Snow Business

This is a partial transcript from "Your World with Neil Cavuto," December 10, 2004, that was edited for clarity.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: My next guest is hoping for snow and lots of it this winner. Vail Resorts (search) looking for a big lift from the busy ski season. The company out with first quarter results, delivering a bigger loss than it did a year ago.

Joining me now from the base of Vail Mountain is company boss Adam Aron, where it just snowed another foot, I guess, in the last 24 hours.

Mr. Aron, good to have you back.

ADAM ARON, CEO, VAIL RESORTS (MTN): Neil, it's nice to be with you. And you are right; it has been snowing like crazy in Vail, Colorado.

CAVUTO: Why the loss? What happened?

ARON: Well, the quarter at we just ended, our first fiscal quarter, is August, September and October. Not a lot of skiers skiing on Vail Mountain in August and September.

CAVUTO: Yes, but I think even the estimates, it was below the estimates. So what happened?

ARON: Well, actually, we only missed the estimate by a penny, and that penny was charges associated with extinguishing some debt so that we could sell the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, at our Beaver Creek Ski Resort.

CAVUTO: I got you.

ARON: We announced just Thursday that we did sell that hotel, and by the way we sold the hotel at an eye-popping 28 times EBITDA, so actually, this is very good news at Vail Resorts today.

CAVUTO: We just had a meteorologist on earlier, Adam, on the show, who's said effectively this will be a colder winter than normal across much of the United States, anywhere from two to three degrees. I have no idea whether that's significant, but he seemed to think it was.

What does that mean for your industry?

ARON: We certainly like that. I mean, snow, snow, and more snow. It's been cold and wet in the Rockies since July. It snowed in September. It snowed in October. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, we got three feet of snow.

Just in the past 48 hours alone, there's been about two feet of snow dumping at our Heavenly Ski Resort in lake Tahoe, at our Breckenridge Ski Resort here in Colorado and behind me here in Vail.

CAVUTO: Does the improvement in the economy lift your skis, as well?

ARON: I think it will. We certainly had a good year last year when the economy was starting to perk up. Actually, the EBITDA in our resort operations was up 40 percent -- four-zero -- 40 percent last year.


ARON: And we're looking for another strong year this year. And also coming with this economic recovery is a cheap dollar. That means more international visitors to Colorado, as well.

CAVUTO: Adam Aron, we wish you well. Stay warm, I guess. Adam Aron, thank you.

ARON: Thank you.

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