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As Share Prices Tumble, Wall Street Says Vail Needs to Clean Up Operations

Share price went from $372 in November to $276 in February, following national criticism over its management and sales strategies.

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Wall Street analysts have a clear—if somewhat harsh—message for Vail Resorts amid reports of overcrowding, staff shortages, and poor management at its 40 ski areas.

“Digest what you have,” wrote Patrick Scholes of Truist Securities, one of 13 investment banks with employees assigned to analyze the company’s stock.

“Before [Vail Resorts] starts acquiring any more resorts, we would like to see it get the operational issues straightened out, especially at its more recently acquired resorts,” Scholes wrote in a February opinion. “We hope [Vail Resorts] addresses these issues at its upcoming investor day on March 22 and provides an action plan on what they intend to do on staffing issues and employee housing.”

Vail Resorts is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker MTN, and in recent years it has acquired multiple ski areas across the country. In 2021 it purchased three ski areas in Pennsylvania, and in 2019 it purchased Peak Resorts, a company that owned 17 different ski areas.

Over the past few months, the company has seen its share price tumble, from $372 in November to $276 in February, following national criticism over its management and sales strategies.

The Vail Daily published comments from multiple analysts on Wednesday about the company’s troubles. In 2021, Vail cut prices for season passes, selling a record 2.1 million of them, as well as advance tickets, for the 2021–22 season, which translated into an uptick in revenue. But mounting criticism from skiers across the country—as well as labor strife at several mountain properties—led the company’s share price to fall.

Outside recently published a feature story examining the problems at Vail Resorts, speaking with current and former employees. Sources attributed staffing shortages in part to the company’s inability to offer competitive salaries.

They also said that Vail’s policy of centralizing marketing, human resources, and other corporate positions in its Colorado headquarters—instead of allowing them to exist at its resorts—has caused disruptions in a variety of operations, from opening terrain to making artificial snow.