10-K 1 form10k.htm FORM 10-K form10k.htm



UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-K

x ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended July 31, 2008

 TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from       to

Commission File Number:  001-09614

Vail Resorts, Inc.
(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in Its Charter)

Delaware
 
51-0291762
(State or Other Jurisdiction of Incorporation or Organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
     
390 Interlocken Crescent, Suite 1000
Broomfield, Colorado
 
 
80021
(Address of Principal Executive Offices)
 
(Zip Code)

 
(303) 404-1800
 
 
(Registrant’s Telephone Number, Including Area Code)
 
     
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class:
 
Name of each exchange on which registered:
Common Stock, $0.01 par value
 
New York Stock Exchange
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
       None.       
(Title of Class)


Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  x Yes  No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.  Yes x No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports) and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
x Yes  No

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant's knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendments to this Form 10-K.  x

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company.  See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filer x                                                                                                      Accelerated filer ¨
Non-accelerated filer ¨ (Do not check if a smaller reporting company) Smaller reporting company ¨

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).
 Yes x No

The aggregate market value of the voting and non-voting common equity held by non-affiliates of the Registrant, based on the closing price of $47.12 per share as reported on the New York Stock Exchange Composite Tape on January 31, 2008 (the last business day of the Registrant's most recently completed second quarter) was $1,465,211,620.

As of September 22, 2008, 36,921,791 shares of Common Stock were outstanding.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
The Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders is incorporated by reference herein into Part III, Items 10 through 14.

 
 

 
 

Table of Contents
 
PART I
   
Item 1.
3
Item 1A.
17
Item 1B.
25
Item 2.
25
Item 3.
27
Item 4.
27
   
PART II
 
   
Item 5.
 
 
28
Item 6.
30
Item 7.
32
Item 7A.
49
Item 8.
F-1
Item 9.
50
Item 9A.
50
Item 9B.
50
   
 
   
Item 10.
51
Item 11.
51
Item 12.
 
 
51
Item 13.
51
Item 14.
51
   
 
   
Item 15.  
51
 

 
 

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
 
Except for any historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Form 10-K”) contain certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  These statements relate to analyses and other information, which are based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable.  These statements also relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.

These forward-looking statements are identified by their use of terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “may,” “plan,” “predict,” “project,” “will” and similar terms and phrases, including references to assumptions.  Although we believe that our plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot assure you that such plans, intentions or expectations will be achieved.  Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

·  
downturn in general economic conditions, including adverse affects on the overall travel and leisure related  industries;
·  
terrorist acts upon the United States;
·  
threat of or actual war;
·  
unfavorable weather conditions;
·  
our ability to obtain financing on terms acceptable to us to finance our real estate investments, capital expenditures and growth strategy;
·  
our ability to continue to grow our resort and real estate operations;
·  
competition in our mountain and lodging businesses;
·  
our ability to hire and retain a sufficient seasonal workforce;
·  
our ability to successfully initiate and/or complete real estate development projects and achieve the anticipated financial benefits from such projects;
·  
adverse changes in real estate markets;
·  
implications arising from new Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”)/governmental legislation, rulings or interpretations;
·  
our reliance on government permits or approvals for our use of Federal land or to make operational improvements;
·  
our ability to integrate and successfully operate future acquisitions; and
·  
adverse consequences of current or future legal claims.

All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements.

If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from those expected, estimated or projected.  Given these uncertainties, users of the information included in this Form 10-K, including investors and prospective investors, are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.  Actual results may differ materially from those suggested by the forward-looking statements that the Company makes for a number of reasons including those described in Part I, Item 1A, “Risk Factors” of this Form 10-K.  All forward-looking statements are made only as of the date hereof. Except as may be required by law, the Company does not intend to update these forward-looking statements, even if new information, future events or other circumstances have made them incorrect or misleading.

 
 

 




Vail Resorts, Inc. was organized as a public holding company in 1997 and operates through various subsidiaries (collectively, the “Company”).  The Company's operations are grouped into three business segments: Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate, which represented approximately 59%, 15% and 26%, respectively, of the Company's net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2008.  The Company's Mountain segment owns and operates five world-class ski resort properties as well as ancillary businesses, primarily including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations, which provide a comprehensive resort experience to a diverse clientele with an attractive demographic profile.  The Company's Lodging segment owns and/or manages a collection of luxury hotels under its RockResorts International, LLC (“RockResorts”) brand, strategic lodging properties and a large number of condominiums located in proximity to the Company's ski resorts, the Grand Teton Lodge Company (“GTLC”), which operates three destination resorts at Grand Teton National Park (the “Park”), and golf courses.  Collectively, the Mountain and Lodging segments are considered the Resort segment.  The Company's Real Estate segment owns and develops real estate in and around the Company's resort communities.  Financial information by segment is presented in Note 14, Segment Information, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements included in Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K.












There are approximately 770 ski areas in North America and approximately 480 in the United States, ranging from small ski area operations that service day skiers to large resorts that attract both day skiers and destination resort guests looking for a comprehensive vacation experience.  One of the primary ski industry statistics for measuring performance is “skier visit,” which represents a person utilizing a ticket or pass to access a mountain resort for any part of one day, and includes both paid and complimentary access.  During the 2007/2008 ski season, combined skier visits for all the United States ski areas were approximately 60.5 million and all North American skier visits were approximately 81.2 million.  The Company's ski resorts had 6.2 million skier visits during the 2007/2008 ski season, or approximately 10.2% of United States skier visits, and an approximate 7.6% share of the North American market's skier visits.

The Company's Colorado ski resorts appeal to both day skiers and destination guests due to the resorts' proximity to Colorado's Front Range (Denver/Colorado Springs/Boulder metropolitan areas), accessibility from several airports, including Denver International Airport and Eagle County Airport, and the wide range of amenities available at each resort.  Colorado has 26 ski areas, six of which are classified as “Front Range Destination Resorts,” including all of the Company's Colorado resorts, catering to both the Front Range and destination-skier markets.  All Colorado ski resorts combined recorded approximately 12.5 million skier visits for the 2007/2008 ski season with skier visits at the Company's Colorado ski resorts totaling 5.2 million, or approximately 41.9% of all Colorado skier visits for the 2007/2008 ski season.

Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border of California and Nevada, is a major skiing destination less than 100 miles from Sacramento and Reno and approximately 200 miles from San Francisco, making it a convenient destination for both day skiers and destination guests.  South Lake Tahoe, where Heavenly is located, is also a popular year-round vacation destination, featuring extensive summer attractions and casinos in addition to its winter sports offerings.  Heavenly is proximate to both the Reno/Tahoe International Airport and the Sacramento International Airport.  California and Nevada have 24 ski areas.  Heavenly had 948,000 skier visits for the 2007/2008 ski season, capturing approximately 13.1% of California's and Nevada's 7.2 million total skier visits for the 2007/2008 ski season.


There are significant barriers to entry for new ski areas due to the limited private lands on which ski areas could be built, the difficulty in getting the appropriate governmental approvals to build on public lands and the significant capital needed to construct the necessary infrastructure.  As such, there has been virtually no new supply of major resorts in North America for the past 25 years which has and should continue to allow the best positioned resorts, including all of the Company’s resorts, to capture a majority of future industry growth.  The Company’s resorts compete with other major ski resorts, including Aspen/Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Deer Valley, Mammoth Mountain, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Park City Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley USA, Steamboat, Whistler Blackcomb and Winter Park, as well as other ski areas in Colorado and the Lake Tahoe area, other destination ski areas worldwide and non-ski related vacation destinations.

While the ski industry has performed well in recent years in terms of number of skier visits, with the seven best seasons occurring in the past eight years for United States visitation, including a record year this past ski season, a particular ski area's growth is also largely dependent on either attracting skiers away from other resorts or generating more revenue per skier visit.  Better capitalized ski resorts, including all five mountain resorts operated by the Company, are expanding their offerings, as well as enhancing the quality and experience by adding new high speed chairlifts, gondolas, terrain parks, state of the art grooming machines, expanded terrain and amenities at the base areas of the resorts all of which are aimed at increasing customer visitation and revenue per skier visit.  The Company believes it invests more in capital improvements than the vast majority of its competitors and can also create synergies by operating multiple resorts thus enhancing the Company’s profitability.  All five of the Company’s resorts typically rank in the top ten most visited ski resorts in the United States.  Additionally, all of the Company's resorts consistently rank in the top 20 ranked ski resorts in North America according to industry surveys, which the Company attributes to its resorts' ability to provide a high-quality experience.




























Quality lodging options are an integral part of providing a complete resort experience.  The Company’s 13 owned and managed hotels proximate to its five mountain resorts, including five RockResorts branded hotels, and an inventory of approximately 1,500 managed condominium rooms provide numerous accommodation options for the Company’s mountain resort guests.  The Company’s real estate development efforts provide the Company with the ability to add profitability to the Company while expanding the destination bed base and upgrading its resorts through the development of amenities such as luxury hotels, private clubs, spas, parking and commercial space for restaurants and retail shops.  The Company’s Lodging and Real Estate segments have and continue to invest in resort related assets as part of their initiatives which enhance the overall resort experience.  Examples include: the new The Arrabelle at Vail Square hotel (“The Arrabelle Hotel”), a RockResort property in Vail which opened in the 2007/2008 ski season; the major renovation of The Osprey at Beaver Creek (formerly the Inn at Beaver Creek), a RockResort property to open in the 2008/2009 ski season; a new spa, guest rooms and renovated ballroom and meeting spaces at The Lodge at Vail for the 2008/2009 ski season; a new spa at The Keystone Lodge opened for the 2007/2008 ski season; the Crystal Peak Lodge in Breckenridge to be open for the 2008/2009 ski season; and the Vail Mountain Club, a private mountain club to be open for the 2008/2009 ski season.


As part of the Company’s long-standing commitment to responsible stewardship of its natural mountain settings, the Company has several initiatives in environmental sustainability which transcend throughout all of the Company’s operations.  For example, it has chosen to offset approximately 100% of its electrical usage by purchasing 152,000 megawatt-hours of wind energy credits annually for its five mountain resorts, its lodging properties including RockResorts, its retail/rental locations and its corporate headquarters in Broomfield, Colorado.  The Company’s headquarters is LEED-certified and the Company’s planned Ever Vail project would be the largest LEED-certified project for resort use in North America.  Additionally, the Company is partnering with the National Forest Foundation to raise funds for various conservation projects in the White River National Forest in Colorado and the National Forest of Tahoe Basin in California/Nevada where the Company operates its five mountain resorts.  As a result of these efforts, the Company was honored by Conde Nast Traveler as a leader in social responsibility in the travel industry as a winner of the magazine’s 2008 World Savers Awards in the category of environmental protection.









The Company promotes its resorts through extensive marketing and sales programs, which include print media advertising in lifestyle and industry publications, direct marketing to a targeted audience, promotional programs, loyalty programs that reward frequent guests and sales and marketing directed at attracting groups, corporate meetings and convention business.  Additionally, the Company markets directly to many of its guests through its websites and internet presence, which provide visitors with information regarding each of the Company's resorts, including services and amenities, reservations information and virtual tours (nothing contained on the websites shall be deemed incorporated herein).  The Company also enters into strategic sponsorships with selected “name brand” companies to increase its market exposure and create opportunities for cross-marketing.




 
 
 
 



       
       
     
       
     
     
 



 


Hotels are categorized by Smith Travel Research, a leading lodging industry research firm, as luxury, upper upscale, upscale, mid-price and economy.  The service quality and level of accommodations of the RockResorts’ hotels place them in the luxury category, which represents hotels achieving the highest average daily rates (“ADR”) in the industry, and includes such brands as the Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton and Starwood's Luxury Collection hotels.  The Company’s other hotels are categorized in the upper upscale and upscale segments of the hotel market.  The luxury and upper upscale segments consist of approximately 853,000 rooms at approximately 3,020 properties in the United States as of July 2008.  For the year ended July 31, 2008, the Company's owned hotels, which includes a combination of certain RockResorts, as well as other hotels in proximity to the Company’s ski resorts, had an overall ADR of $184.42, a paid occupancy rate of 64.5% and revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) of $118.97, as compared to the upper upscale segment’s ADR of $166.79, a paid occupancy rate of 69.6% and RevPAR of $116.16. The Company believes that this comparison to the upper upscale category is appropriate as its mix of owned hotels include those in the luxury and upper upscale categories, as well as certain of its hotels that fall in the upscale category.  The highly seasonal nature of the Company's lodging properties results in lower average occupancy as compared to the general lodging industry.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Company actively upgrades the quality of the accommodations and amenities available at its hotels through capital improvements.  Capital funding for third-party owned properties is provided by the owners of those properties.  Recently completed projects include extensive upgrades to The Lodge at Vail including a fully renovated ballroom and meeting spaces, room upgrades and the addition of a 7,500 square foot spa.  Additional projects include renovation of the spa at The Keystone Lodge, room upgrades at GTLC’s historic Jenny Lake Lodge and system upgrades at both GTLC and La Posada de Santa Fe.   Planned and current projects include additional facility upgrades at GTLC’s properties within the Grand Teton National Park, extensive renovations at La Posada de Santa Fe and full renovation of The Osprey at Beaver Creek (formerly known as the Inn at Beaver Creek).
 



There are 390 areas within the National Park System covering approximately 85 million acres across the United States and its territories.  Of the 390 areas, 58 are classified as National Parks.  While there are more than 500 NPS concessionaires, ranging from small privately-held businesses to large corporate conglomerates, the Company primarily competes with such companies as Aramark Parks & Resorts, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts, Forever Resorts and Xanterra Parks & Resorts in retaining and obtaining National Park Concessionaire agreements.  The NPS uses “recreation visits” to measure visitation within the National Park System.  In calendar 2007, areas designated as National Parks received approximately 62.3 million recreation visits.  The Grand Teton National Park, which spans approximately 310,000 acres, had 2.6 million recreation visits during calendar 2007, or approximately 4% of total National Park recreation visits.  Four concessionaires provide accommodations within the Grand Teton National Park, including GTLC.  GTLC offers three lodging options within the Grand Teton National Park: Jackson Lake Lodge, a full-service, 385-room resort with conference facilities which can accommodate up to 700 people; the Jenny Lake Lodge, a small, rustically elegant retreat with 37 cabins; and Colter Bay Village, a facility with 166 log cabins, 66 tent cabins, 350 campsites and a 112-space RV park.  GTLC offers dining options as extensive as its lodging options, with cafeterias, casual eateries and fine dining establishments.  GTLC's resorts provide a wide range of activities for guests to enjoy, including cruises on Jackson Lake, boat rentals, horseback riding, guided fishing, float trips, golf and guided Grand Teton National Park tours.  Because of the extensive amenities offered as well as the tremendous popularity of the National Park System, GTLC's accommodations within the Grand Teton National Park operate near full capacity during their operating season.
 



The Company's lodging business is highly seasonal in nature, with peak seasons primarily in the winter months (with the exception of GTLC, certain managed properties and golf operations).  In recent years, the Company has grown its business by promoting its extensive conference facilities and offering more off-season activities to help offset the seasonality of the Company's lodging business.  The Company owns and operates six golf courses: The Beaver Creek Golf Club, The Keystone Ranch Golf Course, The River Course at Keystone, JHG&TC and the Tom Fazio and Greg Norman courses at Red Sky Ranch near the Beaver Creek Resort.  JHG&TC was ranked the third best course in Wyoming for 2007 by Golf Digest, the Tom Fazio course was ranked the second best course in Colorado in the State by State ranking for 2008 by Golfweek and ranked the eighth best course in Colorado for 2007 by Golf Digest, and the Greg Norman course was ranked the third best course in Colorado in the State by State ranking for 2008 by Golfweek and ranked the seventh best course in Colorado for 2007 by Golf Digest and 24th in the United States in the 2008 “Top 100 You Can Play” by Golf Magazine.  Red Sky Ranch was ranked one of America’s Top 100 Golf Communities in 2008 by Travel & Leisure Golf.


The Company has extensive holdings of real property at its resorts throughout Summit and Eagle Counties in Colorado.  The Company's real estate operations, through Vail Resorts Development Company (“VRDC”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, include the planning, oversight, infrastructure improvement, development, marketing and sale of the Company's real property holdings.  In addition to the substantial cash flow generated from real estate development sales, these development activities benefit the Company's mountain and lodging operations through (i) the creation of additional resort lodging and other resort related facilities and venues (primarily restaurants, spas, commercial space, private mountain clubs, skier services facilities and parking structures) which provide the Company with the opportunity to create new sources of recurring revenue, enhance the guest experience at the resort and expand the destination bed base; (ii) the ability to control the architectural themes of the Company's resorts; and (iii) the expansion of the Company's property management and commercial leasing operations.  Additionally, in order to facilitate the sale of real estate development projects, these projects often include the construction of resort assets benefiting the development, such as chairlifts, gondolas, ski trails or golf courses.  While these improvements enhance the value of the real estate held for sale (for example, by providing ski-in/ski-out accessibility), they also benefit mountain and lodging operations.

The Company in recent years has primarily focused on projects that involve significant vertical development.  In addition to the substantially completed The Arrabelle at Vail Square project, current vertical development projects under construction include: Vail’s Front Door, Crystal Peak Lodge at Breckenridge, One Ski Hill Place at Breckenridge and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail.  The Company attempts to mitigate the risk of vertical development by utilizing guaranteed maximum price contracts (although certain construction costs may not be covered by contractual limitations), pre-selling all or a portion of the project, which generally requires significant non-refundable deposits, and obtaining non-recourse financing for certain projects.  In some instances as warranted by the Company’s business model, VRDC attempts to minimize the Company's exposure to development risks and maximize the long-term value of the Company's real property holdings by selling improved and entitled land to third-party developers while retaining the right to approve the development plans, as well as an interest in the developer's profit.  The Company also typically retains the option to purchase, at cost, any retail/commercial space created in a development.  The Company is able to secure these benefits from third-party developers because of the high property values and strong demand associated with property in close proximity to the Company's mountain resorts.

VRDC's principal activities include (i) the vertical development of certain residential mixed-use projects that consist of both the sales of real estate units to third parties and the construction of resort depreciable assets such as hotels, restaurants, spas, private clubs, commercial space, skier service facilities, parking structures and other amenities that the Company will own and operate and that will benefit the Company’s mountain and lodging operations; (ii) the sale of single-family homesites to individual purchasers; (iii) the sale of certain land parcels to third-party developers for condominium, townhome, cluster home, single family home, lodge and mixed use developments; (iv) the zoning, planning and marketing of resort communities; (v) arranging for the construction of the necessary roads, utilities and resort infrastructure for new resort communities; and (vi) the purchase of selected strategic land parcels for future development.


Vail’s Front Door -- This development consists of 13 chalets at The Lodge at Vail Chalets, ranging in size from approximately 3,700 to 5,700 square feet, of which five chalets were completed and sold in the year ended July 31, 2008. The Company expects to close on the remaining eight chalets during the year ending July 31, 2009.  This project also includes resort assets benefiting the Resort segment, including the Vail Mountain Club, a private ski club, which will offer members exclusive amenities including a member lounge, ski valet concierge services, private lockers and, for full members, valet parking.  The ski club will be available to members for the upcoming 2008/2009 ski season.  In addition to the Vail Mountain Club, construction includes a new 7,500 square foot RockResorts spa, two additional guest suites at The Lodge at Vail (both opened in July 2008), new skier services space that includes a retail/rental shop, ticketing and ski school product sales, food and beverage outlet and ski storage which were available during the 2007/2008 ski season.



















All improvements that the Company proposes to make on National Forest lands under any of its SUPs must be included in a Master Development Plan.  Master Development Plans describe the existing and proposed facilities, developments and area of activity within the permit area.  Master Development Plans are prepared by the Company and set forth a conceptual overview of all potential projects at each resort.  The Master Development Plans are reviewed by the Forest Service for compliance with the Forest Plan and other applicable law and, if found to be compliant, are accepted by the Forest Service.  Notwithstanding acceptance by the Forest Service of the conceptual Master Development Plans, individual projects still require separate applications to be submitted evidencing compliance with NEPA and other applicable laws before the Forest Service will approve such projects.  The Company updates or amends its Master Development Plans for Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge and Heavenly from time to time.





 
NEPA requires an assessment of the environmental impacts of “major” proposed actions of the Company on National Forest land, such as expansion of a ski area, installation of new lifts or snowmaking facilities, or construction of new trails or buildings.  The Company must comply with NEPA when seeking Forest Service approval of such improvements. The Forest Service is responsible for preparing and compiling the required environmental studies, usually through third-party consultants.  NEPA allows for two different types of environmental study, depending on the scope and size of the expected impact of the proposed project.  An Environmental Assessment (“EA”) is typically used for projects where the environmental impact is expected to be limited.  For projects with more significant expected impacts, an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) is more commonly required.  An EIS is more detailed and broader in scope than an EA.  The Forest Service usually takes more time to compile, review and issue an EIS.  Consequently, projects that require an EIS typically take longer to approve.
 
 
 
 
 





In August 1999, the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission (the “Commission”) adopted “temporary modifications” for certain metals standards applicable to three streams within the Keystone permit area.  The Commission has been delegated authority by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency to regulate water quality in Colorado.  All water quality standards, including “temporary modifications,” are reviewed by the Commission every three years.  Under the Keystone SUP, which requires that the Company comply with water quality standards, the Forest Service mandated that the Company conduct ongoing studies of the three streams within the Keystone permit boundary as well as one additional stream.  These studies were designed to determine the potential water quality impacts of snowmaking operations as a result of metals contamination from abandoned mines located upstream from Keystone’s snowmaking diversions.  Using the data collected through the ongoing monitoring, the Company has completed a use attainability analysis for the Commission.  At the Commission review in June 2008, the “temporary modifications” were lifted and new water quality standards were adopted for all four of the streams.  The Company expects to meet or exceed the newly adopted standards.










The Company has been conducting ongoing monitoring of groundwater contamination levels using three existing monitoring wells and a seasonal, downstream seep as required by the State of California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Lahontan Region (“Lahontan”), and the El Dorado County Department of Environmental Management.  This requirement was imposed in response to an accidental release of waste oil at a vehicle maintenance shop in 1998.  All cleanup work has been completed in accordance with the approved work plan and a new underground vault, piping and overflow protection system was installed to prevent any further releases.  Notwithstanding submission of a final report on March 31, 2003, Lahontan has required additional monitoring and reporting.  Monitoring results have been provided to Lahontan but no response has been received to date.

In July 2003, Heavenly received updated waste discharge requirements ("WDRs") relating to storm runoff on the California portions of the resort.  WDRs are normally valid for ten years.  The approved WDRs will permit Heavenly to continue year round operations and to continue with implementation of the approved Heavenly Ski Area Master Plan ("Heavenly Master Plan"), which is discussed in more detail immediately below.  The WDRs require the retrofit of certain existing facilities within California according to specified deadlines.  Due in part to the lengthy time period required to process and approve Heavenly’s Master Plan Amendment (as defined below), Heavenly requested and received amendments to the WDRs, extending the deadline to October 15, 2008 for completion of the California Main Lodge and Parking Lot water quality Best Management Practices (“BMPs”).  Under the amendment, the Main Lodge and Parking Lot is required to meet revised surface runoff water quality criteria by November 30, 2008.  The WDRs also contained a requirement to retrofit the Upper Vehicle Maintenance Facility with water quality BMPs, which was completed on October 15, 2007.

During summer 2007, an amendment to the Heavenly Master Plan (the “Master Plan Amendment”) to include new and upgraded trails, lifts, snowmaking, lodges and other facilities was accepted by the Forest Service and approved by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (“TRPA”) and the underlying units of local government with jurisdiction.  Portions of the Master Plan Amendment applying to the California side of the resort were subject to the approval of TRPA and El Dorado County, which required compliance with CEQA.  The Master Plan Amendment was approved by TRPA and El Dorado County after completion of a joint TRPA/Forest Service EIS/Environmental Impact Report to comply with both CEQA and NEPA.  Approval of the Master Plan Amendment included approval by the Forest Service and TRPA of the Phase I projects contemplated in the Master Plan Amendment.  Phase I projects, including snowmaking, trail and lift upgrades and construction of a new lodge have been or are in the process of being implemented.  Heavenly has begun planning for the implementation of the Phase II projects contemplated in the Master Plan Amendment, which will require compliance with NEPA, CEQA and TRPA regulations and other local laws.
















The Company reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) information, including its annual report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Act”) that are available free of charge on the Company's corporate website (www.vailresorts.com) as soon as reasonably practicable after the information is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC.  In addition, the Company's Code of Ethics and Business Conduct is available on its website.  None of the content of the Company's corporate website is incorporated by reference herein.  Copies of any materials the Company files with the SEC can be obtained at www.sec.gov or at the SEC's Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549.  Information on the operation of the Public Reference Room is available by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330.



 
Our business is highly seasonal.  Our mountain and lodging operations are highly seasonal in nature.  In particular, revenue and profits from our mountain and most of our lodging operations are substantially lower and historically result in losses from late spring to late fall.  Conversely, peak operating seasons for GTLC, certain managed hotel properties and our golf courses occur during the summer months while the winter season generally results in operating losses.  Revenue and profits generated by GTLC's summer operations, management fees from certain managed properties, certain other lodging properties and golf operations are not nearly sufficient to fully offset the Company's off-season losses from its mountain and other lodging operations.  For the year ended July 31, 2008, 80% of total combined Mountain and Lodging segment net revenue was earned during our fiscal second and third quarters.  In addition, the timing of major holidays can impact vacation patterns and therefore visitation at our ski resorts.  Operating results for any three-month period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any subsequent quarter or for a full fiscal year (see Note 15, Selected Quarterly Financial Data, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).

We are vulnerable to the risk of unfavorable weather conditions.  The ability to attract visitors to our resorts is influenced by weather conditions and by the amount and timing of snowfall during the ski season.  Unfavorable weather conditions can adversely affect skier visits and our revenue and profits.  Unseasonably warm weather may result in inadequate natural snowfall and reduce skiable terrain which increases the cost of snowmaking and could render snowmaking wholly or partially ineffective in maintaining quality skiing conditions, including in areas which are not accessible by snowmaking equipment.  Excessive natural snowfall may materially increase the costs incurred for grooming trails and may also make it difficult for visitors to obtain access to our mountain resorts.  In the past 20 years, our Colorado ski resorts have averaged between 20 and 30 feet of annual snowfall and Heavenly receives average yearly snowfall of approximately 23 feet, both of which are significantly in excess of the average for United States ski resorts.  However, there is no assurance that our resorts will receive seasonal snowfalls near the historical average in the future.  Also, the early season snow conditions and skier perceptions of early season snow conditions influence the momentum and success of the overall season.  In addition, a severe and prolonged drought could affect our otherwise adequate snowmaking water supplies or increase the cost of snowmaking.  Unfavorable weather conditions, including those which may increase the risk of the occurrence of forest fires, can adversely affect our resorts and lodging properties as vacationers tend to delay or postpone vacations if conditions differ from those that typically prevail at such resorts for a given season.  There is no way for us to predict future weather patterns or the impact that weather patterns may have on our results of operations or visitation.

We are subject to the risk of economic downturns including adverse affects on the overall travel and leisure related industries.  Periods of economic slowdown or recession, whether regional, national or international, may decrease the discretionary spending of our guests.  Actual or perceived fear of recession may also lead to decreased discretionary spending.  Skiing, travel and tourism are discretionary recreational activities that can entail a relatively high cost of participation and can be adversely affected by economic slowdown or recession, which, in turn, could negatively impact our operating results. This could further be exacerbated by the fact that we charge some of the highest ticket prices, as well as prices for our ancillary businesses including ski school, in the ski industry.  While pricing increases historically have not reduced demand, there can be no assurances that demand will remain price inelastic.  Similarly, there can be no assurance that a decrease in the amount of discretionary spending by the public would not have an adverse effect on our results of operations.  Additionally, many of our guests travel by air and the impact of higher fuel costs in addition to higher cost and availability of air services may cause a decrease in visitation by destination guests to our resorts.  Higher energy costs and gasoline prices may also result in a reduction to in-state visitation.





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We may not be able to fund resort capital expenditures and investment in real estate.   We expect to continue incurring substantial resort capital expenditures and investments in real estate development.  We currently anticipate resort capital expenditures (primarily related to the Mountain and Lodging segments) will be approximately $105 million to $115 million for calendar year 2008.  Based on the status of several specific real estate projects, we will continue to invest significant amounts in real estate over the next several years and we currently anticipate real estate investments to be approximately $260 million to $280 million for calendar year 2008.  Our ability to fund these investments will depend on our ability to generate sufficient cash flow from operations, obtain substantial pre-sale deposits and/or to borrow from third parties.  We cannot provide assurances that our operations will be able to generate sufficient cash flow to fund such development costs, or that we will be able to obtain sufficient financing on adequate terms, or at all.  Our ability to generate cash flow and to obtain third-party financing will depend upon many factors, including:

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

We rely on government permits.  Certain of our resort operations require permits and approvals from certain Federal, state, and local authorities, to the Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  Virtually all of our ski trails and related activities at Vail Mountain, Breckenridge, Keystone and Heavenly and a majority of Beaver Creek are located on Federal land.  The Forest Service has granted us permits to use these lands, but maintains the right to review and approve many operational matters, as well as the location, design and construction of improvements in these areas.  Currently, our permits expire December 31, 2029 for Breckenridge, October 31, 2031 for Vail Mountain, December 31, 2032 for Keystone, December 31, 2038 for Beaver Creek and May 1, 2042 for Heavenly. The Forest Service can terminate or amend these permits if, in its opinion, such termination is required in the public interest.  A termination or amendment of any of our permits could have a materially adverse affect on our business and operations.


We are subject to extensive environmental laws and regulations in the ordinary course of business.  Our operations are subject to a variety of Federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations including those relating to emissions to the air, discharges to water, storage, treatment and disposal of wastes, land use, remediation of contaminated sites and protection of natural resources such as wetlands. For example, future expansions of certain of our ski facilities must comply with applicable forest plans approved under the National Forest Management Act or local zoning requirements.  In addition, most projects to improve, upgrade or expand our ski areas are subject to environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act and, for California projects at Heavenly, the California Environmental Quality Act. Both acts require that the Forest Service study any proposal for potential environmental impacts and include in its analysis various alternatives.  Our ski area improvement proposals may not be approved or may be approved with modifications that substantially increase the cost or decrease the desirability of implementing the project.  Our facilities are subject to risks associated with mold and other indoor building contaminants.  From time to time our operations are subject to inspections by environmental regulators or other regulatory agencies. We are also subject to worker health and safety requirements.  We believe our operations are in substantial compliance with applicable material environmental, health and safety requirements. However, our efforts to comply do not eliminate the risk that we may be held liable, incur fines or be subject to claims for damages, and that the amount of any liability, fines, damages or remediation costs may be material for, among other things, the presence or release of regulated materials at, on or emanating from properties we now or formerly owned or operated, newly discovered environmental impacts or contamination at or from any of our properties, or changes in environmental laws and regulations or their enforcement.

Failure to maintain the integrity of guest data could result in damages of reputation and/or subject us to costs, fines or lawsuits.  We collect personally identifiable information relating to our guests for various business purposes, including marketing and promotional purposes.  The integrity and privacy of our guest’s information is important to us and our guests have a high expectation that we will adequately protect their personal information.  The regulatory environment governing privacy laws is increasingly demanding and privacy laws continue to evolve and on occasion may be inconsistent from one jurisdiction to another.  Compliance with applicable privacy regulations may increase our operating costs and/or adversely impact our ability to market our products, properties and services to our guests.  Furthermore, non-compliance with applicable privacy regulations by us (or in some circumstances non-compliance by third parties engaged by us), breach of security on systems storing our guest data, a loss of guest data or fraudulent use of guest data could aversely impact our reputation or result in fines or other damages and litigation.


We are subject to litigation in the ordinary course of business.  We are, from time to time, subject to various asserted or unasserted legal proceedings and claims.  Any such claims, regardless of merit, could be time-consuming and expensive to defend and could divert management’s attention and resources.  While management believes we have adequate insurance coverage and accrues loss contingencies for all known matters that are probable and can be reasonably estimated, we cannot assure that the outcome of all current or future litigation will not have a material adverse effect on us and our results of operations.  For a more detailed discussion of our legal proceedings see Legal Proceedings under Item 3 and Note 13, Commitments and Contingencies, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.





 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 






   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   





During the fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended July 31, 2007, the Company entered into an agreement with Peninsula Advisors, LLC (“Peninsula”) for the negotiation and mutual acquisition of The Canyons ski resort (“The Canyons”) and the land underlying The Canyons.  On July 15, 2007, American Skiing Company (“ASC”) entered into an agreement to sell The Canyons to Talisker Corporation and Talisker Canyons Finance Company, LLC (together “Talisker”).  On July 27, 2007, the Company filed a complaint in the District Court in Colorado against Peninsula and Talisker claiming, among other things, breach of contract by Peninsula and intentional interference with contractual relations and prospective business relations by Talisker and seeking damages, specific performance and injunctive relief.  On October 19, 2007, the Company’s request for a preliminary injunction to prevent the closing of the acquisition by Talisker of The Canyons from ASC was denied.  On November 8, 2007, Talisker filed an answer to the Company’s complaint along with three counterclaims.  On November 12, 2007, Peninsula filed a motion to dismiss and for partial summary judgment.  The Company believes that these counter claims and motions are without merit.  These motions were set for hearing on June 20, 2008 but the date was vacated upon request of new counsel to Peninsula and a new hearing date has not yet been set.  The Company is unable to predict the ultimate outcome of the above described actions.
















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The Company has made several acquisitions and dispositions which impact comparability between years during the past five years.  The more significant of those include the sale of its majority interest in RTP, LLC (“RTP”) (sold in April 2007), Snake River Lodge & Spa (“SRL&S”) (sold in January 2006), The Lodge at Rancho Mirage (“Rancho Mirage”) (sold in July 2005), Vail Marriott (sold in June 2005) and its minority interest in Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch (“BG Resort”) (sold in December 2004). Additionally, the Company acquired 18 retail/rental locations (acquired by SSV in June 2007), two licensed Starbucks stores (acquired in June 2007) and six retail locations (acquired by SSV in August 2006).  Effective August 1, 2005, the Company adopted Statement of Financial Accounting Standards (“SFAS”) No. 123R, “Share-Based Payment” (“SFAS 123R”).  See Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in Item 8 of this Form 10-K for the impact to the Consolidated Statements of Operations as a result of the adoption of SFAS 123R.




Management’s Discussion and Analysis includes discussion of financial performance within each of the Company’s segments.  The Company has chosen to specifically include Reported EBITDA (defined as segment net revenue less segment operating expense, plus or minus segment equity investment income or loss and for the Real Estate segment, plus gain on sale of real property) and Net Debt (defined as long-term debt plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents), in the following discussion because management considers these measurements to be significant indications of the Company’s financial performance and available capital resources.  Reported EBITDA and Net Debt are not measures of financial performance or liquidity under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”).  The Company utilizes Reported EBITDA in evaluating performance of the Company and in allocating resources to its segments.   Refer to the end of the Results of Operations section for a reconciliation of Reported EBITDA to net income.  Management also believes that Net Debt is an important measurement as it is an indicator of the Company’s ability to obtain additional capital resources for its future cash needs.  Refer to the end of the Results of Operations section for a reconciliation of Net Debt.



The Company's operations are grouped into three integrated and interdependent segments: Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate, which represented 59%, 15% and 26%, respectively, of the Company's net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2008.  The Mountain segment is comprised of the operations of five ski resort properties as well as ancillary businesses, primarily including ski school, dining and retail/rental operations.  Mountain segment revenue is seasonal in nature, the majority of which is earned in the Company’s second and third fiscal quarters.  Operations within the Lodging segment include (i) ownership/management of a group of nine luxury hotels through the RockResorts brand, including five proximate to the Company's ski resorts; (ii) the ownership/management of non-RockResorts branded hotels and condominiums proximate to the Company's ski resorts; (iii) GTLC; and (iv) golf courses.  The Resort segment is the combination of the Mountain and Lodging segments.  The Real Estate segment owns and develops real estate in and around the Company's resort communities.

The Company's single largest source of Mountain segment revenue is the sale of lift tickets (including season passes), which represented approximately 44%, 43% and 42% of Mountain segment net revenue for the years ended July 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively.  Lift ticket revenue is driven by volume and pricing.  Pricing is impacted by both absolute pricing as well as the demographic mix of guests, which impacts the price points at which various products are purchased.  The demographic mix of guests is divided into two primary categories: (i) out-of-state and international guests (“Destination”) and (ii) in-state and local visitors (“In-State”).  For the 2007/2008 ski season, Destination guests comprised an estimated 63% of the Company's skier visits, while the In-State market comprised an estimated 37% of the Company's skier visits.  Destination guests generally purchase the Company's higher-priced lift ticket products and utilize more ancillary services such as ski school, dining and retail/rental as well as the lodging at or around the Company’s resorts.  Destination guests are less likely to be impacted by changes in the weather, due to the advance planning required for their trip, but can be impacted by general economic conditions and the global geopolitical climate.  In-State guests tend to be more weather-sensitive and value-oriented; to address this, the Company markets season passes to In-State guests, generally prior to the start of the ski season.  Approximately 26%, 25% and 23% of the total lift revenue was comprised of season pass revenue for the 2007/2008, 2006/2007 and 2005/2006 ski seasons, respectively.  The cost structure of ski resort operations once a certain level of visitation is achieved is largely fixed (with the exception of certain variable expenses including Forest Service fees, other resort related fees, credit card fees, retail/rental operations, ski school labor and dining operations); as such, incremental revenue generally has high associated profit margin.

Lodging properties at or around the Company's ski resorts represented approximately 63%, 61% and 62% of the Lodging segment net revenue for the years ended July 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006, respectively, and are closely aligned with the performance of the Mountain segment, particularly with respect to visitation by Destination guests.  Revenue generated through management fees is based upon the revenue of managed individual hotel properties within the lodging portfolio, and to the extent that these managed properties are not proximate to ski resorts, the seasonality of those hotels more closely resembles the seasonality and trends within the overall travel industry.  Revenue of the Lodging segment during the Company's first and fourth fiscal quarters is generated primarily by the operations of GTLC (as GTLC's peak operating season occurs during the summer months), as well as golf operations and operations from the Company's other owned and managed properties.

The Company’s Real Estate segment primarily engages in both the vertical development of projects and to a lesser degree the sale of land to third-party developers, which latter activity generally includes the retention of some involvement and control in the infrastructure, development, oversight and design of the projects and a contingent revenue structure based on the ultimate sale of the developed units.  The Company attempts to mitigate the risk of vertical development by utilizing guaranteed maximum price construction contracts (although certain construction costs may not be covered by contractual limitations), pre-selling a portion of the project, which generally requires significant non-refundable deposits, and obtaining non-recourse financing for certain projects.  The Company’s real estate development projects also may result in the creation of certain resort assets that provide additional benefit to the Resort segment.  The Company’s Real Estate revenue and associated expense fluctuate based upon the timing of closings and the type of real estate being sold, thus increasing the volatility of Real Estate operating results between periods.  In the near-term, the majority of Real Estate revenue is expected to be generated from vertical development projects that are currently under construction, in which revenue and related cost of sales will be recorded at the time of real estate closings.



Real Estate Reported EBITDA is highly dependent on, among other things, the timing of closings on real estate under contract, which determines when revenue and associated cost of sales is recognized.  Changes to the anticipated timing of closing on one or more real estate projects, or unit closings within a real estate project, could materially impact Real Estate Reported EBITDA for a particular quarter or fiscal year.  Additionally, the magnitude of real estate projects currently under development or contemplated could result in significant fluctuations in Real Estate Reported EBITDA between periods.  For example, the Company closed on 64 of the 66 units at The Arrabelle at Vail Square (“Arrabelle”) during the year ended July 31, 2008 and expects to close on the remaining condominium units during the year ending July 31, 2009.  The Company closed on five of the 13 Lodge at Vail Chalets (“Chalets”) during the year ended July 31, 2008 and expects to close on the remaining Chalets during the year ending July 31, 2009.  Additionally, the Company expects to close on a vast majority, if not all of the 45 units at Crystal Peak Lodge during the year ending July 31, 2009.  The Company has entered into definitive sales contracts with a value of approximately $448 million related to these projects of which $272.4 million of revenue was recognized in the year ended July 31, 2008, along with the associated cost of sales.
The Company has several other real estate projects across its resorts under development and in the planning stages.  While the current instability in the capital markets and slowdown in the national real estate market have not, to date, materially impacted the Company’s real estate development, the Company does have elevated risk associated with the selling and/or closing of its real estate under development as a result of the current economic climate.  These risks surrounding the Company’s real estate developments are partially mitigated by the fact that the Company’s projects include a relatively low number of luxury and ultra luxury units situated at the base of its resorts, which are unique due to the relatively low supply of developable land.  Additionally, the Company’s real estate projects must meet the Company’s pre-sale requirements, which include substantial non-refundable deposits, before significant development begins; however, there is no guarantee that a sustained downward trend in the capital and real estate markets would not materially impact the Company’s real estate development activities or operating results. In addition to the expected completion of the Arrabelle, Chalets and Crystal Peak Lodge development projects during the year ending July 31, 2009, the Company is also moving forward with the development of One Ski Hill Place located at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail.  The Company expects to incur between $335 million to $355 million of development costs subsequent to July 31, 2008 on the remaining Chalets, Crystal Peak Lodge, One Ski Hill Place and The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Vail projects.
The Company had $162.3 million in cash and cash equivalents as of July 31, 2008 with no borrowings under the revolver component of its Credit Facility and expects to generate additional cash from operations, including future closures on real estate vertical development projects during the 2009 fiscal year.  In addition to building excess cash, the Company continuously evaluates how to utilize its excess cash, including any combination of the following strategic options: self-fund real estate under development; continue recent levels of investment in resort assets; pursue strategic acquisitions; pay off outstanding debt; repurchase additional common stock of the Company (see Note 16, Stock Repurchase Plan, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements for more information regarding the Company’s stock repurchase plan); and/or other options to return value to stockholders.  The Company’s debt is long-term in nature and the Company believes its debt has favorable interest rates.  In determining its uses of excess cash, the Company has some constraints as a result of the Company’s Fourth Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, dated as of January 28, 2005, as amended, between The Vail Corporation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company), Bank of America, N.A. as administrative agent and the Lenders party thereto (the “Credit Agreement”) underlying the Company’s Credit Facility and the Indenture, governing the 6.75% Notes, which limit the Company’s ability to pay dividends, repurchase stock and pay off certain of its debt, including its 6.75% Notes.







                     
     
           
         
               
               
               
               
               
               
               
         
                               
               
         


Lift ticket revenue increased $14.9 million and $24.0 million for the years ended July 31, 2008 and July 31, 2007, respectively, primarily as a result of increased ETP excluding season pass products, which was driven by an increase in absolute pricing.  Additionally, season pass revenue rose $5.5 million and $10.9 million (an increase of 7.7% and 17.7%), respectively, for the years ended July 31, 2008 and July 31, 2007.  For the year ended July 31, 2008, almost all of the increase in season pass revenue was due to increases in pricing, with season pass holders’ average visitation per pass increasing for the 2007/2008 ski season compared to the prior year, partially offsetting the increase in ETP resulting from price increases; whereas, the increase in season pass revenue for the year ended July 31, 2007 was impacted by both price increases and higher sales volume.  Partially offsetting the above discussed increases in price and season pass revenue was a decline in skier visits excluding season pass holders of 3.0% and 1.0% for the years ended July 31, 2008 and July 31, 2007, respectively, at the Company’s five ski resorts.  The decline for the year ended July 31, 2008 was the result of lower skier visitation excluding season pass holders in non-peak periods, including the early season (prior to December 24) due to below average snow conditions, and early March and April due in part to the timing of Easter which was in March for the year ended July 31, 2008 versus April in the years ended July 31, 2007 and 2006, all of which was partially offset by significant increases in international visitation which was higher by an estimated 26% for the year ended July 31, 2008.  The decline in overall skier visits for the year ended July 31, 2007 was due to a decline at the Company’s Heavenly resort primarily attributable to below average snowfall, while visitation excluding season pass holders at the Colorado resorts increased.



Other revenue mainly consists of private club revenue (which includes both club dues and amortization of initiation fees), summer visitation and other mountain activities revenue, allocated strategic alliance revenue, commercial leasing revenue, employee housing revenue, technology services revenue (until the disposition of the Company’s investment in RTP in April 2007), municipal services revenue and other recreation activity revenue.  For the year ended July 31, 2008 revenues were down $8.4 million compared to the prior year due to the disposition in April 2007 of the Company’s investment in RTP.  Excluding this disposition, other revenue would have increased by $0.6 million, or 0.8% for the year ended July 31, 2008 compared to the year ended July 31, 2007.  For the year ended July 31, 2007 other revenue was flat compared to the year ended July 31, 2006, primarily due to lost revenue for the fourth fiscal quarter in the year ended July 31, 2007 as a result of the disposition of the Company’s investment in RTP which offset increased revenues from commercial leasing and other ancillary mountain activities.







Total Lodging segment net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2008 increased by $7.6 million as compared to the year ended July 31, 2007.  Included in net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2007 was the recognition of $5.4 million in termination fees primarily associated with the termination of the management agreements at The Equinox and Rancho Mirage (pursuant to the terms of the management agreements).  Excluding these termination fees, Lodging segment net revenue would have increased $13.0 million, or 8.3% for the year ended July 31, 2008, compared to the year ended July 31, 2007.  ADR increased 6.2% for the year ended July 31, 2008 compared to the prior year due to high demand during peak periods in the year (partially offset by lower visitation during non-peak periods, including the early season and the timing of Easter as described in the Mountain segment discussion) and as a result of the addition of The Arrabelle Hotel.  RevPAR increased 6.9% for the year ended July 31, 2008 compared to the year ended July 31, 2007, which, in addition to increases in ADR, was driven by a 6.9% increase in conference and group room nights, occurring primarily at GTLC and Keystone lodging properties during the Company’s fourth fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2008.  Additionally, Lodging revenue was impacted by fewer available rooms, down 2.5% for the year ended July 31, 2008 as compared to the prior year, primarily as a result of a reduction in managed condominium units at Keystone.

For the year ended July 31, 2006, Lodging Reported EBITDA includes revenue of $5.2 million and operating expenses of $4.5 million related to SRL&S prior to the sale of SRL&S in January 2006.  Excluding the impact of the sale of SRL&S, Lodging revenue increased $11.9 million, or 7.9%, for the year ended July 31, 2007, compared to the year ended July 31, 2006.  The revenue increase for the year ended July 31, 2007 was partially due to the recognition of $5.4 million in termination fees as discussed above.  ADR and RevPAR, which do not include the impact of the termination fees, and excluding the impact of the SRL&S sale, increased 8.5% and 9.5% for the year ended July 31, 2007, respectively, compared to the year ended July 31, 2006.  The increase in ADR and RevPAR for the year ended July 31, 2007 was driven by the lodging properties proximate to the Company’s ski resorts and increased revenue at GTLC.  The overall Lodging revenue increase during the year ended July 31, 2007 was partially impacted by fewer available rooms, primarily as a result of construction at The Lodge at Vail and a reduction in managed condominium units.








Real Estate segment net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2008 was driven primarily by the closing on 64 of the 66 condominium units at Arrabelle ($213.6 million), the closing on five of the 13 units at Chalets ($58.8 million), the closing on the remaining JHG&TC cabins ($9.0 million) and contingent gains on development parcels sales that closed in previous periods.  Operating expense for the year ended July 31, 2008 included cost of sales of $225.9 million (including sales commissions) commensurate with revenue recognized, as well as general and administrative costs of approximately $25.4 million.  General and administrative costs are primarily comprised of marketing expenses for the major real estate projects under development (including those that have not yet closed), overhead costs such as labor and benefits and allocated corporate costs.

Real Estate segment net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2007 was driven primarily by the closings of the Gore Creek Place ($42.9 million) and Mountain Thunder ($24.1 million) developments, certain JHG&TC cabins ($14.2 million), the sale of land together with certain related infrastructure improvements in Red Sky Ranch and Breckenridge to third-party developers, the sale of the sole asset in the FFT Investment Partners real estate joint venture and contingent gains on development parcel sales that closed in previous periods.  Operating expense for the year ended July 31, 2007 included cost of sales of $83.6 million (including sales commissions) commensurate with revenue recognized, as well as general administrative costs of approximately $24.0 million.  General and administrative costs are primarily comprised of marketing expenses for the major real estate projects under development, overhead costs such as labor and benefits as the Company increased its infrastructure relative to the increased vertical development activity, and professional services fees.  In addition, the Company recorded $7.6 million of charges during the year ended July 31, 2007 for incremental remediation costs to complete the JHG&TC cabins that had design and construction issues.

Real Estate segment net revenue for the year ended July 31, 2006 was primarily generated from the closing of certain townhomes at Gore Creek Place, developer parcel sales in the Beaver Creek area, a land exchange with the Forest Service and contingent gains on development parcel sales that closed in prior periods.  Operating expense included cost of sales of $34.1 million (including sales commissions) commensurate with revenue recognized, as well as general and administrative costs of approximately $20.8 million.  General and administrative costs are primarily comprised of marketing expenses, overhead costs such as labor and benefits and professional services fees.  In addition, the Company recorded $1.8 million in incremental cost of sales during the year ended July 31, 2006 related to the JHG&TC development.










Interest expense, net.  The Company’s primary sources of interest expense are the 6.75% Notes, its credit facilities, including unused commitment fees and letter of credit fees related to the $400 million revolving credit facility (the “Credit Facility Revolver”) thereunder, the outstanding $57.7 million of industrial development bonds (collectively, the “Industrial Development Bonds”) and the series of bonds issued to finance the construction of employee housing facilities (the “Employee Housing Bonds”).  Interest expense decreased $2.0 million for the year ended July 31, 2008 compared to the year ended July 31, 2007 primarily due to a reduction in the average variable borrowing rate of the employee housing bonds and an increase in capitalized interest associated with significant ongoing real estate and related resort development.



Contract dispute credit (charges), net.  In March 2006, RockResorts was notified by the ownership of Cheeca Lodge & Spa, formerly a RockResorts managed property, that its management agreement was being terminated effective immediately.  RockResorts believed that the termination was in violation of the management agreement and pursued its legal rights.  In October 2007, RockResorts received payment from Cheeca Holdings as final settlement of the parties’ management agreement termination dispute in the amount of $13.5 million, of which $11.9 million (net of final attorney’s fees) is recorded in “contract dispute credit (charges), net” in the Consolidated Statements of Operations for the year ended July 31, 2008.  The Company incurred $4.6 million and $3.3 million of legal related costs related to this matter in the years ended July 31, 2007 and 2006, respectively (see Note 13, Commitments and Contingencies, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, for more information regarding this settlement).







   
       
           
                 
                 
               
                 
           
             
               
                 
           
                 
           
               
             
               
                 
           
                 
           
           





The Company's liquidity profile remained strong during the year ended July 31, 2008.  The Company had no borrowings under its Credit Facility and had $162.3 million of cash and cash equivalents as of July 31, 2008.  For the years ended July 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006, cash and cash equivalents (decreased) increased by $(68.5) million, $39.0 million and $55.2 million, respectively.  The Company generated $217.0 million of cash from operating activities during the year ended July 31, 2008, compared to $118.4 million and $63.7 million generated during the years ended July 31, 2007 and 2006, respectively.  For the last three fiscal years, the Company’s cash flows from operations have been positively impacted by an increase in Resort Reported EBITDA (the combination of Mountain Reported EBITDA and Lodging Reported EBITDA).  In addition, significant net cash flows from operating activities were generated in the year ended July 31, 2008 due to an increase in Real Estate Reported EBITDA adjusted for real estate cost of sales less investments in real estate.  For the years ended July 31, 2007 and 2006 net cash generated from operating activities was negatively impacted as investments in real estate exceeded Real Estate Reported EBITDA adjusted for real estate cost of sales.  The Company currently anticipates that Resort Reported EBITDA will continue to provide a significant source of future operating cash flows.  Additionally, anticipated closings of real estate projects will provide a significant source of future cash flows from operations, offset by further investments in real estate (as further discussed below within Significant Uses of Cash).


Net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended July 31, 2008 decreased by $190.1 million compared to the year ended July 31, 2007 due to the decrease in net non-recourse borrowings of $111.0 million as well as an increase in repurchases of $84.6 million of the Company’s common stock during the year ended July 31, 2008 (as further discussed below within Significant Uses of Cash).  Additionally, cash proceeds from the exercise of stock options decreased by $14.6 million (including tax benefits) for the year ended July 31, 2008 compared to the year ended July 31, 2007.  The Company’s net cash provided by financing activities for the year ended July 31, 2007 was consistent with the year ended July 31, 2006; however, cash proceeds from the exercise of stock options decreased by $42.6 million (including tax benefits) for the year ended July 31, 2007 compared to the year ended July 31, 2006, which was offset by an increase in proceeds from non-recourse borrowings in the year ended July 31, 2007.

In addition to the Company’s $162.3 million of cash and cash equivalents as of July 31, 2008, the Company has available $306.2 million under its Credit Facility (which represents the total commitment of $400 million less certain letters of credit outstanding of $93.8 million).  As of July 31, 2008 and 2007, total long-term debt (including long-term debt due within one year) was $556.7 million and $594.1 million, respectively, with the decrease as of July 31, 2008 due to the net repayment of non-recourse financing related to the Company’s vertical real estate projects.  Net Debt (defined as long-term debt plus long-term debt due within one year less cash and cash equivalents) increased from $363.3 million as of July 31, 2007 to $394.4 million as of July 31, 2008 due to a reduction in cash and cash equivalents as discussed above, partially off-set by a reduction in borrowings under the Company’s non-recourse financings.  The Company believes it is well positioned to take advantage of potential strategic options as further discussed below, as the Company has significant cash and cash equivalents on hand and no revolver borrowings under its Credit Facility.

The Company expects that its liquidity needs in the near term will be met by continued utilization of operating cash flows (including cash to be generated from anticipated real estate closings net of proceeds used to pay off real estate specific financing) and borrowings, if necessary, under the Credit Facility.  In order to provide additional flexibility for the Company’s liquidity needs, the Company finalized in March 2008 an agreement with the lenders in its Credit Facility to utilize an accordion feature to expand commitments under the existing facility by $100 million (for a total borrowing capacity of $400 million), at the same terms existing in the current facility.  The Company believes the Credit Facility, which matures in 2012, including the expanded commitments would provide added flexibility especially when evaluating future financing needs for its real estate projects given the current state of the non-recourse financing available in the capital markets, and is priced favorably, with any new borrowings currently being priced at LIBOR plus 0.50%.




The Company expects to spend approximately $260 million to $280 million in calendar year 2008 for real estate development projects, including the construction of associated resort-related depreciable assets, of which $153 million was spent as of July 31, 2008, leaving approximately $107 million to $127 million to spend in the remainder of calendar year 2008.  The Company has entered into contracts with third parties to provide construction-related services to the Company throughout the course of construction for these projects; commitments for future services to be performed over the next several years under such current contracts total approximately $291 million.  The primary projects are expected to include continued construction and development costs, as well as planning and infrastructure costs associated with planned development projects in and around each of the Company’s resorts.  The Company expects investments in real estate will be significant for the foreseeable future as the Company continues its vertical development efforts.  The Company has not finalized its real estate development plan for calendar year 2009.  The Company obtained non-recourse financing to partially fund construction of Arrabelle and Chalets projects.  In addition to utilizing project-specific financing and cash on hand as appropriate, the Company also pre-sells units requiring deposits in a proposed development prior to committing to the completion of the development.

The Company has historically invested significant cash in capital expenditures for its resort operations, and expects to continue to invest significant cash in the future.  The Company evaluates additional capital improvements based on expected strategic impacts and/or expected return on investment.  The Company currently anticipates it will spend approximately $105 million to $115 million of resort capital expenditures for calendar year 2008 excluding resort depreciable assets arising from real estate activities noted above, of which $48 million was spent as of July 31, 2008, leaving approximately $57 million to $67 million to spend in the remainder of calendar year 2008.  This overall resort capital investment will allow the Company to maintain its high quality standards and make incremental discretionary improvements at the Company’s five ski resorts and throughout its owned hotels.  Included in these capital expenditures are approximately $40 million to $42 million which are necessary to maintain appearance and level of service appropriate to the Company’s world-class resort operations, including routine replacement of snow grooming equipment and rental fleet equipment.  Discretionary expenditures for calendar 2008 includes a replacement of an existing gondola with a new state-of-the-art eight passenger Keystone River Run gondola in River Run Village; completion of an on-mountain ski school building following the new Buckaroo Express gondola installed in 2007 at Beaver Creek; full renovation of The Osprey at Beaver Creek (formerly known as the Inn at Beaver Creek), including substantial upgrades to create a unique ultra-luxury RockResorts branded hotel; new snowmaking equipment at Peak 7 in Breckenridge; start of a Jackson Lake Lodge room remodel in Grand Teton National Park; and upgrades to the Company’s central reservations, marketing database and e-commerce booking systems, among other projects.  The Company has not finalized its specific resort capital plan for calendar year 2009.  The Company currently plans to utilize cash flow from operations and cash on hand to provide the cash necessary to execute its capital plan.


The Company’s debt service requirements can be impacted by changing interest rates as the Company had $102.0 million of variable-rate debt outstanding as of July 31, 2008.  A 100-basis point change in LIBOR would cause the Company’s annual interest payments to change by approximately $0.8 million.  The fluctuation in the Company’s debt service requirements, in addition to interest rate changes, may be impacted by future borrowings under its Credit Facility or other alternative financing arrangements, including non-recourse real estate financings, it may enter into.  The Company’s long term liquidity needs are dependent upon operating results that impact the borrowing capacity under the Credit Facility, which can be mitigated by adjustments to capital expenditures, flexibility of investment activities and the ability to obtain favorable future financing.  The Company can manage changes in the business and economic environment by managing its capital expenditures and real estate development activities.

On March 9, 2006, the Company’s Board of Directors approved the repurchase of up to 3,000,000 shares of common stock and on July 16, 2008 approved an increase of the Company’s common stock repurchase authorization by an additional 3,000,000 shares.  During the year ended July 31, 2008, the Company repurchased 2,330,608 shares of common stock at a cost of $99.6 million.  Since inception of this stock repurchase plan, the Company has repurchased 3,004,108 shares at a cost of approximately $125.5 million, through July 31, 2008.  As of July 31, 2008, 2,995,892 shares remained available to repurchase under the existing repurchase authorization.  Shares of common stock purchased pursuant to the repurchase program will be held as treasury shares and may be used for the issuance of shares under the Company’s employee share award plans.  Acquisitions under the stock repurchase program may be made from time to time at prevailing prices as permitted by applicable laws, and subject to market conditions and other factors.  The timing as well as the number of shares that may be repurchased under the program will depend on a number of factors including the Company’s future financial performance, the Company’s available cash resources and competing uses for cash that may arise in the future, the restrictions in the Credit Facility and in the Indenture, prevailing prices of the Company’s common stock and the number of shares that become available for sale at prices that the Company believes are attractive.  The stock repurchase program may be discontinued at any time and is not expected to have a significant impact on the Company’s capitalization.


The Company must abide by certain restrictive financial covenants under its Credit Facility and the Indenture.  The most restrictive of those covenants include the following Credit Facility covenants: Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio, Minimum Net Worth and the Interest Coverage ratio (each as defined in the Credit Agreement).  In addition, the Company’s financing arrangements, including the Indenture, limit its ability to incur certain indebtedness, make certain restricted payments, enter into certain investments, make certain affiliate transfers and may limit its ability to enter into certain mergers, consolidations or sales of assets.  The Company’s borrowing availability under the Credit Facility is primarily determined by the Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio, which is based on the Company’s segment operating performance, as defined in the Credit Agreement.

The Company was in compliance with all restrictive financial covenants in its debt instruments as of July 31, 2008.  The Company expects it will meet all applicable financial maintenance covenants in its Credit Agreement, including the Net Funded Debt to Adjusted EBITDA ratio throughout the year ending July 31, 2009.  However, there can be no assurance that the Company will meet such financial covenants.  If such covenants are not met, the Company would be required to seek a waiver or amendment from the banks participating in the Credit Facility.  While the Company anticipates that it would obtain such waiver or amendment, if any were necessary, there can be no assurance that such waiver or amendment would be granted, which could have a material adverse impact on the liquidity of the Company.


As part of its ongoing operations, the Company enters into arrangements that obligate the Company to make future payments under contracts such as debt agreements, construction agreements in conjunction with the Company’s development activities and lease agreements.  Debt obligations, which total $556.7 million as of July 31, 2008 are recognized as liabilities in the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheet as of July 31, 2008. Obligations under construction contracts are not recognized as liabilities in the Company’s Consolidated Balance Sheet until services and/or goods are received which is in accordance with GAAP.  Additionally, operating lease obligations, which total $68.7 million as of July 31, 2008, are not recognized as liabilities in the Company's Consolidated Balance Sheet, which is in accordance with GAAP.  A summary of the Company's contractual obligations as of July 31, 2008 is as follows (in thousands):



(1)           The fixed-rate interest payments included in the table above assume that all fixed-rate debt outstanding as of July 31, 2008 will be held to maturity.  Interest payments associated with variable-rate debt have not been included in the table.  Assuming that the amounts outstanding under variable-rate long-term debt as of July 31, 2008 are held to maturity, and utilizing interest rates in effect at July 31, 2008, the Company anticipates that its annual interest payments (including commitment fees and letter of credit fees) on variable rate long-term debt as of July 31, 2008 will be in the range of $2.0 million to $3.0 million (excluding interest payments of approximately $1.0 million to be paid in the year ending July 31, 2009, related to non-recourse real estate financing) for at least the next five years.  The future annual interest obligations noted herein are estimated only in relation to debt outstanding as of July 31, 2008, and do not reflect interest obligations on potential future debt including non-recourse financing associated with real estate development.





 
 










The Company acquires intangible assets, including goodwill, primarily through business combinations.  The assignment of value to individual intangible assets generally requires the assistance of a specialist, such as an appraiser.  The assumptions used in the appraisal process are forward-looking, and thus are subject to significant interpretation.  Because individual intangible assets (i) may be expensed immediately upon acquisition; (ii) amortized over their estimated useful life; or (iii) not amortized, the assigned values and lives, when applicable, could have a material effect on current and future period results of operations.  Further, intangibles are subject to certain judgments when evaluating impairment pursuant to SFAS No. 142, “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” (“SFAS 142”), discussed further in Note 2, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.  The Company tests goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets annually for impairment under SFAS 142 as of May 1, or whenever events may indicate a possible impairment exists.  Additionally, future operating results could trigger significant future non-cash impairment charges.








The Company must make certain estimates and judgments in determining income tax expense for financial statement purposes.  These estimates and judgments occur in the calculation of tax credits and deductions and in the calculation of certain tax assets and liabilities, which arise from differences in the timing of recognition of revenue and expense for tax and financial statement purposes, as well as the interest and penalties relating to these uncertain tax positions.  The calculation of the Company’s tax liabilities involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax regulations.  As a result of the implementation of FIN 48, the Company recognizes liabilities for uncertain tax positions based on the two-step process prescribed within the interpretation.  The first step is to evaluate the tax position for recognition by determining if the weight of available evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained on audit, including resolution of related appeals or litigation processes, if any.  The second step requires the Company to estimate and measure the tax benefit as the largest amount that is more than 50% likely of being realized upon ultimate settlement.  It is inherently difficult and subjective to estimate such amounts, as this requires the Company to determine the probability of various possible outcomes.  This evaluation is based on factors including, but not limited to, changes in facts or circumstances, changes in tax law, effectively settled issues under audit and new audit activity.  A significant amount of time may pass before a particular matter, for which the Company may have established a reserve, is audited and fully resolved.















In September 2006, the FASB issued SFAS No. 157, “Fair Value Measurements” (“SFAS 157”), which defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value, and expands disclosures about fair value measurements.  SFAS 157 does not require any new fair value measurements, but provides guidance on how to measure fair value by providing a fair value hierarchy which prioritizes the inputs to valuation techniques used to measure fair value.  The requirements of SFAS 157 are effective for the Company beginning August 1, 2008 (the Company’s fiscal year ending July 31, 2009).  In February 2008, the FASB issued Staff Position (“FSP”) 157-2, “Effective Date of FASB Statement No. 157.”  This FSP delays the effective date of SFAS 157 for all nonfinancial assets and nonfinancial liabilities, except those that are recognized or disclosed at fair value on a recurring basis (at least annually), to fiscal years beginning after November 15, 2008 (the Company's fiscal year ending July 31, 2010) and interim periods within the fiscal year of adoption.  The adoption of SFAS 157 for financial assets and liabilities will not have a material impact on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.  The Company is currently evaluating the impacts, if any, the adoption of the provisions of SFAS 157 for nonfinancial assets and liabilities will have on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.



In December 2007, the FASB issued SFAS No. 160, “Noncontrolling Interest in Consolidated Financial Statements, an amendment of ARB No. 51” (“SFAS 160”), which will change the accounting and reporting for minority interests, which will be recharacterized as noncontrolling interests and classified as a component of equity within the balance sheet.  Currently, noncontrolling interests (minority interests) are reported as a liability in the Company’s consolidated balance sheet and the related income (loss) attributable to minority interests is reflected as an expense (credit) in arriving at net income.  Upon adoption of SFAS 160, the Company will be required to report its minority interests as a separate component of stockholders’ equity and present net income allocable to the minority interests along with net income attributable to the stockholders of the Company separately in its consolidated statement of operations.  SFAS 160 requires retroactive adoption of the presentation and disclosure requirements for existing minority interests.  All other requirements of SFAS 160 shall be applied prospectively.  The requirements of SFAS 160 are effective for the Company beginning August 1, 2009 (the Company’s fiscal year ending July 31, 2010).




The Company's mountain and lodging operations are seasonal in nature.  In particular, revenue and profits for the Company's mountain and most of its lodging operations are substantially lower and historically result in losses from late spring to late fall.  Conversely, peak operating seasons for GTLC, certain managed hotel properties and the Company's owned golf courses occur during the summer months while the winter season generally results in operating losses.  Revenue and profits generated by GTLC's summer operations, management fees from certain managed properties, certain other lodging properties and golf operations are not nearly sufficient to fully offset the Company's off-season losses from its mountain and other lodging operations.  During the year ended July 31, 2008, 80% of total combined Mountain and Lodging segment net revenue was earned during the second and third fiscal quarters.  Therefore, the operating results for any three-month period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for any subsequent quarter or for a full year (see Note 15, Selected Quarterly Financial Data, of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements).




 
Vail Resorts, Inc.

Consolidated Financial Statements for the Years Ended July 31, 2008, 2007 and 2006

F-2
   
F-3
   
Consolidated Financial Statements
 
F-4
F-5
F-6
F-7
F-8
F-9
   
Financial Statement Schedule:
 
The following consolidated financial statement schedule of the Company is filed as part of this Report on Form 10-K and should be read in conjunction with the Company's Consolidated Financial Statements:
 
   
59











To the Shareholders and Board of Directors
of Vail Resorts, Inc.:

In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements listed in the accompanying index present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Vail Resorts, Inc. and its subsidiaries at July 31, 2008 and 2007, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended July 31, 2008 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.  In addition, in our opinion, the financial statement schedule listed in the accompanying index presents fairly, in all material respects, the information set forth therein when read in conjunction with the related consolidated financial statements.  Also in our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of July 31, 2008, based on criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO).  The Company's management is responsible for these financial statements and financial statement schedule, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management's Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting.  Our responsibility is to express opinions on these financial statements, on the financial statement schedule, and on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our integrated audits.  We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States).  Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.  Our audits of the financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation.  Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk.  Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

A company’s internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.  A company’s internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (i) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (ii) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (iii) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company’s assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements.  Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

/s/ PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
Denver, Colorado
September 24, 2008

 
 

 

Consolidated Balance Sheets
(In thousands, except share and per share amounts)

     
July 31,
 
     
2008
   
2007
 
Assets
             
Current assets:
             
Cash and cash equivalents
 
$
162,345
 
$
230,819
 
Restricted cash
   
58,437
   
54,749
 
Trade receivables, net of allowances of $1,666 and $2,118, respectively
   
50,185
   
43,557
 
Inventories, net of reserves of $1,211 and $826, respectively
   
49,708
   
48,064
 
Deferred income taxes (Note 11)
   
15,142
   
15,056
 
Other current assets
   
23,078
   
19,392
 
Total current assets
   
358,895
   
411,637
 
Property, plant and equipment, net (Note 5)
   
1,056,837
   
885,926
 
Real estate held for sale and investment
   
249,305
   
357,586
 
Deferred charges and other assets
   
38,054
   
30,129
 
Notes receivable
   
8,051
   
8,639
 
Goodwill, net (Note 5)
   
142,282
   
141,699
 
Intangible assets, net (Note 5)
   
72,530
   
73,507
 
Total assets
 
$
1,925,954
 
$
1,909,123
 
               
Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity
             
Current liabilities:
             
Accounts payable and accrued expenses (Note 5)
 
$
294,182
 
$
281,779
 
Income taxes payable
   
57,474
   
37,441
 
Long-term debt due within one year (Note 4)
   
15,355
   
377
 
Total current liabilities
   
367,011
   
319,597
 
Long-term debt (Note 4)
   
541,350
   
593,733
 
Other long-term liabilities (Note 5)