Vail Resorts announces $20 per hour starting wage next season

BROOMFIELD, Colo. — Vail Resorts reported results for the second fiscal quarter of 2022 on Monday afternoon.

The company announced that it will increase its minimum wage to $20 per hour next season at all 37 of its North American resorts (C$20 per hour in Canada). All career and leadership wage differentials will be maintained, providing “a significant increase in pay to all of its hourly employees.”

Roles with specific experiences or certification as prerequisites, such as entry-level patrol, commercial drivers, and maintenance technicians, will start at $21 per hour.

“At Park City Mountain, that represents a $5 per hour increase (which is up 33%) from this season,” Park City Mountain spokesperson Emily McDonald said.

“Entry-level ski patrollers and maintenance team members will start at $21 per hour.”

The Park City Professional Ski Patrol Association threatened to strike earlier this year, as negotiations with the company over starting wages entered into its 50 bargaining session. After a 15-hour meeting, the two finally agreed to a contract with a $19 per hour average starting wage.

Season-to-date through March 6, Vail Resorts’ total skier visits are up 11.7% compared to the prior year. Visits are up 2.8% compared to the fiscal year 2020 season-to-date period.

Total lift revenue is up 21.1% compared to the same period in the prior year, primarily due to an increase in pass sales. Vail cut the price of its staple product, the Epic Pass, by 20% heading into this season — leading to a sales increase of almost 50%.

“The growth in pass units did not drive dramatic increases in visitation, as the Company is shifting lift ticket guests into advance commitment products,” Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said in a statement.

“In fact, the growth we saw in visitation in the period ending March 6, 2022, compared to fiscal 2020, occurred on weekdays and non-holiday periods, which were up approximately 9% in visits, compared to weekend and holiday periods, which were approximately flat in visits.

“We also saw peak daily visitation at our resorts during the period, very consistent with previous years. For the season-to-date period ending March 6, 2022, 69% of our visits came from season pass holders compared to 56% of visits in the same period in fiscal year 2020.

“We remain committed to our strategy to move lift ticket purchasers into advance commitment products, which offers benefits to our guests, and stability to our employees, our communities, and our Company.”

The company also announced that corporate employees are no longer required to work in the Broomfield, Colorado headquarters.

Additionally, 66 human resources employees will be hired to help directly support employees.

More from earnings:

  • Ski school revenue up 60.2% compared to 20/21, -8.9% from 19/20
  • Dining revenue up 75.7% from 20/21, -27% from 19/20
  • Retail/rental revenue up 40.7% from 20/21, -28% from 19/20

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that the Park City ski patrol union successfully bargained for a $19 per hour starting wage. They agreed to a contract with a $19 per hour average wage. The contract had a $16 per hour starting wage. 

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