Shares of Vail Resorts (NYSE:MTN) climbed last month as the company expanded through an acquisition, folded new resorts into its Epic Pass, and benefited from healthy snowfall levels in the West. As a result, the stock bounced back from a sell-off in January after the company cut guidance due to a slow start to the ski season; it gained 11% in February, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.
As the chart below shows, the stock rose steadily over the month, putting the January sell-off behind it:
Several factors seemed to restore investor confidence in the stock during February. First, the company said on Feb. 6 that Sun Valley Resort in Idaho and Snowbasin Resort in Utah will join Vail Resorts' Epic Pass, which gives skiers and snowboarders access to more than a dozen mountains with one pass, starting in the 2019-20 season. Those two resorts give Vail Resorts added firepower as it seeks to fend off a challenge from the new Ikon Pass, which includes a number of high-profile mountains including those at Aspen Snowmass.
Check out the latest earnings call transcript for Vail Resorts.
Later in February, Vail said it would acquire the Falls Creek and Hotham Resorts in Australia for $122.7 million, expanding its presence Down Under.
Finally, investors were encouraged by the impressive snowfalls over February, as the company announced an extended ski season at Lake Tahoe-area resorts Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar, and said that Breckenridge would stay open through May for the first time since the mid-1990s. The extended season helped boost financial results for the year.
Vail Resorts continued to make news in March: The company first said it would introduce the Epic Day Pass, geared for more casual skiers who plan to ski less than seven days in a year, and then followed that up with a strong second-quarter earnings report. Vail beat earnings estimates in the quarter, raised its dividend by 20%, and restored investor optimism after a rocky start to the ski season.
The stock rose 7% on the news, and is up 6% thus far in March.