and conference business across the national market. We believe we are highly competitive in the resort hotel niche for the following reasons:
All of our hotels are located in unique highly desirable resort destinations;
Our hotel portfolio has achieved some of the most prestigious hotel designations in the world, including two properties in our portfolio that are currently rated as AAA 4-Diamond;
Many of our hotels (both owned and managed) are designed to provide a look that feels indigenous to their surroundings, enhancing the guest’s vacation experience;
Each of our RockResorts hotels provides the same high level of quality and services, while still providing unique characteristics which distinguish the resorts from one another. This appeals to travelers looking for consistency in quality and service offerings together with an experience more unique than typically offered by larger luxury hotel chains, which has resulted in all five of our RockResort properties being recognized with the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in recent years;
Many of the hotels in our portfolio provide a wide array of amenities available to the guest such as access to world-class ski and golf resorts, spa and fitness facilities, water sports and a number of other outdoor activities, as well as highly acclaimed dining options;
Conference space with the latest technology is available at most of our hotels. In addition, guests at Keystone can use our company-owned Keystone Conference Center, the largest conference facility in the Colorado Rocky Mountain region with more than 100,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit and function space;
We have a central reservations system that leverages off of our mountain resort reservations system and has an online planning and booking platform, offering our guests a seamless and useful way to make reservations at our resorts; and
We actively upgrade the quality of the accommodations and amenities available at our hotels through capital improvements. Capital funding for third-party owned properties is provided by the owners of those properties to maintain standards required by our management contracts. Projects at our owned properties completed over the past several years include extensive refurbishments and upgrades to the Colter Bay Village Cabins, DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge, and The Lodge at Vail. Additionally, we have completed guest room renovations at the Keystone Lodge and The Pines Lodge, and a restaurant renovation at The Arrabelle at Vail Square.

National Park Concessionaire Properties
We own GTLC, which is based in the Jackson Hole area in Wyoming and operates within Grand Teton National Park under a 15-year concessionaire agreement with the NPS that expires December 31, 2021. We also own Flagg Ranch, located in Moran, Wyoming and is centrally located between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park on the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway (the “Parkway”). Flagg Ranch operates under a 15-year concessionaire agreement with the NPS that expires October 31, 2026. GTLC also owns Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club (“JHG&TC”), located outside Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyoming. GTLC’s operations within Grand Teton National Park and JHG&TC have operating seasons that generally run from June through the end of September.


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There are 417 areas within the National Park System covering approximately 84 million acres across the U.S. and its territories. Of the 417 areas, 59 are classified as National Parks. While there are more than 500 NPS concessionaires, ranging from small, privately-held businesses to large corporate conglomerates, we primarily compete with such companies as Aramark Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Forever Resorts and Xanterra Parks & Resorts in retaining and obtaining NPS concessionaire agreements. The NPS uses “recreation visits” to measure visitation within the National Park System. In calendar year 2016, areas designated as National Parks received approximately 82.9 million recreation visits. Grand Teton National Park, which spans approximately 310,000 acres, had approximately 3.3 million recreation visits during calendar year 2016, or approximately 4.0% of total National Park recreation visits. Four full-service concessionaires provide accommodations within Grand Teton National Park, including GTLC. GTLC offers three lodging options within Grand Teton National Park: Jackson Lake Lodge, a full-service, 385-room resort with 17,000 square feet of conference facilities which can accommodate up to 600 people; Jenny Lake Lodge, a small, rustically elegant retreat with 37 cabins; and Colter Bay Village, a facility with 166 log cabins, 66 tent cabins, 337 campsites and a 112-space RV park. GTLC offers dining options as extensive as its lodging options, with cafeterias, casual eateries and fine dining establishments. GTLC’s resorts provide a wide range of activities for guests to enjoy, including cruises on Jackson Lake, boat rentals, horseback riding, guided fishing, float trips, golf and guided Grand Teton National Park tours. As a result of the extensive amenities offered, as well as the tremendous popularity of the National Park System, GTLC’s accommodations within Grand Teton National Park operate near full capacity during their operating season.

Flagg Ranch features a range of lodging options from 92 standard, deluxe and premium cabins and 40 camper cabins, to a 97-space RV park and 34 campsites. Flagg Ranch also offers additional amenities including dining, retail and activities for our guests to enjoy, including horseback riding, guided fishing, float trips and guided Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park tours. In addition to these summer offerings, Flagg Ranch provides limited winter operations to support Yellowstone National Park snowmobile tours.

Real Estate Segment
We have extensive holdings of real property at our mountain resorts primarily throughout Summit and Eagle Counties in Colorado. Our real estate operations, through Vail Resorts Development Company (“VRDC”), a wholly-owned subsidiary, include planning, oversight, infrastructure improvement, development, marketing and sale of our real property holdings. In addition to the cash flow generated from real estate development sales, these development activities benefit our Mountain and Lodging segments by (1) creating additional resort lodging and other resort related facilities and venues (primarily restaurants, spas, commercial space, private mountain clubs, skier services facilities and parking structures) that provide us with the opportunity to create new sources of recurring revenue, enhance the guest experience and expand our destination bed base; (2) controlling the architectural themes of our resorts; and (3) expanding our property management and commercial leasing operations.

The principal activities of our Real Estate segment include the sale of land parcels to third-party developers; the marketing and selling of remaining condominium units available for sale at the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail and One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge, of which both projects had sold-out of available units as of July 31, 2017; and planning for future real estate development projects, including zoning and acquisition of applicable permits. We continue undertaking preliminary planning and design work on future projects and are pursuing opportunities with third-party developers rather than undertaking our own significant vertical development projects. We believe that, due to the location of our real estate land investments, we are well situated to promote future projects with third-party developers while limiting our financial risk.

Marketing and Sales
Our Mountain segment’s marketing and sales efforts are increasingly oriented around data analytics to drive targeted and personalized marketing to our existing and prospective guests. We capture guest data on the vast majority of guest transactions through our season pass program, e-commerce platforms including mobile lift ticket sales, the EpicMix application and operational processes at our lift ticket windows. We promote our resorts through customer relationship marketing to targeted audiences via email and direct mail, promotional programs, digital marketing (including social, search and display) and traditional media advertising where appropriate (e.g. targeted print, TV, radio). We also have marketing programs directed at attracting groups, corporate meetings and convention business. Most marketing efforts drive traffic to our websites, where we provide our guests with information regarding each of our resorts, including services and amenities, reservations information, virtual tours and the opportunity to book/purchase multiple products for their vacations or other visits.  We also enter into strategic alliances with companies to enhance the guest in-resort experience and to create opportunities for cross-marketing.

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For our Lodging segment, we promote our hotels and lodging properties through marketing and sales programs, which include marketing directly to many of our guests through our digital channels (search, social and display), promotional programs and print media advertising. We also promote comprehensive vacation experiences through various package offerings and promotions (combining lodging, lift tickets, ski school lessons, ski rental equipment, transportation and dining), all of which are designed to drive traffic to our websites and central reservations call center. Sales made through our websites and call center allow us to transact directly with our guests, enabling us to further expand our customer base for future analytics and marketing. Where appropriate, we market our resort properties in conjunction with our mountain resort marketing efforts.  Additionally, our individual hotels have active sales forces to generate conference and group business.

Seasonality
Ski resort operations are highly seasonal in nature, with a typical ski season in North America generally beginning in mid-November and running through mid-April. In an effort to partially mitigate the concentration of our revenue in the winter months in North America, we offer several non-ski related activities in the summer months such as sightseeing, mountain biking, guided hiking, 4x4 Jeep tours, golf (included in the operations of the Lodging segment) and our Epic Discovery program. These activities also help attract destination conference and group business to our resorts in our off-season. In addition, the operating results of Perisher, with its ski season from June through early October, partially counterbalance the concentration of our revenues during this seasonally low period.

Our lodging business is also highly seasonal in nature, with peak seasons primarily in the winter months (with the exception of GTLC, Flagg Ranch, certain managed properties and mountain resort golf operations). We actively promote our extensive conference facilities and have added more off-season activities to help offset the seasonality of our lodging business. Additionally, we operate eight golf courses: The Canyons Golf Course at Park City, The Beaver Creek Golf Club, The Keystone Ranch Golf Course, The River Course at Keystone, JHG&TC near Jackson, Wyoming, The Northstar Resort Golf Course and the Tom Fazio and Greg Norman courses at Red Sky Ranch near the Beaver Creek Resort.

Environmental Stewardship and Social Responsibility
Environmental stewardship is a core philosophy for us. Our resorts operate in some of the world’s greatest natural environments, and we are compelled to care for and conserve them. Through our sustainability program, Epic Promise, we focus on resource conservation, forest health and building stronger local communities through contributions to local non-profits. Our environmental stewardship efforts are diverse and touch nearly every area of our operations. In 2017, we launched Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint and committed to a net zero operating footprint by 2030. This commitment includes achieving zero net emissions by finding operational energy efficiencies and investing in renewable energy, zero waste to landfill by diverting 100 percent of waste from our operations and zero net operating impact to forests and wildlife habitat by restoring an acre of forest for every acre displaced by our operations. As a result of this new commitment, Vail Resorts was accepted as the first travel and tourism company into the RE100, a collaborative initiative uniting 102 global, influential businesses committed to 100 percent renewable electricity. In addition, we have partnered with several organizations to help raise resources for local environmental programs, including The Nature Conservancy, the National Forest Foundation, The Tahoe Fund, Mountain Trails Foundation in Park City and the EnviroFund at Whistler Blackcomb. We encourage our employees to help protect the environment and support their local community with over 20,000 volunteer hours donated annually. Our charitable giving focuses on supporting education and youth programs, encouraging innovation in, and implementation of, environmental stewardship practices and enhancing the quality of life in the communities in which we operate.

Finally, our EpicPromise Foundation (the “Foundation”), which was established in 2015, is a private charitable foundation funded by annual contributions from the Company and its employees. The Foundation supports all Vail Resorts’ employees and their families via grants for emergency relief and scholarships. For more information, visit www.EpicPromise.com. Information on our websites does not constitute part of this document.

Employees
At fiscal year end, we employed approximately 5,900 year-round employees. During the height of our operating seasons, we employ approximately 27,600 additional seasonal employees. In addition, we employ approximately 400 year-round employees and 100 seasonal employees on behalf of the owners of our managed hotel properties. We consider our employee relations to be good.


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Intellectual Property
The development of intellectual property is part of our overall business strategy, and we regard our intellectual property as an important element of our success. Accordingly, we protect our intellectual property rights and seek to protect against its unauthorized use through international, national and state laws and common law rights. We file applications for and obtain trademark registrations and have filed for patents to protect inventions and will continue to do so where appropriate. We also seek to maintain our trade secrets and confidential information by nondisclosure policies and through the use of appropriate confidentiality agreements and contractual provisions.

In the highly competitive industry in which we operate, trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos are very important in the sales and marketing of our mountain resorts and urban ski areas, lodging properties and services. We seek to register and protect our trademarks, service marks, trade names and logos and have obtained a significant number of registrations for those trademarks, which we believe have become synonymous in the travel and leisure industry with a reputation for excellence in service and authentic hospitality. Among other national and international trademark registrations, the Company owns U.S. federal registrations for Epic ® , Epic Pass ® , Vail Resorts ® , Vail ® , Beaver Creek ® , Breckenridge ® and Heavenly ® . The Company also owns Canadian and U.S. trademark registrations for the Whistler Blackcomb ® name and logo. The Company licenses the right to use the federally registered trademark Northstar California ® from CLP Northstar, LLC.
Regulation and Legislation

U.S. Forest Service Resorts

Federal Regulation

The operations of Breckenridge, Vail Mountain, Keystone, Beaver Creek, Heavenly and Kirkwood are conducted primarily on land under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service (collectively, the “Forest Service Resorts”). The 1986 Ski Area Permit Act (the “1986 Act”) allows the Forest Service to grant Term Special Use Permits (each, a “SUP”) for the operation of ski areas and construction of related facilities on National Forest lands. In November 2011, the 1986 Act was amended by the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act (the “Enhancement Act”) to clarify the Forest Service’s authority to approve facilities primarily for year-round recreation. Under the 1986 Act, the Forest Service has the authority to review and approve the location, design and construction of improvements in the permit area and many operational matters.

Each individual national forest is required by the National Forest Management Act to develop and maintain a Land and Resource Management Plan (a “Forest Plan”), which establishes standards and guidelines for the Forest Service to follow and consider in reviewing and approving our proposed actions.

Special Use Permits

Each of the Forest Service Resorts operates under a SUP, and the acreage and expiration date information for each SUP is as follows:
Forest Service Resort
Acres
Expiration Date
Breckenridge
5,702
December 31, 2029
Vail Mountain
12,353
December 1, 2031
Keystone
8,376
December 31, 2032
Beaver Creek
3,849
November 8, 2039
Heavenly
7,050
May 1, 2042
Kirkwood
2,330
March 1, 2052

We anticipate requesting a new SUP for each Forest Service Resort prior to its expiration date as provided by Forest Service regulations and the terms of each existing SUP. We are not aware of the Forest Service refusing to issue a new SUP to replace an expiring SUP for a ski resort in operation at the time of expiration. The Forest Service can also terminate a SUP if it determines that termination is required in the public interest. However, to our knowledge, no SUP has ever been terminated by the Forest Service over the opposition of the permit holder.

Each SUP contains a number of requirements, including indemnifying the Forest Service from third-party claims arising out of our operation under the SUP and compliance with applicable laws, such as those relating to water quality and endangered or

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threatened species. For use of the land authorized by the SUPs, we pay a fee to the Forest Service ranging from 1.5% to 4.0% of adjusted gross revenue for activities authorized by the SUPs. Included in the calculation are sales from, among other things, lift tickets, season passes, ski school lessons, food and beverage, certain summer activities, equipment rentals and retail merchandise.

The SUPs may be revised or amended to accommodate changes initiated by us or by the Forest Service to change the permit area or permitted uses. The Forest Service may amend a SUP if it determines that such amendment is in the public interest. While the Forest Service is required to seek the permit holder’s consent to any amendment, an amendment can be finalized over a permit holder’s objection. Permit amendments must be consistent with the Forest Plan and are subject to the provisions of the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), both of which are discussed below.

Master Development Plans

The 1986 Act requires a Master Development Plan (“MDP”) for each ski area that is granted a SUP, and all improvements that we propose to make on National Forest System lands under any of our SUPs must be included in a MDP. MDPs describe the existing and proposed facilities, developments and area of activity within the permit area. We prepare MDPs, which set forth a conceptual overview of all potential projects at each resort. The MDPs are reviewed by the Forest Service for compliance with the Forest Plan and other applicable laws and, if found to be compliant, are accepted by the Forest Service. Notwithstanding acceptance by the Forest Service of the conceptual MDPs, individual projects still require separate applications and compliance with NEPA and other applicable laws before the Forest Service will approve such projects. We update or amend our MDPs for our Forest Service Resorts from time to time. Recent amendments to our MDP have enabled Forest Service approval for our expanding four season recreation activities. For example, at Breckenridge Ski Resort, we obtained Forest Service approval to begin construction and operation of our Epic Discovery commencing in Summer 2017, and we have constructed a zip line, ropes course, climbing wall, hiking and environmental interpretive trails, as well as an observation tower. 

Forest Plans

Operational and development activities on National Forest System lands at our four Colorado mountain resorts are subject to the additional regulatory and planning requirements set forth in the April 2002 Record of Decision (the “2002 ROD”) for the White River National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan (the “White River Forest Plan”). At Heavenly, operational and development activities on National Forest System lands are subject to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (“LTBMU”) Land and Resources Management Plan, which was adopted in 1988 (the “1988 Plan”). We have been working with the LTBMU for the past several years as it revises the 1988 Plan. That process was concluded this year and a new plan became effective in August of 2016. At Kirkwood, operational and development activities on National Forest System lands are subject to the Eldorado National Forest Land and Resources Management Plan, which was adopted in 1989. When approving our application for development, area expansion or other activities on National Forest System lands, the Forest Service must adhere to the applicable Forest Plan. Any such decision may be subject to judicial review in federal court if a party, with standing, challenges a Forest Service decision that applies the requirements of a Forest Plan at one of our Forest Service Resorts.

Private Land Resorts

The operations of Park City, Northstar, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Wilmot are conducted primarily on private land and are not under the jurisdiction of the Forest Service (collectively, the “Private Land Resorts”). While Beaver Creek also operates on Forest Service land, a significant portion of the skiable terrain, primarily in the lower main mountain, Western Hillside, Bachelor Gulch and Arrowhead Mountain areas, is located on land that we own.

Although not governed by federal regulation, the Private Land Resorts may be governed by local laws and regulations. For example, specific projects and master development plans at Northstar require approval by Placer County, California, and site specific projects at Wilmot Mountain are approved by local townships and Kenosha County, Wisconsin pursuant to a conditional use permit and other operational licenses. Additionally, a portion of Park City is part of the Canyons Specially Planned Area (“SPA”) pursuant to a Summit County, Utah ordinance adopted in 1998, and a Development Agreement and Master Development Plan with affected property owners, developers and the county, the most recent versions of which were adopted in 1999. Other land use within the SPA is within the jurisdiction of Summit County, Utah. Land use at Park City is within the jurisdiction of Summit County, Utah and Park City Municipal Corporation. The portions of the resort located within Park City Municipal Corporation are subject to a Development Agreement with the municipality, the most recent version of which was entered into in 1998.

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Blackcomb Resort is made up of two mountains: Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are located on Crown Land within the traditional territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. The

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relationship between Whistler Blackcomb and Her Majesty, the Queen in Right of British Columbia (the “Province”) is largely governed by Master Development Agreements (the “MDAs”) between the Province and Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership (“Whistler LP”) with respect to Whistler Mountain, and between the Province and Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership (“Blackcomb LP”) with respect to Blackcomb Mountain. Together, Whistler LP and Blackcomb LP are referred to as the “Partnerships.”

The MDAs, which were entered into in February 2017, have a term of 60 years (expiring on February 23, 2077) and are replaceable for an additional 60 years by option exercisable by the Partnerships after the first 30 years of the initial term. In accordance with the MDAs, the Partnerships are obligated to pay annual fees to the Province at a rate of 2.0% of gross revenues related to the operation of certain activities at Whistler Blackcomb.

The MDAs require that each of the mountains be developed, operated and maintained in accordance with its respective master plan, which contains requirements as to matters such as trail design and development, passenger lift development and environmental concerns. The MDAs grant a general license to use the Whistler Mountain lands and the Blackcomb Mountain lands for the operation and development of the Whistler Blackcomb Resort. The MDAs also provide for the granting of specific tenures of land owned by the Province to the Whistler LP or the Blackcomb LP, as applicable, by way of rights-of-way, leases or licenses. Each Partnership is permitted to develop new improvements to Whistler Mountain or Blackcomb Mountain, as the case may be, within standard municipal type development control conditions. We are obligated to indemnify the Province from third-party claims arising out of our operations under the MDAs.

Stowe

Stowe operates on land that we own as well as land we lease from the State of Vermont. The land we own is on the Spruce Peak side of the resort while the land we lease from the State is located on Mt. Mansfield in the Mt. Mansfield State Forest. The initial ten year term of the lease commenced in June 1967, and the lease provides for eight separate ten year extension options. The current term of the lease extends through June 2027, and there are three remaining ten year extension options. The land can be used for the development and operation of a ski area including ski trails, ski lifts, warming shelters, restaurants and maintenance facilities. For use of the land under the lease, we pay a fee to the State of Vermont based on revenue for activities authorized by the lease, such as lift tickets, season passes, food and beverage, summer activities and retail merchandise. We are obligated to indemnify the State of Vermont from third-party claims arising out of our operations under the lease.

Perisher

Perisher is located in the Kosciuszko National Park, the largest national park in New South Wales, Australia. The resort includes four villages (Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow) and their associated ski fields, as well as the site of the Skitube Alpine Railway at Bullock’s Flat, which is accredited in accordance with the Rail Safety National Law (NSW) No.82a. The Office of Environment and Heritage (“OEH”), an agency of the New South Wales government, which is part of the Department of Planning and Environment, is responsible for the protection and conservation of the Kosciuszko National Park. The National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NSW) (“NPW Act”) establishes the National Parks and Wildlife Service and is responsible for the control and management of the Kosciusko National Park.
The NPW Act requires the Kosciuszko National Park to be managed in accordance with the principles specified in that legislation, including the provision for sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment that is compatible with the conservation of the national park’s natural and cultural values. The legislation also authorizes the Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Heritage (the “Minister”) to grant leases and licenses of land within the Kosciuszko National Park for various purposes, including for purposes related to sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment. Under this power, the Minister has granted to Perisher a lease and a license of specified land within the Kosciusko National Park until June 30, 2048, each with an option to renew for an additional period of 20 years. The Minister has also granted Perisher a lease of the parking lot at Perisher Valley that expires on December 31, 2025. Subject to certain conditions being met, the lease for the Perisher Valley parking lot can be extended until June 30, 2048, with an option to renew for a further 20 years. The lease and license provide for the payment of a minimum annual base rent with periodic increases in base rent over the term, turnover rent payments based on 2.0% of certain gross revenue, remittance of park user fees and certain other charges, also subject to periodic increases over the term.

Concessionaire Agreements

GTLC operates three lodging properties, food and beverage services, retail, camping and other services within the Grand Teton National Park under a concessionaire agreement with the NPS. Our concessionaire agreement with the NPS for GTLC expires on December 31, 2021, and we pay a fee of 8.01% to the NPS on the majority of our sales occurring in Grand Teton National Park.


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In August 2011, the NPS selected Flagg Ranch Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to provide lodging, food and beverage services, retail, service station, recreation and other services on the Parkway located between Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park. Our concession contract with the NPS for the Parkway expires on October 31, 2026, and we pay a fee of 5.3% to the NPS on the majority of our sales occurring in the Parkway.

Upon expiration of these concession contracts, we will have to bid against other prospective concessionaires for award of a new contract. The NPS may suspend operations under the concession contract at any time if the NPS determines it is necessary to protect visitors or resources within the Grand Teton National Park or during a Federal Government shutdown. NPS may also terminate the concession contract for breach, following notice and a 15 day cure period or if it believes termination is necessary to protect visitors or resources within the Grand Teton National Park.

Environmental Regulations

National Environmental Policy Act; California Environmental Quality Act

NEPA requires an assessment of the environmental impacts of “significant” proposed actions on National Forest land, such as expansion of a ski area, installation of new lifts or snowmaking facilities or construction of new trails or buildings. We must comply with NEPA when seeking Forest Service approval of such improvements, except in limited cases where projects are not expected to have environmental impacts, which can be submitted to a Categorical Exclusion. The Forest Service is responsible for preparing and compiling the required environmental studies, usually through third-party consultants. NEPA allows for different types of environmental studies, depending on, among other factors, the scope and size of the expected impact of the proposed project. An Environmental Assessment (“EA”) is typically used for projects where the environmental impacts are expected to be limited. For projects with more significant expected impacts, an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) is more commonly required. An EIS is more detailed and broader in scope than an EA.

During the requisite environmental study, the Forest Service is required to analyze alternatives to the proposed action (including not taking the proposed action), as well as impacts that may be unavoidable. Following completion of the requisite environmental study, the Forest Service may decide not to approve the proposed action or may decide to approve an alternative. In either case, we may be forced to abandon or alter our development or expansion plans.

California Environmental Quality Act

Proposed actions at Kirkwood, Northstar and certain portions of Heavenly may also be subject to the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”), which is similar to NEPA in that it requires the California governmental entity approving any proposed action at Kirkwood, Northstar, or on the California portion of Heavenly to study potential environmental impacts. Projects with significant expected impacts require an Environmental Impact Report while more limited projects may be approved based on a Mitigated Negative Declaration.

Forest & Range Practices Act
The Forest & Range Practices Act (“FRPA”) is the principal legislation that governs mountain resorts in British Columbia, including Whistler Blackcomb. The FRPA outlines how all forest and range practices and resource-based activities are to be conducted on Crown (Public) land in British Columbia, while ensuring protection of everything in and on the lands, such as plants, animals and ecosystems. All forest and range licensees' activities are governed by FRPA and its regulations during all stages of planning, road building, logging, and reforestation, including removing timber for ski trail development. The FRPA is mostly based on self-compliance and does not specifically express standards to ski area development.

Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW, Australia)

The Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) (“EPA Act”) is the principal legislation regulating land use and development in New South Wales, Australia. Perisher relies on a suite of planning approvals (and existing use rights) granted under the EPA Act to operate the resort. Various types of development that facilitate commercial ski resort operations are also permitted to be carried out without planning approval pursuant to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Kosciusko National Park - Alpine Resorts) 2007 and the Snowy River Local Environmental Plan 2013. Strategic planning documents have been adopted to provide a framework for the assessment and approval of future development at the resort, including the Perisher Range Resorts Master Plan, Perisher Blue Ski Resort Ski Slope Master Plan and Kosciuszko National Park Plan of Management. Perisher holds a number of environmental approvals to regulate its operations, including an environment protection license for the sewage treatment plant at Bullock’s Flat and a suite of licenses for the storage of diesel, heating oil and propane in storage tanks across

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the resort. Perisher implemented an Environmental Management System to manage compliance with the environmental regulatory framework, and mitigate potential environmental risks arising from its operations.

State, Local and Other Regulations

Various federal, state, local and provincial regulations also govern our resort operations, including liquor licensing and food safety regulations applicable to our food and beverage operations and safety standards relating to our lift operations and heli-ski operations at Whistler Blackcomb. In addition, each resort is subject to and must comply with state, county, regional and local government land use regulations and restrictions, including, for example, employee housing ordinances, zoning and density restrictions, noise ordinances, and wildlife, water and air quality regulations.

Specifically, in Vermont, the operations of Stowe are subject to Vermont’s state-wide Land Use and Development Act known as “Act 250.” Act 250, administered by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, regulates the impacts of development to, among other things, waterways, air, wildlife and earth resources using ten criteria that are designed to safeguard the environment, community life and aesthetic character of Vermont.   Stowe has a Master Plan detailing the development considerations within the resort boundary. All projects within the resort’s Master Plan have completed or will need to complete the Act 250 review process at the project level.

Water and Snowmaking

We rely on a supply of water for operation of our ski areas for domestic and snowmaking purposes and for real estate development. Availability of water depends on existence of adequate water rights, as well as physical delivery of the water when and where it is needed.

To provide a level of predictability in dates of operation and favorable snow surface conditions at our ski areas, we rely on snowmaking, which requires a significant volume of water, most of which is viewed as a non-consumptive use. Approximately 80% of the water is returned to the watershed at spring runoff.

In Colorado, we own or have ownership interests in water rights in reservoir companies, reservoirs, groundwater wells and other sources. The primary source of water for Keystone and Breckenridge is the Clinton Reservoir, in which we own a non-controlling interest. For Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek, the primary water source is Eagle Park Reservoir, in which we own a controlling interest.

Park City receives water for snowmaking from the Park City Municipal Corporation and Summit Water Distribution Company pursuant to various long-term agreements. Park City’s water is stored in retention ponds located at the Park City Golf Club, a retention pond located at the resort, and at facilities owned or operated by Summit Water Distribution Company.

Heavenly’s primary sources of water purchased for domestic and snowmaking uses are the South Tahoe Public Utility District and Kingsbury General Improvement District, which are California and Nevada utilities, respectively. The delivery systems of each utility are limited and may not be able to provide the immediate physical supply of water needed for optimal snowmaking. These sources are augmented by on-mountain underground wells that provide water for domestic uses at on-mountain lodges and for snowmaking. The underground water rights that are used for the East Peak Lake snowmaking well are held jointly with the Forest Service.

Northstar obtains water through a cooperative arrangement with the Northstar Community Services District (“NCSD”). Together with NCSD, we, through our lease with affiliates of EPR Properties, control surface water rights that we use for snowmaking. In addition, we have contractual rights to ground water from NCSD and from the adjacent Martis Camp residential development. We receive domestic water from NCSD and, for on-mountain facilities, from on-mountain wells and a series of significant near-surface springs.

Kirkwood co-owns with the Forest Service surface water rights sufficient for current and planned snowmaking at the resort. Kirkwood’s water is stored in nearby Caples Lake under contract with its owner/operator. Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Wilmot rely on on-site water wells and reservoirs for snowmaking. Perisher is subject to the Water Act of 1912 (NSW) (“NSW Water Act”), which regulates the use of water sources (such as rivers, lakes and groundwater aquifers) in the Kosciuszko National Park. Perisher relies on six water licenses issued under the NSW Water Act and a water extraction agreement with an independent third party for the purposes of extracting water for snowmaking.

Whistler Blackcomb receives water rights used for snowmaking through licenses from the Province which describe annual allowable volumes on a number of its mountain creeks, and Whistler Blackcomb typically uses only a small percentage of its

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licensed water. Whistler Blackcomb is subject to the Watershed Sustainability Act (“WSA”), which is the principal law for managing the diversion and use of water resources in British Columbia and is applicable to Whistler Blackcomb’s use of water for drinking consumption and snowmaking. The WSA requires Whistler Blackcomb to obtain certain approvals and conduct monitoring of its streams.

Available Information

We file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) reports, including our annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”). These reports, proxy statements and other information are available free of charge on our corporate website www.vailresorts.com as soon as reasonably practicable after they are electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC. Information on our websites does not constitute part of this document. Materials filed with or furnished to the SEC are also made available on its website at www.sec.gov . Copies of any materials we file with the SEC can be obtained at www.sec.gov or at the SEC’s public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Information on the operation of the public reference room is available by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.

ITEM 1A.
RISK FACTORS.

Our operations and financial results are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could adversely affect our financial position, results of operations and cash flows. The risks described below should carefully be considered together with the other information contained in this report.

Risks Related to Our Business
We are subject to the risk of prolonged weakness in general economic conditions including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries. Economic conditions currently present or recently present in North America, Europe and parts of the rest of the world, including high unemployment, erosion of consumer confidence, sovereign debt issues and financial instability in the global markets, may potentially have negative effects on the travel and leisure industry and on our results of operations. As a result of these and other economic uncertainties, we have experienced and may experience in the future, among other items, a change in booking trends such that guest reservations are made much closer to the actual date of stay, a decrease in the length of stay and a decrease in group bookings. We cannot predict what impact these uncertainties may have on overall travel and leisure or more specifically, on our guest visitation, guest spending or other related trends and the ultimate impact it will have on our results of operations. Additionally, the actual or perceived fear of weakness in the economy could also lead to decreased spending by our guests. Skiing, travel and tourism are discretionary recreational activities that can entail a relatively high cost of participation and are adversely affected by economic slowdown or recession. This could further be exacerbated by the fact that we charge some of the highest prices for our lift tickets and ancillary services in the ski industry. In the event of a decrease in visitation and overall guest spending we may be required to offer a higher amount of discounts and incentives than we have historically, which would adversely impact our operating results. Our resorts also serve as a destination for international guests. To the extent there are material changes in exchange rates relative to the U.S. dollar, it could impact the volume of international visitation.


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We are vulnerable to unfavorable weather conditions and the impact of natural disasters. Our ability to attract guests to our resorts is influenced by weather conditions and by the amount and timing of snowfall during the ski season. Unfavorable weather conditions can adversely affect skier visits and our revenue and profits. Unseasonably warm weather may result in inadequate natural snowfall and reduce skiable terrain, which increases the cost of snowmaking and could render snowmaking, wholly or partially, ineffective in maintaining quality skiing conditions, including in areas which are not accessible by snowmaking equipment. In addition, a severe and prolonged drought could affect our otherwise adequate snowmaking water supplies or increase the cost of snowmaking. Excessive natural snowfall may significantly increase the costs incurred to groom trails and may make it difficult for guests to obtain access to our mountain resorts. In the past 20 years, our North American mountain resorts have averaged between 20 and 39 feet of annual snowfall, which is significantly in excess of the average for North American ski resorts. However, there can be no assurance that our resorts will receive seasonal snowfalls near their historical average in the future. For example, we experienced very poor conditions in the Lake Tahoe region during the 2012/2013, 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 North American ski seasons and experienced historic low snowfall across all our U.S. resorts during the 2011/2012 ski season. Past snowfall levels or consistency of snow conditions can impact the levels of sales of season passes. Additionally, the early season snow conditions and skier perceptions of early season snow conditions can influence the momentum and success of the overall ski season. Unfavorable weather conditions can adversely affect our resorts and lodging properties as guests tend to delay or postpone vacations if conditions differ from those that typically prevail at such resorts for a given season. Additionally, the potential effects of climate change could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations as warmer overall temperatures would likely adversely affect skier visits and our revenue and profits. Although we have created geographic diversification to help mitigate the impact of weather variability, there is no way for us to predict future weather patterns or the impact that weather patterns may have on our results of operations or visitation.
A severe natural disaster, such as a forest fire, may interrupt our operations, damage our properties, reduce the number of guests who visit our resorts in affected areas and negatively impact our revenue and profitability. Damage to our properties could take a long time to repair and there is no guarantee that we would have adequate insurance to cover the costs of repair and recoup lost profits. Furthermore, such a disaster may interrupt or impede access to our affected properties or require evacuations and may cause visits to our affected properties to decrease for an indefinite period. The ability to attract visitors to our resorts is also influenced by the aesthetics and natural beauty of the outdoor environment where our resorts are located. A severe forest fire or other severe impacts from naturally occurring events could negatively impact the natural beauty of our resorts and have a long-term negative impact on our overall guest visitation as it would take several years for the environment to recover.

Leisure and business travel are particularly susceptible to various factors outside of our control, including terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts, outbreaks of contagious diseases, the cost and availability of travel options and change in consumer preferences. Our business is sensitive to the willingness of our guests to travel. Acts of terrorism, the spread of contagious diseases, political events and developments in military conflicts in areas of the world from which we draw our guests could depress the public’s propensity to travel and cause severe disruptions in both domestic and international air travel and consumer discretionary spending, which could reduce the number of visitors to our resorts and have an adverse effect on our results of operations. Many of our guests travel by air and the impact of higher prices for commercial airline services and availability of air services could cause a decrease in visitation by Destination guests to our resorts. A significant portion of our guests also travel by vehicle and higher gasoline prices could adversely impact our guests’ willingness to travel to our resorts. Higher cost of travel may also affect the amount that guests are willing to spend at our resorts and could negatively impact our revenue particularly for lodging, ski school, dining and retail/rental.
Additionally, our success depends on our ability to attract visitors to our ski resorts. Changes in consumer tastes and preferences, particularly those affecting the popularity of skiing and snowboarding, and other social and demographic trends could adversely affect the number of skier visits during a ski season. A significant decline in skier visits compared to historical levels would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.


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Our business is highly seasonal. Our mountain and lodging operations are highly seasonal in nature. In particular, revenue and profits from our mountain and most of our lodging operations are substantially lower and historically result in losses from late spring to late fall. Conversely, peak operating seasons for Perisher, GTLC and Flagg Ranch, mountain summer activities (including our Epic Discovery program), sightseeing and our golf courses generally occur from June to the end of September while the remainder of the year results in operating losses. Revenue and profits generated by Perisher, GTLC and Flagg Ranch, mountain summer activities/sightseeing and golf peak season operations are not nearly sufficient to fully offset our off-season losses from our other mountain and lodging operations. For Fiscal 2017, 80% of total combined Mountain and Lodging segment net revenue (excluding Lodging segment revenue associated with reimbursement of payroll costs) was earned during our second and third fiscal quarters. This seasonality is partially mitigated by the sale of season passes (which for Fiscal 2017 accounted for approximately 43% of the total lift revenue) predominately occurring during the period prior to the start of the ski season as the cash from those sales is collected in advance and revenue is mostly recognized in the second and third quarters. In addition, the timing of major holidays and school breaks can impact vacation patterns and therefore visitation at our mountain resorts and urban ski areas. If we were to experience an adverse event or realize a significant deterioration in our operating results during our peak periods (our fiscal second and third quarters) we would be unable to fully recover any significant declines due to the seasonality of our business. Operating results for any three-month period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any subsequent quarter or for a full fiscal year (see Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).
In the fall of 2011, the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act was enacted into law which clarifies that the Forest Service is authorized to permit year-round recreational activities on land owned by the Forest Service. As such, this allows and will continue to allow our mountain resorts on Forest Service land to offer more summer-season recreational opportunities, including our Epic Discovery program that we have launched at Heavenly, Vail and Breckenridge. We anticipate that once these summer activities mature, and with the addition of Whistler Blackcomb’s robust summer activities, we could realize substantial incremental summer guest visitation and revenue. However, our summer activities may not generate the projected revenue and profit margins we expect, and even if our future plans are successful, we do not expect that these enhanced summer operations will fully mitigate the seasonal losses that our mountain operations experience from late spring to late fall.

We face significant competition. The ski resort and lodging industries are highly competitive. The number of U.S. skier visits has generally ranged between 51 million and 61 million annually over the last decade, with approximately 54.8 million visits for the 2016/2017 U.S. ski season. There are approximately 480 ski areas in the U.S. that serve local and destination guests, and these ski areas can be more or less impacted by weather conditions based on their location and snowmaking capabilities. The factors that we believe are important to customers include:
proximity to population centers;
availability and cost of transportation to ski areas;
availability and quality of lodging options in resort areas;
ease of travel to ski areas (including direct flights by major airlines);
pricing of lift tickets and/or season passes and the magnitude, quality and price of related ancillary services (ski school, dining and retail/rental), amenities and lodging;
snowmaking facilities;
type and quality of skiing and snowboarding offered;
duration of the ski season;
weather conditions; and
reputation.
There are many competing options for our guests, including other major resorts in Colorado, Utah, California, Nevada, the Pacific Northwest, Southwest and British Columbia, Canada, and other major destination ski areas worldwide. Our guests can choose from any of these alternatives, as well as non-skiing vacation options and destinations around the world. In addition, other forms of leisure such as sporting events and participation in other competing indoor and outdoor recreational activities are available to potential guests.
RockResorts hotels, our other hotels and our property management business compete with numerous other hotel and property management companies that may have greater financial resources than we do and they may be able to adapt more quickly to changes in customer requirements or devote greater resources to promotion of their offerings than us.


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The high fixed cost structure of mountain resort operations can result in significantly lower margins if revenues decline. The cost structure of our mountain resort operations has a significant fixed component with variable expenses including, but not limited to, land use fees and other resort related fees; credit card fees; retail/rental cost of sales; labor; and resort, dining and ski school operations. Any material declines in the economy, elevated geopolitical uncertainties and/or significant changes in historical snowfall patterns, as well as other risk factors discussed herein, could adversely affect revenue. As such, our margins, profits and cash flows may be materially reduced due to declines in revenue given our relatively high fixed cost structure. In addition, increases in wages and other labor costs, energy, healthcare, insurance, transportation and fuel, property taxes, minimum lease payments and other expenses included in our fixed cost structure may also reduce our margin, profits and cash flows.

We may not be able to fund resort capital expenditures. We regularly expend capital to construct, maintain and renovate our mountain resorts and properties in order to remain competitive, maintain the value and brand standards of our mountain resorts and properties and comply with applicable laws and regulations. We cannot always predict where capital will need to be expended in a given fiscal year and capital expenditures can increase due to forces beyond our control. We anticipate that resort capital expenditures will be approximately $103 million for calendar year 2017, which excludes anticipated investments at Whistler Blackcomb, capital expenditures for U.S. summer related activities and one-time integration capital expenditures at Whistler Blackcomb. In addition, we expect to spend approximately $17 million in calendar year 2017 for maintenance and discretionary projects at Whistler Blackcomb and an additional $17 million in capital during calendar year 2017 for the Whistler Blackcomb integration. Our ability to fund capital expenditures will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations and/or to borrow from third parties in the debt or equity markets. We cannot provide assurances that our operations will be able to generate sufficient cash flow to fund such costs, or that we will be able to obtain sufficient financing on adequate terms, or at all. Our ability to generate cash flow and to obtain third-party financing will depend upon many factors, including:
our future operating performance;
general economic conditions and economic conditions affecting the resort industry, the ski industry and the capital markets;
competition; and
legislative and regulatory matters affecting our operations and business;
Any inability to generate sufficient cash flows from operations or to obtain adequate third-party financing could cause us to delay or abandon certain projects and/or plans.


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We rely on government permits and landlord approvals. Our resort operations require permits and approvals from certain federal, state, local and foreign authorities, including the Forest Service, the Province of British Columbia, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the State of Vermont, NPS and the OEH, an agency of the New South Wales government. Virtually all of our ski trails and related activities, including our current and proposed comprehensive summer activities plan, at Vail Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Kirkwood and a majority of Beaver Creek are located on National Forest land. The Forest Service has granted us permits to use these lands, but maintains the right to review and approve many operational matters, as well as the location, design and construction of improvements in these areas. Currently, our permits expire December 31, 2029 for Breckenridge; December 1, 2031 for Vail Mountain; December 31, 2032 for Keystone; November 8, 2039 for Beaver Creek; May 1, 2042 for Heavenly; and, March 1, 2052 for Kirkwood. The Forest Service can terminate or amend these permits if, in its opinion, such termination is required in the public interest. A termination or amendment of any of our permits could have a materially adverse effect on our business and operations. In order to undertake improvements and new development, we must apply for permits and other approvals. These efforts, if unsuccessful, could impact our expansion efforts. Furthermore, Congress may materially increase the fees we pay to the Forest Service for use of these National Forest lands. Additionally, our operations at Whistler Blackcomb are located on Crown Land within the traditional territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations, and the operations and future development of both Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are governed by Master Development Agreements, which expire on February 23, 2077. Stowe is partially located on land we lease from the State of Vermont and we are required to seek approval from the State of Vermont for certain developments and improvements made to the resort. Our Northstar and Park City resorts are conducted pursuant to long-term leases with third parties who require us to operate the resorts in accordance with the terms of the leases and seek certain approvals from the respective landlords for improvements made to the resorts. The initial lease term for Northstar with affiliates of EPR Properties expires in January 2027 and allows for three 10-year renewal options. We entered into a transaction agreement, master lease agreement and ancillary transaction documents with affiliate companies of Talisker Corporation (“Talisker”), and the initial lease term for our Park City resort with Talisker expires in May 2063 and allows for six 50-year renewal options. We have a lease and a license for Perisher within the Kosciusko National Park which expires in June 2048, with an option to renew for an additional period of 20 years. Perisher relies on a suite of planning approvals (and existing use rights) granted under the Australian EPA Act to operate the resort. Strategic planning documents have been adopted to provide a framework for the assessment and approval of future development at the resort. Perisher also holds a number of environmental approvals to regulate its operations, including an environment protection license and a suite of dangerous goods licenses related to the storage of diesel, heating oil and propane in storage tanks across the resort. Additionally, GTLC and Flagg Ranch operate under concessionaire agreements with the NPS that expire on December 31, 2021 and October 31, 2026, respectively. There is no guarantee that at the end of the initial lease/license or agreements under which we operate our resorts we will renew or, if desired, be able to negotiate new terms that are favorable to us. Additionally, our resorts that operate on privately-owned land are subject to local land use regulation and oversight by county and/or town government and may not be able to obtain the requisite approvals needed for resort improvements or expansions. Failure to comply with the provisions, obligations and terms (including renewal requirements and deadlines) of our material permits and leases could adversely impact our operating results.

A disruption in our water supply would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations . Our operations are heavily dependent upon our access to adequate supplies of water for snowmaking and to otherwise conduct our operations. Our mountain resorts are subject to federal, state, provincial and local laws and regulations relating to water rights. Changes in these laws and regulations may adversely affect our operations. For example, the Forest Service could develop new SUP language that could potentially affect our water rights, and recently the Forest Service finalized a new national water clause for all ski area SUPs. Although the recent change will not require any private water rights to be transferred to the Forest Service, future modified language could have an effect on our water rights. In addition, drought conditions may adversely affect our water supply. A significant change in law or policy or any other interference with our access to adequate supplies of water to support our current operations or an expansion of our operations would have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.


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We are subject to extensive environmental and health and safety laws and regulations in the ordinary course of business. Our operations are subject to a variety of federal, state, local and foreign environmental laws and regulations including those relating to air emissions, discharges to water, storage, treatment and disposal of wastes and other liquids, land use, remediation of contaminated sites, protection of natural resources such as wetlands and sustainable visitor or tourist use and enjoyment. For example, future expansions of certain of our mountain facilities must comply with applicable forest plans approved under the National Forest Management Act, federal, state and foreign wildlife protection laws or local zoning requirements, and in Vermont, our operations must comply with Act 250, which regulates the impacts of development to, among other things, waterways, air, wildlife and earth resources, and any projects must be completed pursuant to a Master Plan. In addition, most projects to improve, upgrade or expand our ski areas are subject to environmental review under the NEPA, FRPA, Act 250, the CEQA, the Australian NPW Act or the Australian EPA Act, as applicable. The NEPA and CEQA require the Forest Service, or other governmental entities, to study any proposal for potential environmental impacts and include various alternatives in its analysis. Our ski area improvement proposals may not be approved or may be approved with modifications that substantially increase the cost or decrease the desirability of implementing the project. Our facilities are subject to risks associated with mold and other indoor building contaminants. From time to time our operations are subject to inspections by environmental regulators or other regulatory agencies. We are also subject to worker health and safety requirements. We believe our operations are in substantial compliance with applicable material environmental, health and safety requirements. However, our efforts to comply do not eliminate the risk that we may be held liable, incur fines or be subject to claims for damages, and that the amount of any liability, fines, damages or remediation costs may be material for, among other things, the presence or release of regulated materials at, on or emanating from properties we now or formerly owned or operated, newly discovered environmental impacts or contamination at or from any of our properties, or changes in environmental laws and regulations or their enforcement.

We rely on information technology to operate our businesses and maintain our competitiveness, and any failure to adapt to technological developments or industry trends could harm our business. We depend on the use of sophisticated information technology and systems for central reservations, point of sale, marketing, procurement, maintaining the privacy of guest and employee data, administration and technologies we make available to our guests. We must continuously improve and upgrade our systems and infrastructure to offer enhanced products, services, features and functionality, while maintaining the reliability and integrity of our systems, network security and infrastructure. Our future success also depends on our ability to adapt our infrastructure to meet rapidly evolving consumer trends and demands and to respond to competitive service and product offerings.
In addition, we may not be able to maintain our existing systems or replace or introduce new technologies and systems as quickly as we would like or in a cost-effective manner. Delays or difficulties implementing new or enhanced systems may keep us from achieving the desired results in a timely manner, to the extent anticipated, or at all. Any interruptions, outages or delays in our systems, or deterioration in their performance, could impair our ability to process transactions and could decrease the quality of service we offer to our guests. Also, we may be unable to devote financial resources to new technologies and systems in the future. If any of these events occur, our business and financial performance could suffer.

Failure to maintain the integrity of internal or guest data could result in damages to our reputation and/or subject us to costs, fines or lawsuits. We collect and retain guest data, including credit card numbers and other personally identifiable information, for various business purposes, including transactional marketing and promotional purposes. We also maintain personally identifiable information about our employees. The integrity and privacy of our guest and employee information is very important to us, and our guests and employees have a high expectation that we will adequately protect their personal information. The regulatory environment, as well as the requirements imposed on us by the payment card industry, governing information, security and privacy laws is increasingly demanding and continue to evolve and on occasion may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another. Maintaining compliance with applicable security and privacy regulations may increase our operating costs and/or impact our ability to market our products, properties and services to our guests.
Despite our efforts, information networks and systems are vulnerable to service interruptions or to security breaches from inadvertent or intentional actions by our employees or vendors, or from attacks by malicious third parties. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of sophisticated cyber-attacks on network and information systems, and as a result, the risks associated with such an event continue to increase. We have experienced, and expect to continue to be subject to, cybersecurity threats and incidents, none of which has been material to us to date. Although we have taken, and continue to take steps to address these concerns by implementing network security and internal controls, there can be no assurance that a system interruption, security breach or unauthorized access will not occur.  Any such interruption, breach or unauthorized access to our network or systems could adversely affect our business operations and/or result in the loss of critical or sensitive confidential information or intellectual property, and could result in financial, legal, business and reputational harm to us.


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We depend on a seasonal workforce. Our mountain and lodging operations are highly dependent on a large seasonal workforce. We recruit year-round to fill thousands of seasonal staffing needs each season and work to manage seasonal wages and the timing of the hiring process to ensure the appropriate workforce is in place. Furthermore, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to recruit and hire adequate seasonal personnel as the business requires. Immigration law reform could also impact our workforce because we recruit and hire foreign nationals as part of our seasonal workforce. Increased seasonal wages or an inadequate workforce could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

We are subject to risks associated with our workforce, including increased labor costs. We are subject to various federal, state and foreign laws governing matters such as minimum wage requirements, overtime compensation and other working conditions, work authorization requirements, discrimination and family and medical leave. Labor costs and labor-related benefits are primary components in the cost of our operations. Labor shortages, affordable employee housing shortages and increased employee turnover and health care mandates could also increase our labor costs and labor-related benefits. As minimum wage rates increase, including further potential federal and state legislative changes to the minimum wage rate (for example, the recent California legislation increasing minimum wage), we may need to increase not only the wages of our minimum wage employees but also the wages paid to employees at wage rates that are above the minimum wage. Additionally, new regulations governing the payment of overtime for salaried employees may be implemented, and we may incur additional costs to comply with the revised rules. From time to time, we have also experienced non-union employees attempting to unionize. While only a very small portion of our employees are unionized at present, we may experience additional union activity in the future, which could lead to disruptions in our business, increases in our operating costs and/or constraints on our operating flexibility. These potential labor impacts could adversely impact our results of operations.

If we do not retain our key personnel, our business may suffer. The success of our business is heavily dependent on the leadership of key management personnel, including our senior executive officers. If any of these persons were to leave, it could be difficult to replace them, and our business could be harmed. We do not maintain “key-man” life insurance on any of our employees.

We are subject to litigation in the ordinary course of business. We are, from time to time, subject to various asserted or unasserted legal proceedings and claims. Any such claims, regardless of merit, could be time consuming and expensive to defend and could divert management’s attention and resources. While we believe we have adequate insurance coverage and/or accrue for loss contingencies for all known matters that are probable and can be reasonably estimated, we cannot assure you that the outcome of all current or future litigation will not have a material adverse effect on us and our results of operations.

Our business depends on the quality and reputation of our brands, and any deterioration in the quality or reputation of these brands could have an adverse impact on our business. A negative public image or other adverse events could affect the reputation of one or more of our mountain resorts, other destination resorts, hotel properties and other businesses or more generally impact the reputation of our brands. If the reputation or perceived quality of our brands declines, our market share, reputation, business, financial condition or results of operations could be adversely impacted. Additionally, our intellectual property, including our trademarks, domain names and other proprietary rights, constitutes a significant part of our value. Any misappropriation, infringement or violation of our intellectual property rights could also diminish the value of our brands and their market acceptance, competitive advantages or goodwill, which could adversely affect our business.

There is a risk of accidents occurring at our mountain resorts or competing mountain resorts which may reduce visitation and negatively impact our operations. Our ability to attract and retain guests depends, in part, upon the external perceptions of the Company, the quality and safety of our resorts, services and activities, including summer activities, and our corporate and management integrity. While we maintain and promote an on-mountain safety program, there are inherent risks associated with our resort activities. An accident or an injury at any of our resorts or at resorts operated by competitors, particularly an accident or injury involving the safety of guests and employees that receives media attention, could negatively impact our brand or reputation, cause loss of consumer confidence in us, reduce visitation at our resorts, and negatively impact our results of operations. The considerable expansion in the use of social media over recent years has compounded the impact of negative publicity. If any such incident occurs during a time of high seasonal demand, the effect could disproportionately impact our results of operations.

Our acquisitions, including Whistler Blackcomb, Stowe or future acquisitions, might not be successful. We have acquired certain mountain resorts, hotel properties and other businesses complementary to our own, as well as developable land in proximity to our resorts. Acquisitions are complex to evaluate, execute and integrate. We cannot assure you that we will be able to accurately evaluate or successfully integrate and manage acquired mountain resorts, properties and businesses and increase our profits from these operations. We continually evaluate potential acquisitions both domestically and internationally and intend to actively pursue acquisition opportunities, some of which could be significant. As a result, we face various risks from acquisitions, including:
our evaluation of the synergies and/or long-term benefits of an acquired business;

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our inability to integrate acquired businesses into our operations as planned;
diversion of our management’s attention;
increased expenditures (including legal, accounting and due diligence expenses, higher administrative costs to support the acquired entities, information technology, personnel and other integration expenses);
potential increased debt leverage;
potential issuance of dilutive equity securities;
litigation arising from acquisition activity;
potential goodwill or other intangible asset impairments; and
unanticipated problems or liabilities.
In addition, we run the risk that any new acquisitions may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, and that estimates of the costs of improvements and integration for such properties may prove inaccurate.

We have recently acquired companies that were not subject to rules and regulations promulgated under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as amended (“Sarbanes-Oxley”), and, therefore, they may lack the internal controls of a U.S. public company, which could ultimately affect our ability to ensure compliance with the requirements of Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley . We have recently acquired companies that were not previously subject to the rules and regulations promulgated under Sarbanes-Oxley and accordingly were not required to establish and maintain an internal control infrastructure meeting the standards promulgated under Sarbanes-Oxley. Our assessment of and conclusion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of July 31, 2017 did not include the internal controls of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe, both of which were acquired during our fiscal year ended July 31, 2017 and will be included in our assessment of and conclusion on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting for the fiscal year ending July 31, 2018.

Although our management will continue to review and evaluate the effectiveness of our internal controls in light of these acquisitions, we cannot provide any assurances that there will be no significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting. Any significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in the internal control structure of our acquired businesses may cause significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, which could have a material adverse effect on our business and our ability to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Our international operations subject us to additional risks. As a result of the acquisitions of Perisher and Whistler Blackcomb and potential future international acquisitions, we have larger operations outside of the United States. We are accordingly subject to a number of risks relating to doing business internationally, any of which could significantly harm our business. These risks include:
restriction on the transfer of funds to and from foreign countries, including potentially negative tax consequences;
currency exchange rates;
increased exposure to general market and economic conditions outside the United States;
additional political risk;
compliance with international laws and regulations (including anti-corruption regulations, such as the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act);
data security; and
foreign tax treaties and policies.
Exchange rate fluctuations could result in significant foreign currency gains and losses and affect our business results. We are exposed to currency translation risk because the results of Whistler Blackcomb and Perisher are reported in their local currencies, which we then translate to U.S. dollars for inclusion in our consolidated financial statements. As a result, changes between the foreign exchange rates, in particular the Canadian dollar, Australian dollar and the U.S. dollar, affect the amounts we record for our foreign assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and could have a negative effect on our financial results. We currently do not enter into hedging arrangements to minimize the impact of foreign currency fluctuations. We expect that our exposure to foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations will increase as Whistler Blackcomb and Perisher grow and if we acquire other international resorts.

We are subject to accounting and tax regulations and use certain estimates and judgments that may differ significantly from actual results, including adverse determinations by tax authorities. Implementation of existing and future legislation, rulings, standards and interpretations from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) or other regulatory bodies could affect the presentation of our financial statements and related disclosures or could adversely impact our cash flows. Future regulatory requirements could significantly change our current accounting practices and disclosures. Such changes in the presentation of our financial statements and related disclosures could change an investor’s interpretation or perception of our financial position and results of operations.

26






We use many methods, estimates and judgments in applying our accounting policies (see “Critical Accounting Policies” in Item 7 of this Form 10-K). Such methods, estimates and judgments are, by their nature, subject to substantial risks, uncertainties and assumptions, and factors may arise over time that lead us to change our methods, estimates and judgments. Changes in those methods, estimates and judgments could significantly affect our results of operations.

We are subject to taxes in multiple jurisdictions. Due to economic and political conditions, tax rates in various jurisdictions may be subject to significant change. Our effective tax rates could be affected by changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, changes in the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, or changes in tax laws or their interpretation.

We are also subject to the examination of tax returns and other tax matters by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (the "IRS") and other tax authorities and governmental bodies. We regularly assesses the likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from these examinations to determine the adequacy of our provision for taxes. There can be no assurance as to the outcome of these examinations. If our effective tax rates were to increase or if the ultimate determination of our taxes owed is for an amount in excess of amounts previously accrued, our financial condition, operating results and cash flows could be adversely affected.

Risks Relating to Our Capital Structure
Our stock price is highly volatile. The market price of our stock is highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors such as the following, some of which are beyond our control:
quarterly variations in our operating results;
operating results that vary from the expectations of securities analysts and investors;
change in valuations, including our real estate held for sale;
changes in the overall travel, gaming, hospitality and leisure industries;
changes in expectations as to our future financial performance, including financial estimates by securities analysts and investors or such guidance provided by us;
announcements by us or companies in the travel, gaming, hospitality and leisure industries of significant contracts, acquisitions, dispositions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, capital commitments, plans, prospects, service offerings or operating results;
additions or departures of key personnel;
future sales of our securities;
trading and volume fluctuations;
other risk factors as discussed herein; and
other unforeseen events.
Stock markets in the U.S. have often experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations. Market fluctuations, as well as general political and economic conditions including acts of terrorism, military conflicts, prolonged economic uncertainty, a recession or interest rate or currency rate fluctuations, could adversely affect the market price of our stock.

We cannot provide assurance that we will continue to increase dividend payments and/or pay dividends. In fiscal 2011, our Board of Directors approved the commencement of a regular quarterly cash dividend on our common stock at an annual rate of $0.60 per share, subject to quarterly declaration. Since the initial commencement of a regular quarterly cash dividend, our Board of Directors has annually approved an increase to our cash dividend on our common stock. On March 9, 2017, our Board of Directors approved an increase to our quarterly cash dividend to $1.053 per share, subject to quarterly declaration. This dividend is anticipated to be funded through cash flow from operations, available cash on hand and borrowings under the revolver portion of the Seventh Amended and Restated Credit Agreement (“Vail Holdings Credit Agreement”). Although we anticipate paying regular quarterly dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future, the declaration of dividends is subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors, and is limited by applicable state law concepts of available funds for distribution, as well as contractual restrictions. As a result, the amount, if any, of the dividends to be paid in the future will depend upon a number of factors, including our available cash on hand, anticipated cash needs, overall financial condition, restrictions contained in our senior credit facility, the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, any future contractual restrictions, future prospects for earnings and cash flows, as well as other factors considered relevant by our Board of Directors. In addition, our Board of Directors may also suspend the payment of dividends at any time if it deems such action to be in the best interests of the Company and its stockholders. If we do not pay dividends, the price of our common stock must appreciate for investors to realize a gain on their investment in Vail Resorts, Inc. This appreciation may not occur and our stock may in fact depreciate in value.


27






Anti-takeover provisions affecting us could prevent or delay a change of control that is beneficial to our stockholders. Provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws, provisions of our debt instruments and other agreements and provisions of applicable Delaware law and applicable federal and state regulations may discourage, delay or prevent a merger or other change of control that holders of our securities may consider favorable. These provisions could:
delay, defer or prevent a change in control of our Company;
discourage bids for our securities at a premium over the market price;
adversely affect the market price of, and the voting and other rights of the holders of our securities; or
impede the ability of the holders of our securities to change our management.

Our indebtedness could adversely affect our financial health and prevent us from fulfilling our obligations. As of July 31, 2017, we had $1,276.5 million of outstanding indebtedness, which includes $328.8 million for the Canyons Lease obligation. This amount also consists of $721.9 million of borrowings from the term loan facility under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement used to pay the cash portion of the consideration and payment of associated fees and expenses of the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, $50.0 million borrowings under the revolver portion of the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, and $113.1 million of borrowings under Whistler Blackcomb’s credit facility, which we assumed as party of our acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb. Our borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement are subject to interest rate changes substantially increasing our risk to changes in interest rates. Borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, including the term loan facility, currently bear interest at a rate of LIBOR plus 1.25% on an annual basis. Interest rate margins may fluctuate based upon the ratio of our Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA on a trailing four-quarter basis. We also have, on a cumulative basis, minimum lease payment obligations under operating leases of approximately $312.8 million as of July 31, 2017. Our level of indebtedness and minimum lease payment obligations could have important consequences. For example, it could:
make it more difficult for us to satisfy our obligations;
increase our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
require us to dedicate a substantial portion of our cash flow from operations to payments on our indebtedness, including the annual payments under the Canyons lease, thereby reducing the availability of our cash flow to fund working capital, capital expenditures, real estate developments, marketing efforts and other general corporate purposes;
limit our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate;
place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that have less debt; and
limit our ability to borrow additional funds.
We may be able to incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. The terms of our senior credit facility do not fully prohibit us from doing so. If we incur additional debt, the related risks that we face could intensify.

There are restrictions imposed by the terms of our indebtedness. The operating and financial restrictions and covenants in our credit agreements may adversely affect our ability to finance future operations or capital needs or to engage in other business activities and strategic initiatives that may be in our long-term best interests. For example, the credit agreements contain a number of restrictive covenants that impose significant operating and financial restrictions on us, including restrictions on our ability to, among other things:
incur additional debt or sell preferred stock;
pay dividends, repurchase our stock and make other restricted payments;
create liens;
make certain types of investments;
engage in sales of assets and subsidiary stock;
enter into sales-leaseback transactions;
enter into transactions with affiliates;
issue guarantees of debt;
transfer all or substantially all of our assets or enter into merger or consolidation transactions; and
make capital expenditures.
In addition, there can be no assurance that we will meet the financial covenants contained in our credit agreements. If we breach any of these restrictions or covenants, or suffer a material adverse change which restricts our borrowing ability under our senior credit facility, we would not be able to borrow funds thereunder without a waiver. Any inability to borrow could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, a breach, if uncured, could cause a default under the senior credit facility and our other debt. Our indebtedness may then become immediately due and payable. We may not have or be able to obtain sufficient funds to make these accelerated payments.


28






We cannot guarantee that we will repurchase our common stock pursuant to our share repurchase program or that our share repurchase program will enhance long-term stockholder value. Share repurchases could also increase the volatility of the price of our common stock and could diminish our cash reserves .   In March 2006, our Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program, authorizing the Company to repurchase up to 3,000,000 shares of common stock. In July 2008, the Board of Directors increased the authorization by an additional 3,000,000 shares, and in December 2015, the Board increased the authorization by an additional 1,500,000 shares for a total authorization to repurchase shares of up to 7,500,000 shares. Since inception of its share repurchase program through July 31, 2017, the Company has repurchased 5,436,294 shares at a cost of approximately $247.2 million. As of July 31, 2017, 2,063,706 shares remained available to repurchase under the existing share repurchase program which has no expiration date.
Although our Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program, the share repurchase program does not obligate us to repurchase any specific dollar amount or to acquire any specific number of shares. The timing and amount of repurchases, if any, will depend upon several factors, including market and business conditions, the trading price of our common stock and the nature of other investment opportunities. The repurchase program may be limited, suspended or discontinued at any time without prior notice. In addition, repurchases of our common stock pursuant to our share repurchase program could cause our stock price to be higher than it would be in the absence of such a program and could potentially reduce the market liquidity for our stock. Additionally, our share repurchase program could diminish our cash reserves, which may impact our ability to finance future growth and to pursue possible future strategic opportunities and acquisitions. There can be no assurance that any share repurchases will enhance stockholder value because the market price of our common stock may decline below levels at which we repurchased shares of stock. Although our share repurchase program is intended to enhance long-term stockholder value, there is no assurance that it will do so and short-term stock price fluctuations could reduce the program's effectiveness.

ITEM 1B.
UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS.
None.

ITEM 2.
PROPERTIES.
The following table sets forth the principal properties that we own or lease for use in our operations at fiscal year-end:
Location
Ownership
Use
Afton Alps, MN
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, clubhouse, buildings, commercial space and other improvements
Arrowhead Mountain, CO
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space
BC Housing RiverEdge, CO
26% Owned
Employee housing facilities
Bachelor Gulch Village, CO
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space
Beaver Creek Resort, CO
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development
Beaver Creek Mountain, CO (3,849
acres)
SUP
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements
Beaver Creek Mountain Resort, CO
Owned
Golf course, clubhouse, commercial space and residential condominium units
Breckenridge Ski Resort, CO
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development
Breckenridge Mountain, CO (5,702
acres)
SUP
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements
Breckenridge Terrace, CO
50% Owned
Employee housing facilities
Broomfield, CO
Leased
Corporate offices
Colter Bay Village, WY
Concessionaire contract
Lodging and dining facilities
Eagle-Vail, CO
Owned
Warehouse facility
Edwards, CO
Leased
Administrative offices

29






Location
Ownership
Use
DoubleTree by Hilton Breckenridge, CO
Owned
Lodging, dining and conference facilities
Headwaters Lodge & Cabins at Flagg Ranch, WY
Concessionaire contract
Lodging and dining facilities
Heavenly Mountain Resort, CA & NV
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements and commercial space
Heavenly Mountain, CA & NV
(7,050 acres)
SUP
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements
Jackson Hole Golf & Tennis Club,
WY
Owned
Golf course, clubhouse, tennis facilities, dining and real estate held for sale or development
Jackson Lake Lodge, WY
Concessionaire contract
Lodging, dining and conference facilities
Jenny Lake Lodge, WY
Concessionaire contract
Lodging and dining facilities
Keystone Conference Center, CO
Owned
Conference facility
Keystone Lodge, CO
Owned
Lodging, spa, dining and conference facilities
Keystone Resort, CO
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, commercial space, property management, dining and real estate held for sale or development
Keystone Mountain, CO (8,376 acres)
SUP
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements
Keystone Ranch, CO
Owned
Golf course, clubhouse and dining facilities
Kirkwood Mountain Resort, CA
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management and commercial space
Kirkwood Mountain, CA (2,330 acres)
SUP
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements
Mt. Brighton, MI
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, golf course, clubhouse, buildings, commercial space and other improvements
Northstar California Resort, CA
(7,200 acres)
Leased (1)
Ski trails, ski lifts, golf course, commercial space, dining facilities, buildings and other improvements
Northstar Village, CA
Leased (1)
Commercial space, ski resort operations, dining facilities, buildings, property management and other improvements
Park City Mountain, UT
(8,900 acres)
Leased (2)
Ski resort operations including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings, commercial space, dining facilities, property management, conference facilities and other improvements (including areas previously referred to as Canyons Resort, UT)
Park City Mountain, UT
(220 acres)
Owned
Ski trails, ski lifts, dining facilities, commercial space, buildings, real estate held for sale or development and other improvements
Perisher Ski Resort, NSW, Australia
(3,335 acres)
Owned/Leased/Licensed  (3)
Ski trails, ski lifts, dining facilities, commercial space, railway, buildings, lodging, conference facilities and other improvements
Red Cliffs Lodge, CA
Leased
Dining facilities, ski resort operations, commercial space, administrative offices
Red Sky Ranch, CO
Owned
Golf courses, clubhouses, dining facilities and real estate held for sale or development
River Course at Keystone, CO
Owned
Golf course and clubhouse
Seasons at Avon, CO
Leased/50% Owned
Administrative offices and commercial space
SSI Venture, LLC (“VRR”) Properties; CO, CA, NV, UT, MN & BC, Canada
Owned/Leased
Approximately 250 rental and retail stores (of which 140 stores are currently held under lease) for recreational products, and 3 leased warehouses
Ski Tip Lodge, CO
Owned
Lodging and dining facilities
Mt. Mansfield, VT (approximately 1,400 acres)
Leased
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements used for operation of Stowe Mountain Resort
Stowe Mountain Resort, VT
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements and commercial space
The Arrabelle at Vail Square, CO
Owned
Lodging, spa, dining and conference facilities

30






Location
Ownership
Use
The Lodge at Vail, CO
Owned
Lodging, spa, dining and conference facilities
The Osprey at Beaver Creek, CO
Owned
Lodging, dining and conference facilities
The Tarnes at Beaver Creek, CO
31% Owned
Employee housing facilities
Tenderfoot Housing, CO
50% Owned
Employee housing facilities
The Pines Lodge at Beaver Creek, CO
Owned
Lodging, dining and conference facilities
The Village Hotel, Breckenridge, CO
Owned
Lodging, dining, conference facilities and commercial space
Vail Mountain, CO
Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development
Vail Mountain, CO (12,353 acres)
SUP
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements
Whistler Blackcomb Resort, BC, Canada
75% Owned
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements, property management, commercial space and real estate held for sale or development
Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain, BC, Canada
MDA (4)
Ski resort operations, including ski lifts, ski trails, buildings and other improvements
Whistler Blackcomb Resort, BC, Canada
Leased
Employee housing facilities
Wilmot Mountain, WI
Owned
Ski trails, ski lifts, buildings and other improvements

Many of our properties are used across all segments in complementary and interdependent ways.

(1)    The operations of Northstar are conducted on land and with operating assets owned by affiliates of EPR Properties under operating leases which were assumed by us. The leases provide for the payment of a minimum annual base rent with periodic increases in base rent over the lease term. In addition, the leases provide for the payment of percentage rent based on a percentage of gross revenues generated at the property over certain thresholds. The initial term of the leases expires in fiscal 2027, and is subject to three 10-year renewal options.

(3)    The operations of portions of Park City are conducted pursuant to a long-term lease on land and with certain operating assets owned by TCFC LeaseCo, LLC and TCFC PropCo, LLC. The lease provides for the payment of a minimum annual base rent with periodic increases in base rent over the lease term and participating contingent payments of a percentage of the amount by which EBITDA for resort operations exceeds certain thresholds, also subject to periodic increases over the lease term. The initial term of the lease expires in fiscal 2063 and is subject to six 50-year renewal options. Additionally, in connection with the lease, we entered into certain ancillary agreements with third parties, including leases and easements, allowing for various resort operations.

(4)    The operations of Perisher are conducted pursuant to a long-term lease and license of land and certain improvements owned by the government of New South Wales within Kosciuszko National Park pursuant to the National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1974. The lease and license provide for the payment of a minimum annual base rent with periodic increases in base rent over the term, turnover rent payments of a percentage of certain gross revenue, remittance of park user fees and certain other charges, also subject to periodic increases over the term. The initial term of the lease and license expires in 2048 and is subject to one 20-year renewal option.

(4)    Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain are located on Crown Land within the traditional territory of the Squamish and Lil’wat Nations. The relationship between Whistler Blackcomb and the Province is largely governed by MDAs between the Province and Whistler LP with respect to Whistler Mountain, and between the Province and Blackcomb LP with respect to Blackcomb Mountain.


ITEM 3.
LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

In May 2016, Kirkwood received a Notice of Violation (“NOV”) from the State of California Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (the “Regional Water Board”) regarding the disposition of asphalt grindings used in parking lot surfacing in and around Kirkwood Creek.  We are in the information gathering stage and are cooperating with the Regional Water Board staff and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (“CDFW”) to satisfactorily resolve the matters identified in the NOV. 


31






In August 2017, Kirkwood executed a Settlement Agreement and Stipulation for Entry of Administrative Liability Order (“Stipulated Order”) with the Regional Water Board and CDFW.   The Stipulated Order has been noticed for a 30-day public comment period and is subject to approval by the Regional Water Board.  If approved, Kirkwood will be responsible to pay monetary penalties and agency costs totaling approximately $0.8 million, of which approximately half will be fulfilled by a supplemental environmental project run by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.   All of these amounts will be paid by third-party insurance.   The remediation work required by the Stipulated Order and as may be requested by the agencies may continue into calendar year 2018.

We do not expect the resolution of the above item to have a material impact on our results of operations or cash flows.

We are a party to various lawsuits arising in the ordinary course of business. We believe that we have adequate insurance coverage and/or have accrued for loss contingencies for all known matters and that, although the ultimate outcome of such claims cannot be ascertained, current pending and threatened claims are not expected, individually or in the aggregate, to have a material adverse impact on our financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

ITEM 4.
MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURES.

Not applicable.


32






PART II

ITEM 5.
MARKET FOR REGISTRANT’S COMMON EQUITY, RELATED STOCKHOLDER MATTERS AND ISSUER PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES.
Market Information and Dividend Policy
Our common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) under the symbol “MTN.” As of September 25, 2017, 40,019,342 shares of common stock were outstanding, held by approximately 300 holders of record.
The following table sets forth information on the high and low sales prices of our common stock on the NYSE and the quarterly cash dividends declared per share of common stock for each quarterly period for the two most recently completed fiscal years.
 
 
Quarter Ended
 
 
 
 
Cash
Dividends
Declared
Per Share
 
 
Market Price Per Share
 
 
High
 
Low
 
 
Fiscal Year 2017
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 31, 2017
$
215.82

 
$
197.11

 
$
1.053

 
April 30, 2017
$
200.92

 
$
170.94

 
$
1.053

 
January 31, 2017
$
172.32

 
$
153.66

 
$
0.81

 
October 31, 2016
$
162.95

 
$
142.04

 
$
0.81

 
Fiscal Year 2016
 
 
 
 
 
 
July 31, 2016
$
145.38

 
$
124.00

 
$
0.81

 
April 30, 2016
$
135.98

 
$
114.86

 
$
0.81

 
January 31, 2016
$
133.59

 
$
112.75

 
$
0.6225

 
October 31, 2015
$
116.52

 
$
100.50

 
$
0.6225


In fiscal 2011, our Board of Directors approved the commencement of a regular quarterly cash dividend on our common stock at an annual rate of $0.60 per share, subject to quarterly declaration. Since the initial commencement of a regular quarterly cash dividend, our Board of Directors has annually approved an increase to our cash dividend on our common stock and on March 9, 2017, our Board of Directors approved a 30% increase to our quarterly cash dividend to an annual rate of $4.212 per share, subject to quarterly declaration. This dividend is anticipated to be funded through cash flow from operations, available cash on hand and borrowings under the revolver portion of our Seventh Amended and Restated Credit Facility, dated as of May 1, 2015 (the “Vail Holdings Credit Agreement”). Subject to the discretion of our Board of Directors, applicable law and contractual restrictions, we anticipate paying regular quarterly dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future. The amount, if any, of the dividends to be paid in the future will depend upon our available cash on hand, anticipated cash needs, overall financial condition, restrictions contained in the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement, future prospects for earnings and cash flows, as well as other factors considered relevant by our Board of Directors.
Repurchase of Equity Securities
The Company did not repurchase any shares of common stock during the fourth quarter of the year ended July 31, 2017 (“Fiscal 2017”). The share repurchase program is conducted under authorizations made from time to time by our Board of Directors. On March 9, 2006, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program, authorizing the Company to repurchase up to 3,000,000 shares of common stock. On July 16, 2008, the Company’s Board of Directors increased the authorization by an additional 3,000,000 shares, and on December 4, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors increased the authorization by an additional 1,500,000 shares for a total authorization to repurchase shares of up to 7,500,000 shares. Since inception of this stock repurchase program through July 31, 2017, the Company has repurchased 5,436,294 shares at a cost of approximately $247.2 million. As of July 31, 2017, 2,063,706 shares remained available to repurchase under the existing repurchase authorization. Repurchases under these authorizations may be made from time to time at prevailing prices as permitted by applicable laws, and subject to market conditions and other factors. These authorizations have no expiration date.






33









Performance Graph
PERFGRAPH.JPG
The total return graph above is presented for the period from the end of our 2012 fiscal year through the end of Fiscal 2017. The comparison assumes that $100 was invested at the beginning of the period in our common stock (“MTN”), The Russell 2000, The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index and the Dow Jones U.S. Travel and Leisure Stock Index, with dividends reinvested where applicable. We include the Dow Jones U.S. Travel and Leisure Index as we believe we compete in the travel and leisure industry.

The performance graph is not deemed filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and is not to be incorporated by reference into any of our filings under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Exchange Act, unless such filings specifically incorporate the performance graph by reference therein.

ITEM 6.
SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA.
The following table presents selected historical consolidated financial data derived from our Consolidated Financial Statements for the periods indicated. The financial data for Fiscal 2017, the year ended July 31, 2016 (“Fiscal 2016”) and the year ended July 31, 2015 (“Fiscal 2015”) and as of July 31, 2017 and 2016 should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements, related notes thereto and Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations contained elsewhere in this Form 10-K. The table presented below is unaudited. The data presented below is in thousands, except for diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc., cash dividends declared per share, effective ticket price (“ETP”), average daily rate (“ADR”) and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) amounts.


34






   
Year Ended July 31,
   
2017 (1)
 
2016 (1)
 
2015 (1)
 
2014 (1)
 
2013 (1)
Statement of Operations Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total net revenue
$
1,907,218

 
$
1,601,286

 
$
1,399,924

 
$
1,254,646

 
$
1,120,797

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Total segment operating expense
1,322,841

 
1,152,496

 
1,058,432

 
994,174

 
896,609

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Other operating expense
(205,121
)
 
(165,811
)
 
(130,979
)
 
(143,209
)
 
(127,235
)
Other expense
(30,807
)
 
(40,360
)
 
(61,185
)
 
(73,191
)
 
(37,724
)
Income before provision for income taxes
$
348,449

 
$
242,619

 
$
149,328

 
$
44,072

 
$
59,229

Net Income and Dividends:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income
$
231,718

 
$
149,454

 
$
114,610

 
$
28,206

 
$
37,610

Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.
$
210,553

 
$
149,754

 
$
114,754

 
$
28,478

 
$
37,743

Diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.
$
5.22

 
$
4.01

 
$
3.07

 
$
0.77

 
$
1.03

Cash dividends declared per share
$
3.726

 
$
2.865

 
$
2.075

 
$
1.245

 
$
0.79

Other Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mountain
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Skier visits (2)
12,047

 
10,032

 
8,466

 
7,688

 
6,977

ETP (3)
$
67.93

 
$
65.59

 
$
63.37

 
$
58.18

 
$
56.02

Lodging
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ADR (4)
$
302.80

 
$
280.38

 
$
270.84

 
$
257.14

 
$
253.91

RevPAR (5)
$
127.95

 
$
122.61

 
$
112.67

 
$
100.57

 
$
91.76

Real Estate
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Real estate held for sale and investment (6)
$
103,405

 
$
111,088

 
$
129,825

 
$
157,858

 
$
195,230

Other Balance Sheet Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash and cash equivalents (7)
$
117,389

 
$
67,897

 
$
35,459

 
$
44,406

 
$
138,604

Total assets (8)
$
4,110,718

 
$
2,482,018

 
$
2,487,292

 
$
2,169,552

 
$
2,300,617

Long-term debt, net (including long-term debt due within one year)
$
1,272,421

 
$
700,263

 
$
814,501

 
$
622,325

 
$
789,242

Net Debt (9)
$
1,155,032

 
$
632,366

 
$
779,042

 
$
577,919

 
$
650,638

Total Vail Resorts, Inc. stockholders’ equity
$
1,571,156

 
$
874,540

 
$
866,568

 
$
820,843

 
$
823,868


Footnotes to Selected Financial Data:

(1)
We have made several mountain resort acquisitions during the past five years, which impacts comparability between years, including Stowe (acquired June 2017); Whistler Blackcomb (acquired in October 2016); Perisher (acquired in June 2015); Park City Mountain Resort (acquired in September 2014) and Canyons (transaction entered into in May 2013).
(2)
A skier visit represents a person utilizing a ticket or pass to access a mountain resort or urban ski area for any part of one day during a winter ski season and includes both paid and complimentary access.
(3)
ETP is calculated by dividing lift revenue by total skier visits during the respective periods.
(4)
ADR is calculated by dividing total room revenue (includes both owned room and managed condominium unit revenue) by the number of occupied rooms during the respective periods.
(5)
RevPAR is calculated by dividing total room revenue (includes both owned room and managed condominium unit revenue) by the number of rooms that are available to guests during the respective periods.
(6)
Real estate held for sale and investment includes all land, development costs and other improvements associated with real estate held for sale and investment.
(7)
Cash and cash equivalents exclude restricted cash.
(8)
We adopted a new accounting pronouncement as of July 31, 2016, which requires that deferred tax assets and liabilities be classified as noncurrent on the balance sheet. This adoption was applied prospectively and, as such, prior periods have not been adjusted.

35






(9)
Net Debt, a non-GAAP financial measure, is defined as long-term debt, net plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents.

36






ITEM 7.
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 (“MD&A”) should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and notes related thereto included in this Form 10-K. To the extent that the following MD&A contains statements which are not of a historical nature, such statements are forward-looking statements which involve risks and uncertainties. These risks include, but are not limited to, those discussed in Item 1A, “Risk Factors” in this Form 10-K. The following discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with the Forward-Looking Statements section and Item 1A, “Risk Factors” each included in this Form 10-K.

The MD&A includes discussion of financial performance within each of our three segments. We have chosen to specifically include Reported EBITDA (defined as segment net revenue less segment operating expense; and for the Mountain segment, plus segment equity investment income, plus gain on litigation settlement; and for the Real Estate segment, plus gain on sale of real property) and Net Debt (defined as long-term debt, net 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. Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are not measures of financial performance or liquidity defined under generally accepted accounting principles (“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 income 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, net.

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, net change in cash and cash equivalents or other financial statement data presented in the Consolidated Financial Statements as indicators of financial performance or liquidity. Because Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are not measurements determined in accordance with GAAP and are thus susceptible to varying calculations, Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA and Net Debt, as presented herein, may not be comparable to other similarly titled measures of other companies. In addition, our segment Reported EBITDA (i.e. Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate), the measure of segment profit or loss required to be disclosed in accordance with GAAP, 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. The Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate segments represented approximately 85%, 14% and 1%, respectively, of our net revenue for Fiscal 2017.


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Mountain Segment
The Mountain segment is comprised of the operations of eleven mountain resort properties and three urban ski areas including:
Mountain Resorts:
 
Location:
1.
Vail Mountain Resort (“Vail Mountain”)
 
Colorado
2.
Breckenridge Ski Resort (“Breckenridge”)
 
Colorado
3.
Keystone Resort (“Keystone”)
 
Colorado
4.
Beaver Creek Resort (“Beaver Creek”)
 
Colorado
5.
Park City Resort (“Park City”)
 
Utah
6.
Heavenly Mountain Resort (“Heavenly”)
 
Lake Tahoe area of Nevada and California
7.
Northstar Resort (“Northstar”)
 
Lake Tahoe area of California
8.
Kirkwood Mountain Resort (“Kirkwood”)
 
Lake Tahoe area of California
9.
Perisher Ski Resort (“Perisher”)
 
New South Wales, Australia
10.
Whistler Blackcomb Resort (“Whistler Blackcomb”)
 
British Columbia, Canada
11.
Stowe Mountain Resort (“Stowe”)
 
Vermont
Urban Ski Areas (“Urban”):
 
Location:
1.
Wilmot Mountain (“Wilmot”)
 
Wisconsin
2.
Afton Alps Ski Area (“Afton Alps”)
 
Minnesota
3.
Mount Brighton Ski Area (“Mt. Brighton”)
 
Michigan

Additionally, the Company operates ancillary services, primarily including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations, and for Perisher, including lodging and transportation operations. Mountain segment revenue is seasonal, with the majority of revenue earned from our North American mountain resorts and Urban ski areas occurring in our second and third fiscal quarters and the majority of revenue earned from Perisher occurring in our first and fourth fiscal quarters. Our North American mountain resorts were open for business for the 2016/2017 ski season primarily from mid-November through mid-April, which is the peak operating season for the Mountain segment. Our single largest source of Mountain segment revenue is the sale of lift tickets (including season passes), which represented approximately 51%, 50% and 49% of Mountain segment net revenue for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively.

Lift revenue is driven by volume and pricing. Pricing is impacted by both absolute pricing, as well as the demographic mix of guests, which impacts the price points at which various products are purchased. The demographic mix of guests to our U.S. mountain resorts is divided into two primary categories: (1) out-of-state and international (“Destination”) guests and (2) in-state and local (“Local”) guests. For the 2016/2017 U.S. ski season, Destination guests comprised approximately 61% of our U.S. mountain resort skier visits, while Local guests comprised approximately 39% of our U.S. mountain resort skier visits, which compares to approximately 58% and 42%, respectively, for the 2015/2016 U.S. ski season and 59% and 41%, respectively, for the 2014/2015 U.S. ski season.

Destination guests generally purchase our higher-priced lift ticket products and utilize more ancillary services such as ski school, dining and retail/rental, as well as lodging at or around our mountain resorts. Destination guest visitation is less likely to be impacted by changes in the weather but may be more impacted by adverse economic conditions or the global geopolitical climate. Local guests tend to be more value-oriented and weather sensitive. We offer a variety of season pass products for all of our mountain resorts and Urban ski areas (collectively, “Resorts”), marketed towards both Destination and Local guests. Our season pass product offerings range from providing access to one or a combination of our Resorts to our Epic Season Pass, which allows pass holders unlimited and unrestricted access to all of our Resorts. Our season pass program provides a compelling value proposition to our guests, which in turn assists us in developing a loyal base of customers who commit to ski at our Resorts generally in advance of the ski season and typically ski more days each season at our Resorts than those guests who do not buy season passes. As such, our season pass program drives strong customer loyalty; mitigates exposure to more weather sensitive guests; generates additional ancillary spending; and, provides cash flow in advance of winter season operations. In addition, our season pass program attracts new guests to our Resorts. All of our season pass products, including the Epic Pass, are predominately sold prior to the start of the ski season. Season pass revenue, although primarily collected prior to the ski season, is recognized in the Consolidated Statement of Operations ratably throughout the ski season.

As a result of the acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb, lift revenue includes certain products that were not available for sale in the prior comparative periods, primarily Whistler Blackcomb season passes and EDGE Cards. EDGE Cards are products, exclusively

38






available to Canadian, Washington State and Oregon residents that allow these guests to purchase lift access in advance of visitation, usually at a discounted price, and are available for sale throughout the ski season unlike our Epic Season Pass program, which generally requires a commitment in advance of the ski season. Accordingly, lift revenue consists of season pass and certain EDGE Card lift revenue (“pass revenue”) and non-season pass lift revenue (“non-pass revenue”). Approximately 43%, 40% and 40% of total lift revenue was derived from pass revenue for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively.

The cost structure of our mountain resort operations has a significant fixed component with variable expenses including, but not limited to, land use permit or lease fees, credit card fees, retail/rental cost of sales and labor, ski school labor and dining operations; as such, profit margins can fluctuate greatly based on the level of revenues.
Lodging Segment
Operations within the Lodging segment include (i) ownership/management of a group of luxury hotels through the RockResorts brand proximate to our Colorado mountain resorts; (ii) ownership/management of non-RockResorts branded hotels and condominiums proximate to our North American mountain resorts; (iii) National Park Service (“NPS”) concessionaire properties including Grand Teton Lodging Company (“GTLC”); (iv) Colorado Mountain Express (“CME”), a Colorado resort ground transportation company; and, (v) mountain resort golf courses.

The performance of our lodging properties (including managed condominium units) proximate to our mountain resorts as well as CME is closely aligned with the performance of the Mountain segment and generally experiences similar seasonal trends, particularly with respect to visitation by Destination guests. Revenue from our lodging properties (including managed condominium units) proximate to our mountain resorts represented approximately 68%, 69% and 70% of Lodging segment net revenue (excluding Lodging segment revenue associated with reimbursement of payroll costs) for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively. Management primarily focuses on Lodging net revenue excluding payroll cost reimbursements 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. Revenue of the Lodging segment during our first and fourth fiscal quarters is generated primarily by the operations of our NPS concessionaire properties (as their operating season generally occurs from June to the end of September); mountain resort golf operations and seasonally lower volume from our other owned and managed properties and businesses.

Real Estate Segment
The principal activities of our Real Estate segment include the sale of land parcels to third-party developers and planning for future real estate development projects, including zoning and acquisition of applicable permits. We continue undertaking preliminary planning and design work on future projects and are pursuing opportunities with third-party developers rather than undertaking our own significant vertical development projects. Additionally, real estate development projects by third-party developers most often result in the creation of certain resort assets that provide additional benefit to the Mountain segment. We believe that, due to our low carrying cost of real estate land investments, we are well situated to promote future projects by third-party developers while limiting our financial risk. 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
We have identified the following important factors (as well as uncertainties associated with such factors) that could impact our future financial performance:
The timing and amount of snowfall can have an impact on Mountain and Lodging revenue, particularly with regard 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, resulting in a more stabilized stream of lift revenue. Additionally, our season pass products provide a compelling value proposition to our guests, which in turn creates a guest commitment predominantly prior to the start of the ski season. In March 2017, we began our pre-season pass sales program for the 2017/2018 North American ski season. Through September 24, 2017, pre-season pass sales for the upcoming 2017/2018 North American ski season have increased approximately 17% in units and increased approximately 23% in sales dollars, compared to the prior year period ended September 25, 2016, including Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe pass sales in both periods, adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying current period exchange rates to the prior period. However, we cannot predict if this favorable trend will continue for the entire duration of the fall 2017 North American pass sales campaign, nor can we predict the overall impact that season pass sales will have on lift revenue for the 2017/2018 North American ski season.

39







On October 17, 2016, the Company, through its wholly-owned Canadian subsidiary (“Exchangeco”), acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Whistler Blackcomb for aggregate consideration to Whistler Blackcomb shareholders of approximately $1.09 billion, consisting of (i) approximately C$673.8 million in cash (or C$17.50 per Whistler Blackcomb share), (ii) 3,327,719 shares of our common stock, and (iii) 418,095 shares of Exchangeco (the “Exchangeco Shares”). The cash purchase consideration portion was funded through borrowings from an incremental term loan under our Seventh Amended and Restated Credit Agreement (the “Vail Holdings Credit Agreement”). Whistler Blackcomb, through a 75% ownership interest in Whistler Mountain Resort Limited Partnership and a 75% ownership interest in Blackcomb Skiing Enterprises Limited Partnership, collectively (the “WB Partnerships”), operates a four season mountain resort that features two adjacent and integrated mountains, Whistler Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain. The remaining 25% ownership interest in each of the WB Partnerships is held by Nippon Cable, an unrelated party to Vail Resorts. We expect that Whistler Blackcomb will significantly contribute to our results of operations; however, we cannot predict whether we will realize all of the expected synergies from the combination of the operations of Whistler Blackcomb nor can we predict all the resources required to integrate Whistler Blackcomb operations and the ultimate impact Whistler Blackcomb will have on our future results of operations.

The estimated fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition are substantially complete and are based on the information that was available as of the acquisition date. We believe that information provides a reasonable basis for estimating the fair values of assets acquired and liabilities assumed; however, we are obtaining additional information necessary to finalize those estimated fair values. Therefore, the measurements of estimated fair value reflected within the Consolidated Balance Sheets as of July 31, 2017 and their associated impact to our Consolidated Statements of Operations are subject to change.

In Fiscal 2017, our lift revenue was favorably impacted by non-pass price increases at our mountain resorts that were implemented for the 2016/2017 North American ski season. Non-pass prices for the 2017/2018 North American ski season have not yet been finalized; and, as such, there can be no assurances as to the level of price increases, if any, which will occur and the impact that pricing may have on visitation or revenue.

Our Fiscal 2017 results for our Mountain segment showed strong improvement over Fiscal 2016 largely due to strong pass sales growth for the 2016/2017 North American ski season and the incremental operating results from the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, as discussed above. However, our Fiscal 2017 results were tempered by poor early ski season conditions prior to the holiday period at our U.S. resorts, which drove lower skier visitation during the early ski season compared to Fiscal 2016. We cannot predict whether our resorts will experience normal snowfall conditions for the upcoming 2017/2018 North American ski season nor can we estimate the impact there may be to advance bookings, guest travel, season pass sales, lift revenue (excluding season passes), retail/rental sales or other ancillary services revenue next ski season as a result of past snowfall conditions.

Key U.S. economic indicators have remained steady in 2017, including strong consumer confidence and declines in the unemployment rate. However, the growth in the U.S. economy may be impacted by economic challenges in the U.S. or declining or slowing growth in economies outside of the U.S., accompanied by devaluation of currencies and lower commodity prices. Given these economic uncertainties, we cannot predict what the impact will be on overall travel and leisure spending or more specifically, on our guest visitation, guest spending or other related trends for the upcoming 2017/2018 U.S. ski season.

On June 7, 2017, we acquired Stowe mountain resort in Stowe, Vermont, from Mt. Mansfield Company, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of American International Group, Inc., for a cash purchase price of $40.9 million, subject to certain adjustments as provided in the purchase agreement. We acquired all of the assets related to the mountain operations of the resort, including base area skier services (food and beverage, retail and rental, lift ticket offices and ski and snowboard school facilities). We expect that Stowe will positively contribute to our results of operations; however, we cannot predict whether we will realize all of the synergies expected from the operations of Stowe and the ultimate impact Stowe will have on our future results of operations.

As of July 31, 2017, we had $117.4 million in cash and cash equivalents, as well as $280.2 million available under the revolver component of the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement (which represents the total commitment of $400.0 million less outstanding borrowings of $50.0 million and certain letters of credit outstanding of $69.8 million). Additionally, in October 2016 we amended our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement to provide for an incremental term loan of $509.4 million, for a total term loan amount outstanding of $750.0 million, to fund the cash portion of the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition. Also, we assumed in the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition a credit facility which supports the liquidity needs of Whistler Blackcomb (the “Whistler Credit Agreement”). As of July 31, 2017, we had C$158.0 million ($126.7

40






million) available under the revolver component of the Whistler Credit Agreement (which represents the total commitment of C$300.0 million ($240.7 million) less outstanding borrowings of C$141.0 million ($113.2 million) and a letter of credit outstanding of C$1.0 million ($0.8 million)).

We believe that the terms of our Vail Holdings Credit Agreement allows for sufficient flexibility in our ability to make future acquisitions, investments, distributions to stockholders and incur additional debt. This, combined with the continued positive cash flow from operating activities of our Mountain and Lodging segments less resort capital expenditures, has and is anticipated to continue to provide us with significant liquidity. We believe our liquidity will allow us to consider strategic investments and other forms of returning value to our stockholders including additional share repurchases and the continued payment of a quarterly cash dividend.

As a result of the adoption of revised accounting guidance related to employee stock compensation during the first quarter of fiscal 2018, our provision for income taxes may change materially based on our closing stock price at the time stock-compensation awards vest or are exercised, depending on the nature of the award. A significant portion of our outstanding awards are significantly in-the-money based on our current stock price, and, to the extent exercised, could reduce our provision for income taxes. The aggregate intrinsic value of stock appreciation awards (“SAR”) exercisable as of July 31, 2017 was approximately $323.0 million with a weighted-average remaining contractual term of 3.7 years. The actual number of shares issuable upon exercise of SARs, after deducting shares withheld to pay employee taxes, as well as the incremental tax benefit for us, would vary depending on the stock price at the time of exercise and the amount of SARs that are exercised. We expect that holders of stock-compensation awards will exercise their awards before the expiration date of the awards. Depending on the amount of SARs exercised in fiscal 2018 and the then-current stock price, it is possible that such exercises could result in a material reduction to our provision for income taxes and could have a material favorable impact on our diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. As an example, assuming the new accounting guidance was in effect as of July 31, 2017 and that the outstanding SARs expiring prior to July 31, 2019 were exercised at the market closing price on July 31, 2017, this illustrative example would have resulted in a reduction to our provision for income taxes by approximately $45.0 million, resulting in an increase to diluted net income per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of approximately $1.10. Based on the assumptions above, we estimate that for every $5.00 per share change in our stock price there would be a corresponding change to our provision for income taxes of approximately $1.0 million. In addition, it is possible that SAR exercises could have a material impact on our “earnings and profits” and could result in a portion of dividend payments being considered a return of capital for stockholder tax purposes. The foregoing effects depend on, among other things, the stock price on the date of exercise and the number of SARs, if any, that are exercised.

Results of Operations
Summary
Shown below is a summary of operating results for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015 (in thousands):

 
Year Ended July 31,
   
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Mountain Reported EBITDA
$
566,338

 
$
424,415

 
$
344,104

Lodging Reported EBITDA
27,087

 
28,169

 
21,676

Resort Reported EBITDA
$
593,425

 
$
452,584

 
$
365,780

Real Estate Reported EBITDA
$
(399
)
 
$
2,784

 
$
(6,915
)
Income before provision for income taxes
$
348,449

 
$
242,619

 
$
149,328

Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.
$
210,553

 
$
149,754

 
$
114,754


A discussion of segment results, including reconciliations of segment Reported EBITDA to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc., and other items can be found below.

The sections titled “Fiscal 2017 compared to Fiscal 2016” and “Fiscal 2016 compared to Fiscal 2015” in each of the Mountain and Lodging segment discussions below provide comparisons of financial and operating performance for Fiscal 2017 to Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2016 to Fiscal 2015, respectively, unless otherwise noted.


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Mountain Segment
Mountain segment operating results for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except ETP):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Percentage
 
Year Ended July 31,
 
Increase/(Decrease)
   
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017/2016
 
2016/2015
Mountain net revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Lift
$
818,341

 
$
658,047

 
$
536,458

 
24.4
%
 
22.7
 %
Ski school
177,748

 
143,249

 
126,206

 
24.1
%
 
13.5
 %
Dining
150,587

 
121,008

 
101,010

 
24.4
%
 
19.8
 %
Retail/rental
293,428

 
241,134

 
219,153

 
21.7
%
 
10.0
 %
Other
171,682

 
141,166

 
121,202

 
21.6
%
 
16.5
 %
Total Mountain net revenue
1,611,786

 
1,304,604

 
1,104,029

 
23.5
%
 
18.2
 %
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Mountain operating expense:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Labor and labor-related benefits
403,020

 
338,250

 
291,582

 
19.1
%
 
16.0
 %
Retail cost of sales
112,902

 
93,946

 
87,817

 
20.2
%
 
7.0
 %
Resort related fees
83,503

 
68,890

 
59,685

 
21.2
%
 
15.4
 %
General and administrative
199,582

 
173,640

 
147,272

 
14.9
%
 
17.9
 %
Other
248,324

 
206,746

 
190,791

 
20.1
%
 
8.4
 %
Total Mountain operating expense
1,047,331

 
881,472

 
777,147

 
18.8
%
 
13.4
 %
Gain on litigation settlement

 

 
16,400

 
%
 
(100.0
)%
Mountain equity investment income, net
1,883

 
1,283

 
822

 
46.8
%
 
56.1
 %
Mountain Reported EBITDA
$
566,338

 
$
424,415

 
$
344,104

 
33.4
%
 
23.3
 %
Total skier visits
12,047

 
10,032

 
8,466

 
20.1
%
 
18.5
 %
ETP
$
67.93

 
$
65.59

 
$
63.37

 
3.6
%
 
3.5
 %

Certain Mountain segment operating expenses presented above for Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015 have been reclassified to conform to the presentation for Fiscal 2017.

Mountain Reported EBITDA includes $15.0 million , $13.4 million and $11.8 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively.

Fiscal 2017 compared to Fiscal 2016
The results reflect an increase in Mountain Reported EBITDA of $141.9 million, or 33.4%, due primarily to the operations of Whistler Blackcomb, which is included in our consolidated results prospectively from the acquisition date (acquired in October 2016), partially offset by $10.8 million of acquisition and integration related expenses. Additionally, Stowe was acquired in June 2017 and their off-season operations are included in our consolidated results prospectively from the acquisition date. Excluding acquisition and integration related expenses and the operations of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe, Mountain Reported EBITDA increased 9.1%. Our results reflect strong U.S. season pass sales growth for the 2016/2017 North American ski season. However, our Fiscal 2017 results were tempered by poor early ski season conditions prior to the holiday period at our U.S. resorts which drove lower skier visitation during the early ski season.

Lift revenue increased $160.3 million, or 24.4%, primarily due to incremental lift revenue from Whistler Blackcomb. Excluding Whistler Blackcomb, total lift revenue increased 6.4% of which non-pass revenue decreased 1.5% and pass revenue increased 18.3%. The decrease in non-pass revenue, excluding Whistler Blackcomb, was primarily the result of a decrease in non-pass skier visitation to our U.S. resorts, primarily due to continued shifting of Destination guests to season passes and poor early season conditions in Colorado, partially offset by an increase in ETP excluding season pass holders of 6.5%. The increase in pass revenue, excluding Whistler Blackcomb, was due to a combination of both an increase in pricing and units sold and was favorably impacted by increased pass sales to Destination guests. The change in total ETP was negatively impacted by the inclusion of Whistler Blackcomb’s ETP in our Fiscal 2017 results, which was lower on a U.S. dollar basis than the Company average. Total ETP, excluding Whistler Blackcomb, increased $7.49, or 11.4%, due primarily to price increases in both our lift ticket products at our

42






U.S. mountain resorts and season pass products, and lower average visitation by U.S. season pass holders during the 2016/2017 U.S. ski season as compared with the 2015/2016 U.S. ski season.

Ski school revenue increased $34.5 million, or 24.1%, primarily due to incremental ski school revenue from Whistler Blackcomb. Excluding Whistler Blackcomb, ski school revenue increased 2.7%, primarily due to increases in pricing. Dining revenue increased $29.6 million, or 24.4%, due to incremental revenue from Whistler Blackcomb. Excluding Whistler Blackcomb, dining revenue increased 0.6%.

Retail/rental revenue increased $52.3 million, or 21.7%, primarily due to incremental retail/rental revenue from Whistler Blackcomb. Excluding Whistler Blackcomb, retail revenue increased 2.1% and rental revenue increased 0.8%. The increase in retail revenue was primarily attributable to strong sales at pre-ski season sales events at our stores in Colorado and higher sales volumes at stores proximate to our Tahoe and Park City resorts.

Other revenue mainly consists of summer visitation and mountain activities revenue, employee housing revenue, guest services revenue, commercial leasing revenue, marketing and internet advertising revenue, private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue. Other revenue also is comprised of Perisher lodging and transportation revenue. For Fiscal 2017, other revenue increased $30.5 million, or 21.6%, primarily attributable to incremental revenue from Whistler Blackcomb. Excluding Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe, other revenue increased 2.2% primarily due to an increase in summer activities revenue from our U.S. mountain resorts, including the expansion of our on-mountain Epic Discovery summer activities offerings.

Operating expense for Fiscal 2017 increased $165.9 million, or 18.8%, which was primarily attributable to incremental operating expenses from Whistler Blackcomb, as well as $10.8 million of acquisition and integration related expenses. Excluding incremental operating expenses of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe and acquisition and integration related activities, operating expense increased 1.7%.

The following discussion provides information about the changes in operating expenses for Fiscal 2017, excluding acquisition and integration related expenses and the operations of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe. Labor and labor-related benefits increased 2.8% primarily due to normal wage adjustments and increased staffing levels at our U.S. resorts to support the expansion of our on-mountain Epic Discovery summer activities offerings, partially offset by lower performance-based variable compensation. Retail cost of sales increased 1.3%, compared to an increase in retail sales of 2.0%. Resort related fees increased 3.5% due to overall increases in revenue upon which those fees are based. General and administrative expense increased 1.3% due to increased corporate overhead costs. Other expense decreased 0.2% primarily due to decreased professional services expense and repairs and maintenance expense, partially offset by increased rent expense and utilities expense.

Mountain equity investment income, net primarily includes our share of income from the operations of a real estate brokerage joint venture.

Fiscal 2016 compared to Fiscal 2015
Fiscal 2016 results reflect an increase in Mountain Reported EBITDA of $80.3 million, or 23.3%. This increase was primarily due to strong U.S. pass sales growth for the 2015/2016 U.S. ski season; a strong rebound at our Tahoe resorts; continued growth at our Colorado resorts and Park City; strong ancillary guest spending for ski school, dining and retail/rental operations; as well as the addition of a full year of Perisher results (acquired in June 2015). Our Tahoe resorts saw a significant increase in skier visitation during the 2015/2016 U.S. ski season, primarily as a result of improved weather conditions and snowfall in the Tahoe region compared to Fiscal 2015. Our Colorado resorts and Park City realized strong increases in skier visitation during Fiscal 2016 compared to Fiscal 2015. We believe the increase at Park City is due in part to the significant capital improvements we made at the resort, including connecting Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons into the largest resort in the U.S., and our marketing efforts surrounding the investments and connection. Mountain Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2016 was also positively impacted by the addition of Perisher (acquired in June 2015), which has its operating season from June through early October; increased summer activities revenue; and the lack of acquisition and integration related expenses and litigation expenses incurred during Fiscal 2015 related to Park City and Perisher. These favorable impacts were partially offset by a modest decline in international visitation to our U.S. mountain resorts during the 2015/2016 U.S. ski season and the $16.4 million non-cash gain on the Park City litigation settlement recognized during Fiscal 2015. The non-cash gain on the Park City litigation (which was recorded separately from our acquisition of Park City Mountain Resort) represents the estimated fair value of the settlement, which we obtained the right to in the acquisition of Canyons resort in fiscal 2013 (the “Canyons transaction”), from the Canyons transaction date of May 29, 2013 to the Park City Mountain Resort acquisition date.


43






Lift revenue increased $121.6 million, or 22.7%, which includes $24.0 million of incremental lift revenue from Perisher. U.S. non-pass revenue increased $58.7 million, or 18.9%, and U.S. pass revenue increased $38.9 million, or 18.1%. The increase in U.S. non-pass revenue was primarily the result of an increase in the ETP excluding season pass holders of 9.8%, along with higher visitation at our Tahoe resorts and Park City. The increase in U.S. pass revenue was due to a combination of both an increase in units sold and pricing, and was favorably impacted by increased pass sales to Destination guests. Total ETP increased $2.22, or 3.5%, due primarily to price increases in both our lift ticket products and season pass products, partially offset by higher average visitation by season pass holders during the 2015/2016 ski season as compared with the 2014/2015 ski season.

Ski school revenue increased $17.0 million, or 13.5%, primarily as a result of increases in ski school revenue at our Colorado, Tahoe and Park City resorts, which were attributable to overall increases in skier visitation and pricing, as well as incremental ski school revenue from Perisher.

Dining revenue increased $20.0 million, or 19.8%, which was primarily attributable to overall increases in skier and summer visitation at our U.S. mountain resorts combined with incremental Perisher dining revenue. Additionally, dining revenue benefited from the earlier opening of terrain and on-mountain dining facilities at our Tahoe resorts, and from both the opening of a new on-mountain dining venue and upgrades of existing on-mountain dining venues at Park City.

Retail/rental revenue increased $22.0 million, or 10.0%, due to an increase in retail sales of $13.0 million, or 8.2%, and an increase in rental revenue of $9.0 million, or 15.3%. The increase in retail revenue was primarily attributable to an increase in sales volume at stores proximate to our Tahoe resorts and in the San Francisco Bay Area due to improved weather conditions and snowfall in the Tahoe region and incremental retail revenue from Perisher. The increase in rental revenue was primarily due to stores proximate to our mountain resorts in Tahoe and Colorado which experienced higher volumes due to increased overall skier visitation and incremental rental revenue from Perisher.

Other revenue mainly consists of summer visitation and mountain activities revenue, employee housing revenue, guest services revenue, commercial leasing revenue, marketing and internet advertising revenue, private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue. Other revenue also is comprised of Perisher lodging and transportation revenue. For Fiscal 2016, other revenue increased $20.0 million, or 16.5%, primarily attributable to incremental revenue from Perisher; increases in summer activities revenue from improved summer visitation at both our Colorado and Tahoe mountain resorts, including the expansion of our on-mountain Epic Discovery summer activities offerings; increases in marketing revenue due to higher revenue from our strategic partner; and higher base area services and parking revenue due to increased visitation.

Operating expense for Fiscal 2016 increased $104.3 million, or 13.4%, which includes incremental operating expenses from Perisher of $34.0 million. Additionally, Fiscal 2016 operating expenses were favorably impacted by the lack of acquisition and integration related expenses and litigation expenses of $11.2 million incurred in Fiscal 2015 related to Park City and Perisher. Excluding Perisher incremental operating expenses and acquisition and integration related expenses and litigation expenses related to Park City and Perisher, operating expenses increased $81.5 million, or 10.7%.

The following discussion provides information about the changes in operating expenses for Fiscal 2016, excluding the operations of Perisher, and Park City and Perisher acquisition and integration related expenses and litigation expenses from Fiscal 2015. Labor and labor-related benefits increased $33.1 million, or 11.5%, due to wage adjustments; increased staffing levels to support higher volumes primarily in ski school, mountain operations and on-mountain dining; and increased performance-based variable compensation. Retail cost of sales increased $5.6 million, or 6.4%, compared to an increase in retail revenue of $11.9 million, or 7.5%. Resort related fees increased $9.2 million, or 15.6%, due to overall increases in revenue upon which those fees are based. General and administrative expense increased $22.1 million, or 15.1%, primarily due to higher Mountain segment component of corporate overhead costs, including increased sales and marketing expense and performance-based variable compensation. Other expense increased $11.5 million, or 6.4%, primarily due to increases in repairs and maintenance, supplies, food and beverage cost of sales commensurate with increases in dining revenue, and rent expense, partially offset by lower fuel expense.

Mountain equity investment income, net primarily includes our share of income from the operations of a real estate brokerage joint venture.


44






Lodging Segment
Lodging segment operating results for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015 are presented by category as follows (in thousands, except ADR and RevPAR):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Percentage
 
Year Ended July 31,
 
Increase/(Decrease)
   
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017/2016
 
2016/2015
Lodging net revenue:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Owned hotel rooms
$
63,939

 
$
63,520

 
$
57,916

 
0.7
 %
 
9.7
 %
Managed condominium rooms
65,694

 
61,934

 
58,936

 
6.1
 %
 
5.1
 %
Dining
48,449

 
49,225

 
46,209

 
(1.6
)%
 
6.5
 %
Transportation
22,173

 
22,205

 
23,079

 
(0.1
)%
 
(3.8
)%
Golf
17,837

 
17,519

 
16,340

 
1.8
 %
 
7.2
 %
Other
46,238

 
47,833

 
41,760

 
(3.3
)%
 
14.5
 %
 
264,330

 
262,236

 
244,240

 
0.8
 %
 
7.4
 %
Payroll cost reimbursements
14,184

 
12,318

 
10,313

 
15.1
 %
 
19.4
 %
Total Lodging net revenue
278,514

 
274,554

 
254,553

 
1.4
 %
 
7.9
 %
Lodging operating expense:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Labor and labor-related benefits
117,183

 
114,404

 
110,168

 
2.4
 %
 
3.8
 %
General and administrative
37,217

 
35,351

 
32,481

 
5.3
 %
 
8.8
 %
Other
82,843

 
84,312

 
79,915

 
(1.7
)%
 
5.5
 %
 
237,243

 
234,067

 
222,564

 
1.4
 %
 
5.2
 %
Reimbursed payroll costs
14,184

 
12,318

 
10,313

 
15.1
 %
 
19.4
 %
Total Lodging operating expense
251,427

 
246,385

 
232,877

 
2.0
 %
 
5.8
 %
Lodging Reported EBITDA
$
27,087

 
$
28,169

 
$
21,676

 
(3.8
)%
 
30.0
 %
Owned hotel statistics:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ADR
$
245.31

 
$
227.27

 
$
216.76

 
7.9
%
 
4.8
%
RevPar
$
168.14

 
$
153.13

 
$
140.28

 
9.8
%
 
9.2
%
Managed condominium statistics:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ADR
$
347.64

 
$
325.38

 
$
316.32

 
6.8
%
 
2.9
%
RevPar
$
113.08

 
$
109.68

 
$
101.19

 
3.1
%
 
8.4
%
Owned hotel and managed condominium statistics (combined):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ADR
$
302.80

 
$
280.38

 
$
270.84

 
8.0
%
 
3.5
%
RevPar
$
127.95

 
$
122.61

 
$
112.67

 
4.4
%
 
8.8
%

Lodging Reported EBITDA includes $3.2 million , $3.1 million and $2.6 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively.

Fiscal 2017 compared to Fiscal 2016
Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2017 decreased $1.1 million, or 3.8%. Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2017 includes the operations of Whistler Blackcomb prospectively since the date of acquisition and was impacted by a reduction of revenue and EBITDA from the sale of a hotel property in Keystone in November 2016, which we continue to manage under a property management agreement. Included in Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2016 was the recognition of a $3.5 million termination fee (included in other revenue) associated with the termination of the management agreement at Half Moon in Montego Bay, Jamaica (“Half Moon Termination Fee”). Excluding Whistler Blackcomb operations from Fiscal 2017, operations from the hotel property in Keystone from both periods and the Half Moon Termination Fee from Fiscal 2016, Lodging Reported EBITDA increased 9.2%, which was primarily attributable to an increase in revenue at GTLC and increased ADR at our Colorado managed condominium rooms.


45






Revenue from owned hotel rooms increased $0.4 million, or 0.7%, primarily due to an increase in revenue at GTLC and at our owned Colorado lodging properties during Fiscal 2017. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in revenue associated with the sale of a hotel property in Keystone, as discussed above, as well as lower revenue due to the early closure of our Flagg Ranch property as a result of a forest fire near Grand Teton National Park in September 2016. Revenue from managed condominium rooms increased $3.8 million, or 6.1%, primarily due to revenue from Whistler Blackcomb and increased ADR at our Colorado managed properties, offset by the temporary closure of a lodging property at Park City for renovations.

Dining revenue for Fiscal 2017 decreased $0.8 million, or 1.6%, primarily due to the temporary closure of a lodging property at Park City for renovations, partially offset by increased dining revenue at our Colorado lodging properties. Excluding the Half Moon Termination Fee from Fiscal 2016, other revenue increased $1.9 million, or 4.2%, for Fiscal 2017, primarily due to business interruption insurance recovery related to the early closure of our Flagg Ranch property in September 2016, as discussed above, as well as an increase in revenue from our central reservations booking service.

Operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs) increased $3.2 million, or 1.4%. Labor and labor-related benefits increased $2.8 million, or 2.4%, primarily resulting from Whistler Blackcomb labor expense and normal wage increases. General and administrative expense increased $1.9 million, or 5.3% due to higher corporate overhead costs. Other expense decreased $1.5 million, or 1.7%, primarily due to decreased associated fees with respect to the temporary closure of a lodging property at Park City for renovations.

Revenue from payroll cost reimbursements and the corresponding reimbursed payroll costs relates to payroll costs at managed hotel properties where we are the employer and all payroll costs are reimbursed by the owners of the properties under contractual arrangements. Since the reimbursements are made based upon the costs incurred with no added margin, the revenue and corresponding expense have no effect on our Lodging Reported EBITDA.

Fiscal 2016 compared to Fiscal 2015
Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2016 increased $6.5 million, or 30.0%. Included in Lodging Reported EBITDA for Fiscal 2016 was the recognition of the $3.5 million Half Moon Termination Fee. Excluding the Half Moon Termination Fee, Lodging Reported EBITDA increased $3.0 million, or 13.9%, which was primarily due to increased visitation to our lodging properties and managed condominium rooms at or proximate to our U.S. mountain resorts. The increase in visitation was primarily due to increased skier visitation during the 2015/2016 U.S. ski season compared to the 2014/2015 U.S. ski season, as well as increased summer visitation at our U.S. mountain resorts compared to Fiscal 2015 (discussed in the Mountain section). Additionally, revenue at GTLC improved for Fiscal 2016 primarily as the result of increases in transient guest visitation, which drove higher guest spending on ancillary activities and services, and higher ADR.

Revenue from owned hotel rooms increased $5.6 million, or 9.7%, and was positively impacted by increases in ADR and transient visitation at GTLC, which generated an increase of $3.2 million compared to the prior year. Additionally, revenue at our Colorado lodging properties increased $2.4 million compared to the prior year as a result of improved transient guest visitation and an increase in ADR. The increase in visitation to our Colorado lodging properties was primarily attributable to increased skier visitation and improved summer visitation at our Colorado mountain resorts compared to the same period in Fiscal 2015. Revenue from managed condominium rooms increased $3.0 million, or 5.1%, primarily as the result of increased ADR at our managed condominium rooms in Colorado and Tahoe, which contributed to an 8.4% increase in managed condominium RevPAR.

Dining revenue for Fiscal 2016 increased $3.0 million, or 6.5%, primarily due to increased dining revenue generated at GTLC, Keystone and Breckenridge. Transportation revenue decreased $0.9 million, or 3.8%, for Fiscal 2016, primarily due to decreased passenger volume. Golf revenue increased $1.2 million, or 7.2%, primarily due to incremental revenue from reimbursable expenses for managing the Canyons golf course, which began operations in the summer of 2015, as well as increased revenue at our Colorado golf courses. Excluding the Half Moon Termination Fee, other revenue for Fiscal 2016 increased $2.6 million, or 6.2%, primarily due to an increase in ancillary revenue from improved visitation at GTLC, an increase in revenue from conference services provided to our group business at our Colorado lodging properties and an increase in revenue from our central reservations booking services, partially offset by a reduction in management fees due to the termination of the management agreement at Half Moon.

Operating expense (excluding reimbursed payroll costs) increased $11.5 million, or 5.2%. Labor and labor-related benefits increased $4.2 million, or 3.8%, resulting from wage adjustments and higher staffing levels associated with increased overall occupancy. General and administrative expense increased $2.9 million, or 8.8%, due to higher corporate overhead costs, including increased performance-based variable compensation. Other expense increased $4.4 million, or 5.5%, primarily due to higher operating expenses (such as repairs and maintenance expense, supplies expense, food and beverage cost of sales, and credit card fees) and higher advertising expenses.


46






Revenue from payroll cost reimbursements and the corresponding reimbursed payroll costs relates to payroll costs at managed hotel properties where we are the employer and all payroll costs are reimbursed by the owners of the properties under contractual arrangements. Since the reimbursements are made based upon the costs incurred with no added margin, the revenue and corresponding expense have no effect on our Lodging Reported EBITDA.

Real Estate Segment
Real Estate segment operating results for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015 are presented by category as follows (in thousands):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Percentage
 
Year Ended July 31,
 
Increase/(Decrease)
   
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017/2016
 
2016/2015
Total Real Estate net revenue
$
16,918

 
$
22,128

 
$
41,342

 
(23.5
)%
 
(46.5
)%
Real Estate operating expense:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cost of sales (including sales commissions)
14,534

 
17,682

 
34,765

 
(17.8
)%
 
(49.1
)%
Other
9,549

 
6,957

 
13,643

 
37.3
 %
 
(49.0
)%
Total Real Estate operating expense
24,083

 
24,639

 
48,408

 
(2.3
)%
 
(49.1
)%
       Gain on sale of real property
6,766

 
5,295

 
151

 
27.8
 %
 
3,406.6
 %
Real Estate Reported EBITDA
$
(399
)
 
$
2,784

 
$
(6,915
)
 
(114.3
)%
 
140.3
 %

Real Estate Reported EBITDA includes $0.1 million , $0.5 million and $1.3 million of stock-based compensation expense for Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively.

Our Real Estate operating revenue is primarily determined by the timing of closings and the mix of real estate sold in any given period. Different types of projects have different revenue and profit margins; therefore, as the real estate inventory mix changes it can greatly impact Real Estate segment net revenue, operating expense and Real Estate Reported EBITDA.

Fiscal 2017
Real Estate segment net revenue was primarily driven by the closing of four condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail ($13.6 million of revenue with an average selling price of $3.4 million and an average price per square foot of $1,345) and two condominium units at One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge ($2.3 million of revenue with an average sales price of $1.1 million and an average price per square foot of $983). The average price per square foot of both of these projects is driven by their premier locations and the comprehensive and exclusive amenities related to these projects. 

Operating expense included cost of sales of $13.4 million resulting from the closing of four condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail (average cost per square foot of $1,131) and two condominium units at One Ski Hill Place (average cost per square foot of $838). Additionally, sales commissions of approximately $1.0 million were incurred commensurate with revenue recognized. Other operating expense of $9.5 million was primarily comprised of a $4.3 million one-time charge related to the resolution of a financial contingency to the Town of Vail for incremental parking capacity, as well as general and administrative costs, which includes marketing expense for the real estate available for sale, carrying costs for units available for sale and overhead costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits and allocated corporate costs.

In addition, we recorded a gain on sale of real property of $6.5 million for a land parcel in Breckenridge which sold for $9.3 million during Fiscal 2017.

Fiscal 2016
Real Estate segment net revenue was driven primarily by the closing of five condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail ($15.6 million of revenue with an average selling price per unit of $3.1 million and an average price per square foot of $1,421); two condominium units at One Ski Hill Place in Breckenridge ($2.5 million of revenue with an average selling price per unit of $1.2 million and an average price per square foot of $1,129); and the three remaining condominium units at Crystal Peak Lodge, in Breckenridge ($2.4 million of revenue with an average selling price of $0.8 million and an average price per square foot of $707). The average price per square foot for all three projects is primarily due to their premier locations and the comprehensive and exclusive amenities related to these projects.


47






Operating expense included cost of sales of $15.6 million primarily resulting from the closing of five condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail (average cost per square foot of $1,075); two condominium units at One Ski Hill Place (average cost per square foot of $931); and three condominium units at Crystal Peak Lodge (average cost per square foot of $513). The cost per square foot for the One Ski Hill Place and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail projects is reflective of the high-end features and amenities and high construction costs associated with mountain resort development. Additionally, sales commissions of approximately $1.4 million were incurred commensurate with revenue recognized. Other operating expense of $7.0 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs which includes marketing expense for the real estate available for sale (including those units that have not yet closed), carrying costs for units available for sale and overhead costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits and allocated corporate costs.

In addition, we recorded a gain on sale of real property of $5.3 million (net of $2.1 million in related land basis and cost) for various land parcels which sold for $7.4 million.

Fiscal 2015
Real Estate segment net revenue was driven primarily by the closing of fourteen condominium units at One Ski Hill Place ($17.1 million of revenue with an average selling price per unit of $1.2 million and an average price per square foot of $1,145) and five condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail ($13.7 million of revenue with an average selling price per unit of $2.7 million and an average price per square foot of $1,438). Real Estate net revenue also included $8.5 million of revenue from the sale of a development land parcel in Vail.

Operating expense included cost of sales of $32.1 million primarily resulting from the closing of fourteen condominium units at One Ski Hill Place (average cost per square foot of $927), five condominium units at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail (average cost per square foot of $1,129) and the sale of a development land parcel in Vail. Additionally, sales commissions of approximately $2.1 million were incurred commensurate with revenue recognized. Other operating expense of $13.6 million was primarily comprised of general and administrative costs which includes marketing expense for the real estate available for sale (including those units that have not yet closed), carrying costs for units available for sale and overhead costs, such as labor and labor-related benefits and allocated corporate costs.

Other Items
In addition to segment operating results, the following material items contribute to our overall financial position (in thousands).
 
Year Ended July 31,
 
Percentage Increase/(Decrease)
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2017/2016
 
2016/2015
Depreciation and amortization
$
(189,157
)
 
$
(161,488
)
 
$
(149,123
)
 
(17.1
)%
 
(8.3
)%
Loss on disposal of fixed assets and other, net
$
(6,430
)
 
$
(5,418
)
 
$
(2,057
)
 
(18.7
)%
 
(163.4
)%
Change in fair value of contingent consideration
$
(16,300
)
 
$
(4,200
)
 
$
3,650

 
(288.1
)%
 
215.1
 %
Investment income and other, net
$
6,114

 
$
723

 
$
246

 
745.6
 %
 
193.9
 %
Interest expense, net
$
(54,089
)
 
$
(42,366
)
 
$
(51,241
)
 
(27.7
)%
 
17.3
 %
Foreign currency gain on intercompany loans
$
15,285

 
$

 
$

 
nm

 
 %
Loss on extinguishment of debt
$

 
$

 
$
(11,012
)
 
 %
 
100.0
 %
Provision for income taxes
$
(116,731
)
 
$
(93,165
)
 
$
(34,718
)
 
(25.3
)%
 
(168.3
)%

Depreciation and amortization . Depreciation and amortization expense for both Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2016 increased over the applicable prior fiscal year primarily due to an increase in the fixed asset base due to incremental capital expenditures, including the Park City transformation project, which was completed at the beginning of Fiscal 2016, and assets acquired in the Whistler Blackcomb (acquired October 2016) and Perisher (acquired June 2015) acquisitions.

Loss on disposal of fixed assets and other, net . Loss on disposal of fixed assets and other, net for Fiscal 2016 increased from Fiscal 2015 primarily due to an increase in asset disposals at Park City and Wilmot as a result of significant capital improvements at these resorts.

Change in fair value of contingent consideration . Losses of $16.3 million and $4.2 million were recorded during Fiscal 2017 and Fiscal 2016, respectively, related to increases in the estimated fair value of the participating contingent payments under the lease for Park City. The fair value of contingent consideration is based on assumptions for EBITDA of Park City in future periods, as calculated under the lease on which participating payments are determined. The increase in the estimated fair value for both these

48






periods is primarily attributable to a change in assumptions for EBITDA of Park City in future periods. A gain of $3.6 million was recorded during Fiscal 2015 and was related to a decrease in the estimated fair value of the participating contingent payments. The estimated fair value of the contingent consideration was $27.4 million and $11.1 million as of July 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively.

Investment income and other, net.  Investment income and other, net increased for Fiscal 2017 compared to the Fiscal 2016, primarily due to a $3.4 million gain recognized on short-term foreign currency forward contracts that were entered into in conjunction with funding the cash consideration required for the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, a $0.9 million gain recorded for the sale of a lodging property and a $0.8 million non-cash gain recognized on an investment in Whistler Blackcomb shares that were held prior to the acquisition.

Interest expense, net. Interest expense, net for Fiscal 2017 increased from Fiscal 2016, primarily due to interest expense associated with incremental term loan borrowings under the Vail Holdings Credit Agreement of $509.4 million which was used to fund the cash consideration portion of the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, as well as the Whistler Credit Agreement, which was assumed as part of the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, and had $113.2 million (C$141.0 million) outstanding as of July 31, 2017. Interest expense for Fiscal 2016 decreased as compared to Fiscal 2015 primarily due to the redemption of the remaining $215.0 million of our 6.50% Senior Subordinated Notes (“6.50% Notes”) outstanding and $41.2 million of our Industrial Development Bonds outstanding, both in May 2015. 

Foreign currency gain on intercompany loans. Foreign currency gain on intercompany loans for Fiscal 2017 of $15.3 million was associated with an intercompany loan from Vail Holdings, Inc. to Whistler Blackcomb in the amount of $210.0 million that was funded in connection with the acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb. This intercompany loan requires foreign currency remeasurement to Canadian dollars, the functional currency for Whistler Blackcomb. As a result, foreign currency fluctuations associated with the loan are recorded within our results of operations.

Loss on extinguishment of debt.  In May 2015, we redeemed the remaining $215.0 million of our 6.50% Notes outstanding and the entire $41.2 million of our Industrial Development Bonds outstanding. As a result, we recorded a loss on extinguishment of debt of $11.0 million in Fiscal 2015 in connection with the redemptions. The loss included early redemption premiums of 3.25% for the 6.50% Notes and 4.00% for the Industrial Development Bonds, or $8.6 million in total, and a $2.4 million write-off of associated unamortized debt issuance costs. There were no amounts outstanding for the 6.50% Notes or Industrial Development Bonds as of July 31, 2015.

Income taxes. Our effective tax rate was 33.5%, 38.4% and 23.2% in Fiscal 2017, Fiscal 2016 and Fiscal 2015, respectively. Our tax provision and effective tax rate are driven primarily by the amount of pre-tax income, which is adjusted for items that are deductible/non-deductible for tax purposes only (i.e. permanent items) and taxable income generated by state and foreign jurisdictions that varies from the consolidated pre-tax income and the amount of net income attributable to noncontrolling interests. The decrease in the effective tax rate during Fiscal 2017 compared to Fiscal 2016 is primarily associated with the Whistler Blackcomb acquisition, where the Canadian statutory tax rate is lower than the U.S. statutory tax rate. The increase in the effective tax rate for Fiscal 2016 compared to Fiscal 2015 is primarily attributable to the recording of $23.8 million of income tax benefits in Fiscal 2015 due to the reversal of income tax contingencies, including accrued interest and penalties, resulting from a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) on the utilization of certain net operating losses (“NOLs”), as discussed below.

In 2005, we amended previously filed tax returns (for the tax years from 1997 through 2002) in an effort to remove restrictions under Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code on approximately $73.8 million of NOLs relating to fresh start accounting from our reorganization in 1992. As a result, we requested a refund related to the amended returns in the amount of $6.2 million and reduced our Federal tax liability in the amount of $19.6 million in subsequent tax returns. In 2006, the IRS completed its examination of our filing position in our amended returns and disallowed our request for refund and our position to remove the restriction on the NOLs. We appealed the examiner’s disallowance of the NOLs to the Office of Appeals. In December 2008, the Office of Appeals denied our appeal, as well as a request for mediation. We disagreed with the IRS interpretation disallowing the utilization of the NOLs and in August 2009, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Colorado seeking recovery of $6.2 million in over payments that were previously denied by the IRS, plus interest. On July 1, 2011, the District Court granted us summary judgment, concluding that the IRS’s decision disallowing the utilization of the NOLs was inappropriate.  The District Court proceedings were stayed pending settlement discussions between the parties. We also filed two related tax proceedings in the United States Tax Court regarding calculation of NOL carryover deductions for tax years 2006, 2007 and 2008. The two proceedings involve substantially the same issues as the litigation in the District Court wherein we disagreed with the IRS as to the utilization of NOLs. The Tax Court proceedings were continued pending settlement discussions between the parties.

In January 2015, the parties completed the execution of a comprehensive settlement agreement resolving all issues and computations in the above mentioned pending proceedings, which allowed us to utilize a significant portion of the NOLs. As a result, we reversed

49






$27.7 million of other long-term liabilities related to uncertain tax benefits, and recorded income tax benefits of $23.8 million for the utilization of the NOLs, including the reversal of accrued interest and penalties, within our Consolidated Statements of Operations for Fiscal 2015.

Reconciliation of Segment Earnings
The following table reconciles from segment Reported EBITDA to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. (in thousands):
 
 
Year Ended July 31,
   
2017
 
2016
 
2015
Mountain Reported EBITDA
$
566,338

 
$
424,415

 
$
344,104

Lodging Reported EBITDA
27,087

 
28,169

 
21,676

Resort Reported EBITDA
593,425

 
452,584

 
365,780

Real Estate Reported EBITDA
(399
)
 
2,784

 
(6,915
)
Total Reported EBITDA
593,026

 
455,368

 
358,865

Depreciation and amortization
(189,157
)
 
(161,488
)
 
(149,123
)
Loss on disposal of fixed assets and other, net
(6,430
)
 
(5,418
)
 
(2,057
)
Change in fair value of contingent consideration
(16,300
)
 
(4,200
)
 
3,650

Investment income and other, net
6,114

 
723

 
246

Foreign currency gain on intercompany loans
15,285

 

 

Interest expense, net
(54,089
)
 
(42,366
)
 
(51,241
)
Loss on extinguishment of debt

 

 
(11,012
)
Income before provision for income taxes
348,449

 
242,619

 
149,328

Provision for income taxes
(116,731
)
 
(93,165
)
 
(34,718
)
Net income
231,718

 
149,454

 
114,610

Net (income) loss attributable to noncontrolling interests
(21,165
)
 
300

 
144

Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.
$
210,553

 
$
149,754

 
$
114,754


The following table reconciles Net Debt (defined as long-term debt, net plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents) to long-term debt, net (in thousands):
 
July 31,
   
2017
 
2016
Long-term debt, net
$
1,234,024

 
$
686,909

Long-term debt due within one year
38,397

 
13,354