... As a result, we find ourselves with a very strong balance sheet and assets that have been primed for the future. ... During these tough times, we must stay true to our core values and all of our stakeholders and we must be maniacally focused on delivering the exceptional guest experience that we are all about.... Importantly, our Company had begun the process of identifying efficiencies in early 2008, with particular focus on anything we spend outside the Company, including ongoing efforts on all of our purchasing, our energy use and our own travel and entertainment expenses. We had also begun to reduce fees to outside consultants, trade groups and service providers. However, with the external challenges continuing, we have decided to implement certain changes to address these new hurdles...I can also assure everyone that none of the following changes will in any way impact the guest experience
(i) We have made the difficult decision to let go approximately 50 people out of our 3,300 year-round staff and eliminate an additional 92 open or unfilled positions. The positions include employees from the Coordinator to Director levels across all of our business units. Ending someone’s time with the Company is always difficult and I can assure you that everyone impacted will be treated fairly and with dignity.
(ii) All merit increases for those Grades 26-30 have been deferred from October 1 to January 1 and there will be no salary increases of any kind given to any Executives during all of Fiscal 2009. This policy has previously been communicated to those impacted.
(iii) The Company will be suspending its match of employee 401(k) contributions for all of calendar 2009, but will revisit the policy based on the economic outlook for calendar 2010.
(iv) We will be reorganizing our Company-wide marketing efforts, leaving the brand/resort leadership and all local and rapid-response efforts at the resorts, but providing centralized support for all of the creative and paid media efforts we undertake across the company.
To some, these changes will seem drastic, to others it may seem like not enough. ....
I realize that the most common question at a time like this is, “Is it over or will there be more changes in the future?” I wish I could guarantee to everyone there would be no more changes. But just like some of the smartest economic minds in the world are not sure what is coming next, we don’t know either. And in any event, there will always be more changes - whether easy or hard to accept. The key is for us to stay ahead of whatever is coming, ready to show how our Company can outperform not just in good times, but in tough times as well.
Regarding the letter to employees, so top brass asking everyone to tighten belt, lay-offs, no more 401k contribs, etc - yet they draw an average 1/2 million dollar salaries??!! WTF?! GREED will kill these f*&kers. Nothing like upsetting your employees. This thing will fall - employee moral with kill them because customer svc is going to tank!
i agree the current trading outlook of mtn is not the best. but the whole of MTN is only valued around book, they have de minimus debt due in the next 5-years and represent a unique asset. why wouldn't you want to own it when the price is low? did you like homebuiders better in 2004 than now? did you like mosaic better 6-months ago than now?
The average VAIL visitor is only one mountain. Keystone, Breck, Heavenly etc ..cater to families who are struggling right now. They are also a heavy RE company - how is that valued? Also, if they could rely on the Vail income - why the big push on the EPIC pass - which is for daily visitors - and the big marketing campaign in Colorado of late... one thinks they really count on the daily visitors from the state as well .. I don't know ..but, this sure is different from last December - when Speedy was trying to push down the stock before the treasury stocks were picked up ... I mean c'mon ... The ecomony is tanking in a big way ...let's get real here ... even Madoff lost a ton for wealthy and the dow is down - what 40% - meaning even rich people lost a ton of money ... I am pulling for the company because I love Colorado and all it's employers, but really now ... get real ... just take your lumps, be above the board and wait out the recession/depression thing like the rest of us ... sheesh
The average household income of people going to Vail is $300K according to presentation materials. Not exactly middle america. Some bankers obviously won't be going, hence the reported decline in reservations. The opportunity with this stock is just your comment, too much worry about near term. These guys don't have to pay debt for 5 years and earn great cashflow. The fortunate capital structure makes this a great play for the patient. On 12-months ago the Lehman ananlyst said just the real estate was worth $12/share, which is just a bonus given $200mn or resort/loding EBITDA.
hahaha My ouija board is wifi connected to the number of skiers in the county (summit). Hold on, more info is coming through. dit dat dit Hmmmmmm, skier numbers are looking better and better. The snow is strong, this could end up a record snow year if it keeps it up! Avalanches galore.
Bookings are down 23% from last year. Town seems a little quiet, but it's still about a week away from being able to tell for sure how bad things are. By the early Jan. slow down, everyone will know exactly what we are dealing with.
I wouldn't start a long or short position until closer to Christmas.