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Will COVID-19 Affect Vail Resorts' 2021-22 Ski Season?

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® – Oct 10, 2021 at 2:45PM

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The pandemic is far from over, but how will it affect the ski business?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a pretty dramatic effect on Vail Resorts' (MTN 1.77%) business. But what about the upcoming 2021-22 ski season? In this Fool Live video clip, recorded on Sept. 28, Millionacres editor Deidre Woollard and senior analyst Matt Frankel, CFP, discuss what effects the ongoing pandemic could have this year, and whether investors should be worried.

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Deidre Woollard: So, one of the other things that is an ongoing concern is that Vail has announced that there are vaccination requirements and they are going to require masks indoors around food and beverage and things like that at the resorts. So shouldn't be a huge drag because most of the time people are outdoors, they're skiing and snowboarding and, enjoying the mountains, so you've got that. But there's still going to be that masking indoors could drag down some of the food and beverage, and that's one thing that may be a short-term concern.

Matt Frankel: They said that COVID is going to have an effect on the business for the foreseeable future.

Woollard: Yeah.

Frankel: What that means, we don't know. I mean, I don't want to get into the weeds on the vaccination requirements and things like that. But I really don't see it being that much of an issue for Vail's business. I mentioned European travels, they have to show vaccine cards to get on airplanes to come here. So I really don't think it will be that much of an issue for international tourists who want to go into Vail's properties. It's going to cost them some business, but whether it's really going to affect their business, I'm not sure.

The masks might hurt the restaurants. I think that's the top concern. I don't think the vaccines are the top concern when it comes to business wise. Masks might have something to do with it. I know I find it less convenient to go to a restaurant, especially with my little kids. Not necessarily for me. I don't mind putting mask on, my three-year-old does. I could see that being an issue especially with families. They might say, OK, we'll eat in our room.

It's going to have an effect and it really remains to be seen how long. I heard 500 different predictions on when the pandemic is going to end in paper down and things like that and they've all been wrong. Some come from me, some have come from other people, we've all been wrong. I don't want to pretend to be to have a personal ball to tell you when the effects are going to be long-term. But it's definitely going to have some effect and keep the business at somewhat below a normal level this ski season. I think I can definitively say.

Woollard: I would agree with that. The other challenge that is still kind of a wildcard is that Caldor fire in the Lake Tahoe area. It has started to affect some of the resorts. They still haven't put that thing out. It's far too soon to know exactly how much that's going to really impact things. But that's one more challenge that they're dealing with.

Matthew Frankel, CFP has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Vail Resorts. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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