Vermont Technology Council launches online tool to match employers and student interns

first_imgVermont Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller, Commissioner of Labor Annie Noonan, and Commissioner of Economic Development Lisa Gosselin have joined leaders from the Vermont Technology Council in announcing the launch of an innovative web portal to match Vermont technology companies with open internships with students in higher education seeking experience in the field.The State of Vermont has articulated through legislation and the allocation of resources that workforce development is an integral part of economic development, and internships are a growing part of this evolving policy.”In my role as Secretary, I have significant contact with many Vermont companies whose growth is limited by the availability of a workforce with the skills and experience needed,” said Miller. “Creating solutions that address this issue is a top priority.”The new website, www.vermont.internships.com(link is external), is designed to address the workforce needs of the state’s diverse companies, in rural and urban areas alike. Offered as a free service, the dynamic, user-friendly interface consolidates exciting internship opportunities and employers creating their pipeline of new employees in one convenient location.Vermont employers can easily access the website to post new internship opportunities and browse for potential candidates, learn how to create an internship program, how to write an effective job description, find answers to legal questions about hiring interns, and more. Students worldwide can check the site for all available internships; take the “internship predictor” to help refine their search, find resume advice, and more. “At C2, internships are not only an essential recruiting tool but have also become an important part of our culture of continuous learning and mentoring where experienced employees, interns and  new graduates  learn from each other,”  said Carolyn  Edwards, CEO of Competitive Computing.We know that students rely on social media and the internet when pursuing internship opportunities and access to the most current content to guide their search is critical,” said John Evans, President of the Vermont Technology Council. “Internships are the best way for students to gain the work experience necessary to find a job after graduation. In fact, nearly 7 out of 10 internships culminate with a full time job offer after successful completion of the program.”Likewise, Vermont companies want a simple and efficient way to list internships and avail themselves of comprehensive educational tools to help build and grow thriving internship programs. Both the public and private sectors have asked for a central location to post and search for internship opportunities.C2, also known as Competitive Computing, is a Vermont-based technology services firm specializing in internet business solutions and enterprise technology infrastructure. With a focus on building strategic value, their industry-leading technology solutions are custom designed to help position their clients to compete in an increasingly fast-paced and highly connected world. For over 20 years, C2 has worked with brand-name businesses, as well as educational and governmental institutions, to deliver award-winning solutions while earning premiere status partnerships with vendors such as Microsoft, Dell, VMware and EMC. Serving clients throughout the northeast, their client list includes national and local brands. In 2013, C2 was once again recognized as one of the top 5 fastest growing tech companies in Vermont with extensive experience in IT Planning, Custom Multi-Channel Commerce, Email and Messaging Systems, Server Virtualization, Networking Solutions and 24/7 Managed Support Services. www.competitive.com(link is external)Vermont Internships is powered by Internships.com, a division of Career Arc Group. Internships.com is the same company that was selected to support the White House’s 2013 Youth Jobs+ initiative as a co-lead technology partner. Internships.com, part of CareerArc Group, is the world’s largest internship marketplace bringing students, employers and higher education together in one centralized location.  The innovative, Los Angeles-based company, named by Forbes as a “Top 10 Careers Website,” develops a wide variety of interactive, world-class tools and services to enable every student, employer, and educator to better understand and optimize internship opportunities.  For more information, please visit www.internships.com(link is external).SOURCE: COLCHESTER, Vt., Oct. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Competitive Computing; Vermont Technology Council www.vttechcouncil.org(link is external) www.vermont.internships.com(link is external)last_img read more

Leahy, Sanders support successful ENDA vote

first_imgOn Thursday, the US Senate voted 64-32 in favor of a bill to prohibit workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. Vermont Senators Leahy and Sanders supported the measure. Their statements follow.Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont): “The Senate has an historic opportunity today to take discrimination out of the workplace by casting a vote for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Today’s vote has been 20 years in the making, and it is long overdue for Congress to extend these protections to all American workers.’  Years from now we will look back on this remedy as another substantial milestone on our Nation’s everlasting quest to achieve a more perfect union ‘ a quest to realize more completely the motto engraved in Vermont marble above the Supreme Court building that declares: ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’’ “We now have protections for workers from discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, national origin and disability, as we should.’  Yet there are no Federal protections from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.’  In 29 states, it is still legal for an employer to fire employees based on their sexual orientation, and in 33 states employees can be fired based on their gender identity.’  Maintaining the status quo would keep in place a system that supports a second-class of workers in a majority of states.’  This runs counter to our founding values.’  It is time to remedy that.’ “As the son of Vermont printers, I learned at an early age the primary importance of the First Amendment.’  The First Amendment in our Bill of Rights is the foundation of our democracy and our way of life.’  It is one of the most defining principles of our national character.’  It helps preserve all of our other rights.’  By guaranteeing a free press and the free exercise of religion, it ensures an informed electorate and the freedom to worship God and to practice our religion as we choose ‘ or to practice no religion at all.’ ‘ “Religious freedom does not end with the vital protections afforded by the First Amendment.’  The bill before us contains important protections for religious organizations by ensuring that they can continue to make significant faith-based employment decisions.’  The carefully crafted religious exemption in this legislation is consistent with the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution.’ “All Americans deserve civil rights protections under our Constitution, which, in addition to the First Amendment, also ensures due process and equal protection.’  In previous legislative debates like the one before us today, Congress has protected and bolstered these rights by passing legislation to fill gaps in our Federal laws.’  This includes passing legislation to protect the practice of religion without discrimination, to prevent pay discrimination based on sex, and to serve openly in the military.’  By passing the remedy before us today, we will take another significant step forward in taking discrimination out of our laws and ensuring the equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.’ “I thank Chairman Harkin and Senators Merkley and Collins for their leadership on this significant, overdue, and bipartisan antidiscrimination remedy.’  I also am mindful and appreciative of the leading role that Senator Jim Jeffords of my State of Vermont took in advancing this remedy during his time in this body.’  And I thank Majority Leader Reid for making this a priority for the Senate.’  I know that my late friend Senator Kennedy is smiling down on this chamber today as we advance his efforts to end employment discrimination.’  Today we can honor his legacy with this historic vote.‘  Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) said: ‘I am very pleased that the Senate has taken this important step toward making America the democratic and inclusive society it should be. Today’s vote was a long-overdue victory in the struggle to end workplace discrimination against gay and transgender Americans.’’  The legislation was first introduced in the Senate nearly two decades ago. ‘ The Senate-passed measure now goes to the House.’ Vermont has prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation since 1992.’ It has been illegal to discriminate against transgender Vermonters since 2007.Leahy and Sanders 11.7.2013last_img read more

House health care committee quashes bill to delay single-payer

first_imgby Morgan True vtdigger.org A bill that would delay the implementation of Green Mountain Care, the state’s planned universal public health care program, won’t make it out of committee. The bill was sent to the House Health Care Committee, which voted Wednesday on bills it plans to work through before crossover. H.858, which would push the governor’s single payer plan to 2019, didn’t make the cut.‘It’s disappointing but not surprising,’ said Rep. Patti Komline, R-Dorset, the bill’s primary sponsor.Though H.858 had picked up a bipartisan group of sponsors, it was essentially dead on arrival.One of those sponsors was Rep. George Till, D-Jericho, an obstetrician, said the proposal makes good sense, but he recognizes it is largely a symbolic gesture.‘Moving to GMC is a massive change in our medical system,’ he said.If the point is to cover every Vermonter and lower health care costs, then it’s important to know exactly what those costs are now, he said.‘If you want to ask, ‘Are we making a difference with a new system?’ you have to compare it with new data, you can’t compare it with old data,’ Till said.Collecting the data to understand the current health care landscape, which is still shifting with the implementation of the new health care exchange, isn’t feasible by 2017, when Green Mountain Care is expected to begin, he said.The rocky rollout of Vermont Health Connect means there won’t be good data on how the exchange has altered health care until 2015, according to Till.With a two-year lag on Medicare data, an accurate picture of current health care reform won’t emerge until at least 2017, he said.Till said 2017 is an arbitrary timeline for switching to Green Mountain Care.‘It was a political promise by the governor,’ he said. ‘I think that’s a terrible way to make decisions [about health care].’He supports universal health care, but he said it’s more important to do it right than to do it quickly.In the past two years Vermont has had the lowest rates of growth in health care costs since the growth rate numbers were first recorded. Till said that eliminates the urgency of further reform.‘The pressures of double digit increases in spending are not there right not now,’ he said. ‘It takes away the urgency of having to make a change.’last_img read more

CVMC receives grant to purchase Vermont art for patient rooms

first_imgCentral Vermont Medical Center,Vermont Business Magazine “There are pictures in the hospitals, but none in the patients’ rooms.” Those words, spoken by Susan Sebastian to her mother during one of her many lengthy hospital stays, brought about the Susan Sebastian Foundation. After Susan’s death in April 2009, Elise Braun decided to honor the memory of her daughter by providing art for patient rooms in Vermont hospitals. The art chosen, all created by Vermont artists, is intended to transport the patient beyond the hospital walls that confine them.Elise Braun and Gilbert Myers, the Susan Sebastian Foundation grant administrator, used the book Healing Spaces: The Science of Place and Well-Being by Dr Esther Sternberg to help define the parameters for purchasing the art. Each piece is meant to take the patient out of the hospital room and into the outdoors. In Elise Braun’s words, “It gets you thinking about getting out of the hospital. It makes you feel like you want to get better.” Gilbert Myers explained that the art “represents Vermont’s natural beauty and scenes that patients might recognize. It is intended to cheer them up.”UVM Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center has received 38 works of art from the Susan Sebastian Foundation to hang on the walls of 2 North & South and the Women and Children’s Unit. The estimated combined value of the diverse portfolio of artwork is about $20,000 and features work by celebrated Vermont artists Kathleen Kolb, Daryl Storrs, Sabra Field, Ed Epstein, Woody Jackson, Harald Aksdal, Jennine Lunn, Annalein Beukenkamp, Frank Woods, John Snell and Rory Jackson, among others. Their mediums include photographs, pastels, oil on paper, prints and watercolors.The foundation’s purchases not only brighten the walls and lives of UVM Heath Network – Central Vermont Medical Center patients and employees, it has provided an economic boost for local artists as well.This philanthropic endeavor by the Susan Sebastian Foundation (Williston) is undertaken quietly and without any requests for donations. The goal is to share with every hospital in Vermont. This hospital is forever grateful.UVM Health Network – Central Vermont Medical Center President and CEO Judy Tartaglia thanked Gilbert Myers from the Susan Sebastian Foundation for their generous gift to UVMHN-CVMC patients and the central Vermont community at a reception held in the hospital gallery on Wednesday, July 22. The collection, purchased with grant  funds, will be exhibited for a month before it is installed in patient rooms. (shown, right to left):  Judy Tartaglia, President & CEO; Frank Woods, artist; Gilbert  Myers, Susan Sebastian Foundation grant administrator;  Harald Aksdal, artist; Ed Epstein, artist; and Maureen O’Connor Burgess, Marketing and Communications at CVMC.last_img read more

Shumlin, NE governors take action on opioid abuse, surface transportation and LIHEAP

first_imgVermont Business Magazine At the 39th annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premieres (NEG/ECP) in St Johns, NB, today, Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) took action on issues affecting the region, including the opioid epidemic, national surface transportation legislation, and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Shumlin and five other New England governors recommended to Dr. Stephen Ostroff, Acting Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the FDA require labeling changes for Immediate Release opioid analgesics that effectively communicate to patients and prescribers the serious risks of addiction, overdose, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), and death associated with the drugs. They also wrote to Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose urging accelerated action by the Ministry to align the regulatory approaches of the U.S. FDA and Health Canada on regulations for tamper resistant/abuse deterrent guidelines for controlled-release oxycodone products.(Click here to read the full letter to the FDA(link is external) and here for Health Canada(link is external))On transportation issues, CONEG members also agreed on language urging Congress to act quickly to ensure continuity and stability of the nation’s highway, transit, rail and safety programs and the Highway Trust Fund.(Click here to read the full Surface Transportation Authorization letter(link is external))In a letter to U.S. House and Senate authorization leaders regarding the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the six governors urged lawmakers to secure the maximum funding level for low-income families within the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill. CONEG members asked Congress to maintain the current language from the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 so that states can efficiently assist low-income households with the delivery of essential home heating oil or restoration of vital gas or electric utility service as soon as winter weather arrives.(Click here to read the full LIHEAP letter(link is external))The Northeast Governors met Monday morning in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador where the members participated in the 39th annual Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premieres (NEG/ECP). The New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers are in Newfoundland to discuss issues of regional importance including energy, trade and transportation. Governors Malloy (CT), Hassan (NH), Baker (MA), Shumlin (VT), LePage (ME) and a representative from Rhode Island participated in today’s CONEG meeting. PHOTO: Northeastern Governors & Eastern Canadian Premiers to make progress on energy issues affecting our regionlast_img read more

UVM summit focuses on health, agriculture and rural economic development in Vermont

first_imgVermont Business Magazine Accessing health care and health insurance are significant challenges for farmers in Vermont and nationwide, creating obstacles for farm viability, health and well-being, job creation, business expansion and the ability to farm full-time. A day-long summit at the University of Vermont on Thursday brought together key stakeholders in Vermont’s health, agriculture, tax, government, and Extension sectors to share perspectives and discuss opportunities for collaboration and integration of the spheres of health and agriculture to better serve Vermont’s farmers.The intended outcome is to develop a statewide coordinated approach to addressing health and health insurance in the Vermont farm sector. This event is part of the ongoing USDA Health Insurance, Rural Economic Development and Agriculture research project (HIREDnAg(link is external)).In opening remarks, lead author University of Vermont Professor Shoshanah Inwood said Vermont farmers face a magnified version of the same issues and obstacles as small business owners everywhere face in regards to health insurance, the Affordable Care Act, cost of health care, time it takes to understand and deal with health insurance, and child care.“Agriculture is the least likely industry to offer health insurance,” Inwood told summit attendees.University of Vermont Professor Shoshanah Inwood. VBM photo.For labor-intensive Vermont dairy farms, which represents 77 percent of all agricultural sales in the state, there is little time to wrestle with forms or negotiate the Vermont Health Connect Website.Cash flow for health insurance also creates a barrier, Inwood said. Farmers will typically have unsteady income streams from month to month and year to year.Farmers also worry most about catastrophic injury. While catastrophic-only health insurance plans have low premiums, they have high deductibles. They also frequently lack dental and optometric coverage.Given that, the Platinum health insurance plans might present the best option, but the staggering monthly premiums bump into the cash flow problem. The 2017 monthly premium for a Platinum plan (Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont) is $686.76/month for an individual or triple that for a family plan.An Health Savings Account allows for pre-tax savings to pay for out-of-pocket expenses like dental and deductibles, but HSAs also have higher deductibles that would be quickly eaten away by a hospital stay, and still have a significant premium.Those who attended the summit included UVM researchers, research partners from University of Maryland, nonprofit service providers, health insurance providers, technical assistance providers, Extension employees, VT State Agency employees from Dept of Labor, Agency of Agriculture, Dept of Health, Dept of Taxes, and Vermont Health Connect, as well as representatives from the office of Senators Leahy and Sanders and the USDA.Study Background and Purpose The project “Health Insurance Economic Development and Agriculture” (HIREDnAg) is a project lead by researchers at The University of Vermont and the Walsh Center for Rural Health Policy, NORC at the University of Chicago. The goal of this national study is to understand how health insurance influences farm family decision making, quality of life, and economic development.Farming ranks among the most dangerous occupations in the US (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2013). Health and safety risks inherent in agricultural work include sun and heat exposure, heavy lifting and bending that lead to chronic back and joint pain, operating farm machinery, exhaustion, exposure to disease from farm animals, handling chemicals and dangerous materials. Mental health issues can be exacerbated by economic hardships, chronic pain, stress, long hours, and solitude.Health insurance is one way to access and pay for needed health care. Having health insurance increases the likelihood of accessing preventive care and treatment in a timely manner, improving health outcomes, and reducing medical debt (Dorn, 2008). Farming families who are uninsured or underinsured can accrue crushing medical debt which can increase financial risk, lead to farm foreclosure, and reduce overall quality of life. While most farmers had health insurance from off-farm jobs, 20% had outstanding debt from medical bills with 25% reporting health care expenses contributed to their financial problems (Lottero, Pryor, Rukavina, Prottas, & Knudson, 2009).In addition to the occupational farmer health and safety concerns, studies have consistently found that longtime farmers, beginning farmers, and hired workers identify the high cost of health insurance as a major barrier to job creation and the ability to farm full-time (Inwood, 2015; Mishra, El‐Osta, & Ahearn, 2012; Ohio Rural Development Partnership, 2006;Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund, 2011; Young Farmers Coalition, 2011).Farmers and ranchers make health insurance decisions from two perspectives:1) “Farmer and Family” health insurance decisions are made for themselves and their families, and;2) “Farmers as employers” producers decide if and how to offer health insurance to employees.The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has introduced federal and state health care policy changes and has implications for how farmers and ranchers source health insurance, need for off-farm jobs, and requirements for employee-mandated health insurance (Ahearn, Williamson, & Black, 2014). Differences in how ACA markets are being implemented across states may lead to variation in adoption by agricultural enterprises, with implications for farm family and farmworker health. Little is known how ACA reforms will influence the way farm and ranch families’ structure and grow their enterprises, manage risk, and balance labor resources.Utilizing interviews and surveys in ten study states, the core objectives of the HIREDnAg Project are to:Understand how health insurance influences he way operators’ structure their enterprise; manage family and business resources; impact farm labor supply, and; operator and farm worker health, vitality, and quality of life.Conduct a needs assessment of farm and ranch technical assistance providers (farm viability and business planning professionals and tax accountants). Develop outreach and educational tools that can assist farmers and ranchers understand health insurance options.Communicate the results of the study to national and state policy makers to inform them about how health insurance impacts the vitality of the farm sector and the overall rural American economy.The ten case study states were selected based on several criteria:Active agricultural base, regional, and production variation;Medicaid expansion policy;State receptivity to participating in the studyIn this HIREDnAg case study profile series, we examine the health insurance and agriculture sector in each of the ten case study states. The health insurance policy landscape shifts rapidly; these reports are based on data accurate as of July 2016. Additionally, all agricultural data reported in this series are from the 2012 Census of Agriculture (United States Department of Agriculture, 2012).VermontVermont is the second least populated state in the U.S. with a population of 620,453 residents in 2014 (United States Census Bureau, 2014). Vermont expanded Medicaid and is operating a State-Based Marketplace with two participating insurers. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, 2016; The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 2016). Between 2009 and 2014 the rate of uninsured residents dropped by 42.3% from 53,192 to 30,716. In 2014, 5.0% of the population remained uninsured , the lowest rate of uninsured beyond Massachusetts (Redmond, 2015). Overall, 45.5% of the population has health insurance through employment alone, while 19.0% reported health insurance coverage through Medicaid or other means-tested programs alone (United States Census Bureau, 2009, 2014). Vermont is one of the states with the highest number of Medicaid recipients per capita (O’Gorman, 2015) with a Medicaid enrollment increase of 38.0% between 2006 and 2016 (Redmond, 2015).Farm Size and Type The majority of agricultural sales in Vermont are from dairy product and livestock. Out of $776.1 million in sales, over $598 million (or 77.19%) were related to livestock including $504 million in milk. Maple syrup and hay represented the largest sales in crops with over $88 million (11.4%) in sales.Between 2007 and 2012, the number of farms increased by 5.1% (from 6,984 farms to 7,338 farms) while farm sales increased by 15.2% (from $673 million to $776 million). Of the 7,338 farms, the majority (84.9%) are considered hobby or small farms with sales under $1,000 and $100,000 respectively, 6.6% are considered medium with sales between $100,000 and $250,000 and 8.5% are considered large with sales over $250,000. However, the majority of the sales come from the large farms (66.6% of the sales) (Figure 3). In Vermont, 7.5% of farms are certified organic.Marketing Orientation Twenty eight percent of the Vermont farms reported direct sales to consumers, 13.8% engaged in value adding activities while 4.5% of farms reported selling through a CSA (Figure 4). A very small minority of farms 2.1% reported any tourism activity.Farmer Population There are 12,257 farm operators in Vermont including 7,338 principal operators. The average age of the principal operator in Vermont is 57.3 years old, 54.9% of the principal operators were 65 years and older while 11.1% of the principal operators where under the age of 35. Farming was the primary occupation for 51.5% of the principal operators while 69.5% of households reported that farming accounts for less than 25% of their total household income. Women farm operators (including first, second, and third) account for 38.4% of operators compared to the national average (30.5%). Minorities account for 4.7% of the general population in Vermont, but only 1.7% of farm operators (Figure 5) (United States Census Bureau, 2014). Minorities counted in this figure include Hispanic, Black, Native American and Asian farmers. Beginning farmers in this area represent 22.3% of the principal operators compared to 18.1% at the national level.Health Insurance Information and Programs for the Agricultural Sector Nationally, USDA refers farmers and ranchers to the national website healthcare.gov. Given state health insurance policy variations we examined if states have specific health insurance programs or outreach efforts directed towards farmers by consulting the websites of the state agencies of agriculture, state extension services, and state exchange (when applicable). The Vermont Agency of Agriculture and University of Vermont do not currently provide health insurance information for the agricultural sector. Vermont Health Connect, the State-Based Marketplace, provides resources for small business owners through the SHOP Employer Guide, as well as a fact sheet to help legal migrant farm workers obtain health insurance.About the Authors Florence Becot is a research specialist at the University of Vermont Center for Rural Studies and a PhD student in the University of Vermont Food Systems Program.Shoshanah Inwood is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont.Lucy McDermott is a community manager at the Collaborative Health Network in Maine. She graduated from the University of Vermont with a bachelors’ degree in economics and minors in community development and political science in 2016.Source: UVM. 11.3.2016. 1 The rate of uninsured residents does not include the institutionalized population. The U.S. Census Bureau defines the institutionalized population as “people who are primarily ineligible, unable, or unlikely to participate in the labor force while residents of institutional group quarters” (https://ask.census.gov/f(link is external) faq.php?id=5000&faqId=6669).last_img read more

Killington Resort to host new premier mountain running series

first_imgKillington Pico Ski Resort Partners, LLC,Vermont Business Magazine On August 19 and 20, athletes from near and far will converge on Killington Resort, the largest four-season destination resort in eastern North America, for the inaugural 2017 Under Armour Mountain Running Series. Created for trail running novices and professionals alike, this North American trail running series provides unmatched racing experiences in beautiful mountain environments of three of the most iconic resort destinations in the United States, including Killington Resort. Race course locations offer diverse climates, different distances and varying elevations, and terrain built to push athletes to find the edges of their potential.The series will make a stop at Killington Resort, touting a peak elevation of 4,241 feet, and tucked in the Green Mountains of the Appalachians in Central Vermont. Killington resort covers seven peaks offering an expansive trail running system.What differentiates the UA Mountain Running Series is that courses in their entirety will take participants on off-beaten-paths of mountains in National Forests where runners will encounter everything from rocky paths in high alpine surroundings, forests of evergreens and aspens, to open meadows and mountain streams. Each single race course presents a truly unique trail running experience for participants of all levels.Killington Resort Race Events Include the Following: 50K – A single loop course where runners will conquer the entire Mountain, because The Beast is big. Offering 10,075 feet of total elevation gain, from the low side of the course at mile 16 and 1,172 feet elevation, to the high point of 3,994 feet at mile 22.6, runners will see all of the outstanding views Killington provides.Marathon – A two loop course highlighted with iconic views along the ridge at 3,860 feet will show the beauty of Killington, and some explanation as to why it’s called “The Beast”. A 9,578 foot elevation gain challenges runners on a route of dense forest trails and service roads.Half Marathon – The single loop course starts at 2,519 feet elevation and climbs to 3,860 feet elevation in the first three miles. Runners are rewarded with majestic views at the top, followed by a scenic downhill to 1,173 feet for a total of 4,789 feet in elevation gain.Marathon Relay – This two-loop course designed for teams of 2 to 4 runners features incredible views of surrounding mountains and 9,578 feet of elevation gain.Vertical Challenge – The Vertical Challenge is 1.25 miles straight up 1,552 feet in elevation gain to Killington Peak.10k – With grand views at 3,864 feet, the 10k course is a combination of trails and service roads with 2,649 feet of elevation gain.5k – This is an amazing 5k course through wooded and glacial moraine starting at 2,521 feet elevation with a climb up to 3,358 feet offering great views.See full course layouts and descriptions at www.UAMountainRunning.com(link is external). Interested runners can visit www.UAMountainRunning.com(link is external) to register.The Killington Resort UA Mountain Running stop will be a running festival unto itself, with cash prizes, exciting weekend-long resort activities, and post-race parties. A $5,000 prize purse will be divided between the top three male and female 50K finishers.2017 Under Armour Mountain Running Series Schedule July 22                    Mt. Bachelor, OR                               August 18-20       Killington Resort, VT                         September 8-10  Copper Mountain, CO      Source: KILLINGTON, Vt., May 17, 2017 – Killington. For more information and registration please visit www.UAMountainRunning.com(link is external) and to gear up for the race, visit UA.com(link is external) for technical trail running needs.last_img read more

Sanders responds to Trump press conference

first_imgVermont Business Magazine US Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) issued the following statement Tuesday after President Donald Trump held a press conference where he blamed “both sides” for violence at a white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia:”President Trump. You are embarrassing our country and the millions of Americans who fought and died to defeat Nazism. The violence in Charlottesville was not caused by the ‘alt-left,’ (whatever that may be). It was caused by Neo-Nazis and white supremacists who are attempting to spread their hateful and racist ideology.”BURLINGTON, Vt., Aug. 15 – U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders Trump Defends Initial Remarks on Charlottesville; Again Blames ‘Both Sides'(link is external)New York Timeslast_img read more

Stowe owner Vail Resorts reports fiscal 2018 Q1 results

first_img(18,000) Reconciliation of Measures of Segment Profitability and Non-GAAP Financial Measures Vail Resorts, Inc.Consolidated Condensed Statements of Operations – Other Data(In thousands)(Unaudited) For the Year Ending Total skier visits Income before provision for income taxes Other (4) 15.2% $ (22,000) $ $ $ 429 Other Data: Change in estimated fair value of contingent consideration Earnings Conference CallThe Company will conduct a conference call today at 11:30 a.m. eastern time to discuss the financial results. The call will be webcast and can be accessed at www.vailresorts.com(link is external) in the Investor Relations section, or dial (800) 289-0438 (U.S. and Canada) or (323) 794-2423 (international). A replay of the conference call will be available two hours following the conclusion of the conference call through December 21, 2017, at 12:30 p.m. eastern time. To access the replay, dial (888) 203-1112 (U.S. and Canada) or (719) 457-0820 (international), pass code 8686839. The conference call will also be archived at www.vailresorts.com(link is external).About Vail Resorts, Inc. (NYSE: MTN)Vail Resorts, Inc., through its subsidiaries, is the leading global mountain resort operator. The Company’s subsidiaries operate eleven world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone in Colorado; Park City in Utah; Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada; Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia, Canada; Stowe in Vermont; Perisher in New South Wales, Australia; Wilmot Mountainin Wisconsin; Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mt. Brighton in Michigan. Vail Resorts owns and/or manages a collection of casually elegant hotels under the RockResorts brand, as well as the Grand Teton Lodge Company in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Vail Resorts Development Company is the real estate planning and development subsidiary of Vail Resorts, Inc. Vail Resorts is a publicly held company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: MTN). The Vail Resorts company website is www.vailresorts.com(link is external)and consumer website is www.snow.com(link is external).Forward-Looking StatementsCertain statements discussed in this press release and on the conference call, other than statements of historical information, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including our expectations regarding our fiscal 2018 performance, including our expected Resort Reported EBITDA; Resort EBITDA margin; Real Estate Reported EBITDA; Net Real Estate Cash Flow and net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc.; our expected calendar year 2018 capital expenditures at certain resorts and the expected incremental Resort Reported EBITDA we anticipate deriving from the Whistler Blackcomb investments; the payment of dividends; and the expected final total season pass holders. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date hereof. All forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Such risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to prolonged weakness in general economic conditions, including adverse effects on the overall travel and leisure related industries; unfavorable weather conditions or the impact of natural disasters; willingness of our guests to travel due to terrorism, the uncertainty of military conflicts or outbreaks of contagious diseases, the cost and availability of travel options and changing consumer preferences; the seasonality of our business combined with adverse events that occur during our peak operating periods; competition in our mountain and lodging businesses; high fixed cost structure of our business; our ability to fund resort capital expenditures; our reliance on government permits or approvals for our use of public land or to make operational and capital improvements; risks related to a disruption in our water supply that would impact our snowmaking capabilities and operations; risks related to federal, state, local and foreign government laws, rules and regulations; risks related to our reliance on information technology, including our failure to maintain the integrity of our customer or employee data; our ability to hire and retain a sufficient seasonal workforce; risks related to our workforce, including increased labor costs; loss of key personnel; adverse consequences of current or future legal claims; a deterioration in the quality or reputation of our brands, including our ability to protect our intellectual property and the risk of accidents at our mountain resorts; our ability to successfully integrate acquired businesses or that acquired businesses may fail to perform in accordance with expectations, including Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe or future acquisitions; our ability to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, with respect to acquired businesses; risks associated with international operations; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, particularly the Canadian dollar and Australian dollar; changes in accounting estimates and judgments, accounting principles, policies or guidelines or adverse determinations by taxing authorities; a materially adverse change in our financial condition; and other risks detailed in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” section of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended July 31, 2017, which was filed on September 28, 2017.All forward-looking statements attributable to us or any persons acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements. All guidance and forward-looking statements in this press release are made as of the date hereof and we do not undertake any obligation to update any forecast or forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law.Statement Concerning Non-GAAP Financial MeasuresWhen reporting financial results, we use the terms Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA, Resort EBITDA Margin, Net Debt and Net Real Estate Cash Flow, which are not financial measures under accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”). Resort Reported EBITDA, Total Reported EBITDA, Resort EBITDA Margin, Net Debt and Net Real Estate Cash Flow should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to, or substitute for, measures of financial performance or liquidity prepared in accordance with GAAP. In addition, we report segment Reported EBITDA (i.e. Mountain, Lodging and Real Estate), the measure of segment profit or loss required to be disclosed in accordance with GAAP. Accordingly, these measures may not be comparable to similarly-titled measures of other companies.Reported EBITDA (and its counterpart for each of our segments) has been presented herein as a measure of the Company’s performance. The Company believes that Reported EBITDA is an indicative measurement of the Company’s operating performance, and is similar to performance metrics generally used by investors to evaluate other companies in the resort and lodging industries. The Company defines Resort EBITDA Margin as Resort Reported EBITDA divided by Resort net revenue. The Company believes Resort EBITDA Margin is an important measurement of operating performance. The Company believes that Net Debt is an important measurement of liquidity as it is an indicator of the Company’s ability to obtain additional capital resources for its future cash needs. Additionally, the Company believes Net Real Estate Cash Flow is important as a cash flow indicator for its Real Estate segment. See the tables provided in this release for reconciliations of our measures of segment profitability and non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. 3,077 73,656 592,675 Change in estimated fair value of contingent consideration 26,000 21.9% 3,542 Depreciation and amortization (199,000) 53.72 (1) Resort represents the sum of Mountain and Lodging $ 76,866 Mountain and Lodging services and other (1.70) $ 522 3,851 2017 4,355 General and administrative $ 5,077 Real Estate Reported EBITDA 286,000 24.7% 140,397 228.10 Resort stock-based compensation ADR 232,333 $ $ 102,697 3,856 3,322 4,521 (3) The Company provides Reported EBITDA ranges for the Mountain and Lodging segments, as well as for the two combined. The low and high of the expected ranges provided for the Mountain and Lodging segments, while possible, do not sum to the high or low end of the Resort Reported EBITDA range provided because we do not expect or assume that we will hit the low or high end of both ranges. 498 15,337 (6) Guidance estimates are predicated on an exchange rate of $0.79 between the Canadian Dollar and U.S. Dollar, related to the operations of Whistler Blackcomb in Canada and an exchange rate of $0.76 between the Australian Dollar and U.S. Dollar, related to the operations of Perisher in Australia. 646,000 (1) Mountain Reported EBITDA includes approximately $16 million of stock-based compensation. * Resort represents the sum of Mountain and Lodging (In thousands, except per share amounts) Net income 274,818 (0.71) Depreciation and amortization 2016 196.78 832 27.7% 18,302 (48,255) $ 661,000 Payroll cost reimbursements Managed condominium statistics: Three Months Ended October 31, Mountain and Lodging retail and dining cost of products sold 57,682 636 96 Total net revenue Loss before benefit from income taxes 57,863 (55,137) Mountain and Lodging operating expense (1,055) 33.7% Mountain equity investment income, net (58,437) (54,082) General and administrative Real estate held for sale and investment 50,748 $ Net debt Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. Real Estate 1,410,153 Provision for income taxes 190.61 8.5% 51.14 $ (2.6)% (48,624) 40,211 Gain on sale of real property 93,404 6,466 (31,927) — (300) (56,836) 567 300,000 110,767 $ Three Months Ended October 31, Mountain equity investment income, net ETP Total debt Presented below is a reconciliation of Reported EBITDA to net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. for the three months ended October 31, 2017 and 2016. $ 1,262,325 Foreign currency loss on intercompany loans 789 1,581 (In thousands, except Average Daily Rate (“ADR”) and Revenue per Available Room (“RevPAR”)) (15,174) Weighted average shares outstanding: (28,385) RevPAR 106,751 Benefit from income taxes $ (40,581) Vail Resorts, Inc. 2017 1,371,779 $ Other operating (expense) income: 3,077 Net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. $ The following table reconciles Resort net revenue to Resort EBITDA Margin for fiscal 2018 guidance. 363,400 87.38 2017 $ Owned hotel statistics: Transportation Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests Three Months Ended October 31, Lodging Reported EBITDA (550) (0.71) 178,169 (1.70) (125,331) 8.7% 214.83 (Unaudited) (5,313) $ Basic 8,513 61,163 The following table reconciles Real Estate Reported EBITDA to Net Real Estate Cash Flow for the three months ended October 31, 2017 and 2016. 15,880 2017 (In thousands)(Unaudited) 33,509 36,834 (12,600) 6.1% $ Net loss Real Estate Reported EBITDA Diluted net loss per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. 16.1% 1,338,317 1.053 (7,346) (125,331) 5.7% (In thousands) Resort Reported EBITDA* (15,600) Key Balance Sheet Data $ $ 638,000 567 Lodging Reported EBITDA $ 3,322 Mountain Reported EBITDA (1) $ 38,422 (56,654) 244,755 (6,531) 10,171 Cash dividends declared per share 220,850 (68) Total segment operating expense Managed condominium rooms 143,348 2016 (1) — Lodging Reported EBITDA (2) 207,084 Depreciation and amortization 31.8% (48,624) 3,322 2017 7,938 Mountain Segment Operating Results Net Mountain revenue: $ 1,401,405 Resort Reported EBITDA* $ RevPAR (Unaudited) 7.0% (718) $ 72,089 Dining $ 7.5% 2,473 1,031 (77,400) (Unaudited) (8,000) 412,400 54,510 4,577 $ 5,077 22,941 $ (53,332) 19.4% Labor and labor-related benefits 41,984 (62,587) Mountain operating expense: 3.2% Golf 4,523 68,780 Resort Reported EBITDA (1) 35,643 36.9% 17.5% 6.4% In thousands)(Unaudited)(As of October 31, 2017) (5) As a result of the adoption of revised accounting guidance related to employee stock compensation during the first quarter of 2018, the provision for income taxes may change materially based on our closing stock price at the time stock compensation awards vest or are exercised.  Based on our current stock price, a significant portion of our outstanding awards are significantly in-the-money and, to the extent exercised, could reduce our provision for income taxes, which is not reflected in our Fiscal 2018 guidance. Net debt to Total Reported EBITDA Total Mountain operating expense $ 168,253 3,542 $ Mountain stock-based compensation Resort Reported EBITDA (2) Lodging Reported EBITDA includes approximately $3 million of stock-based compensation. Mountain Reported EBITDA (In thousands, except Effective Ticket Price (“ETP”)) 28,940 ADR 23.1% 38,374 $ 0.81 — (94,400) Interest expense, net Mountain Reported EBITDA Net loss Basic loss per share attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. $ 586,144 49.94 140,397 (11,964) $ $ PercentageIncrease $ 2016 1,300,747 318,000 $ $ Long-term debt, net (16,000) 19,635 Net Real Estate Cash Flow 67,402 (In thousands) $ Three Months Ended October 31, 11,418 93,404 Non-cash Real Estate cost of sales (90,518) 2,081,000 1,300,747 Retail cost of sales 31.1% 8,539 8,426 Less: cash and cash equivalents Total Lodging operating expense 383 676,000 $ (4) Our guidance includes certain known changes in the fair value of contingent consideration based solely on the passage of time and resulting impact on present value.  Guidance excludes any change based upon, among other things, financial projections including long-term growth rates for Park City, which such change may be material. Separately, the intercompany loan associated with the Whistler Blackcomb transaction requires foreign currency remeasurement to Canadian dollars, the functional currency of Whistler Blackcomb. Our guidance excludes any forward-looking change related to foreign currency gains or losses on the intercompany loans, which such change may be material. Net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. 64,325 32,092 5,077 (55,137) 3,309 Investment income and other, net (550) 152,645 — 4,355 * Resort represents the sum of Mountain and Lodging (1.0)% Other 522 — 3.5% 6.9% 8,764 Net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. 35,679 Owned hotel rooms 33,509 Other Loss from operations 61,003 5.6% 2016 3,309 116,852 (197,200) 645,000 $ 8,521 — (3.1)% 21,426 4,355 2016 $ 23,794 Interest expense, net (56,654) $ 148,125 276,509 Investment income and other, net $ Foreign currency loss on intercompany loans Diluted 18.9% $ Loss before benefit from income taxes 13.3% 178,265 Labor and labor-related benefits $ (58,437) (15,174) Stowe Mountain Resort,Stowe Mountain Resort photo from June 2017.Vermont Business Magazine Vail Resorts, Inc (NYSE: MTN) today reported results for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 ended October 31, 2017, and provided season pass sales results and certain early ski season indicators. Vail has seen immediate positive impact from its recent acquistions of Stowe Mountain Resort (VBM Feb 2017: Vail buys Stowe Mountain Resort) in Vermont and Canada’s Whistler Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America. While early season results have been mixed across the Vail network, Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe have had a strong start to the season with early snow and cold temperatures conducive to snowmaking. Colorado and Utah have been challenged with limited early season terrain.HighlightsNet loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $28.4 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2018 compared to a net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of $62.6 million in the same period in the prior year. Fiscal 2018 first quarter net loss included a tax benefit of approximately $51.8 million(or $1.29 earnings per diluted share) related to employee exercises of equity awards, primarily attributable to the CEO’s exercise of expiring stock appreciation rights (SARs) during the quarter. This tax benefit is recorded in net income (loss) as a result of the adoption of revised accounting guidance related to employee stock compensation.Resort Reported EBITDA loss was $54.1 million for the first fiscal quarter of 2018, which includes $0.7 million of acquisition and integration related costs and approximately $1.9 million of additional payroll taxes related to the CEO’s exercise of expiring SARs, compared to a Resort Reported EBITDA loss of $53.3 million in the same period in the prior year, which included $2.8 million of acquisition and integration related expenses.Season pass sales through December 3, 2017 for the upcoming 2017/2018 North American ski season increased approximately 14% in units and 20% in sales dollars as compared to the period in the prior year through December 4, 2016, including Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe pass sales in both periods, adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying current period exchange rates to the prior period.The Company reaffirmed its core operating guidance for fiscal year 2018, with certain adjustments related to the CEO’s exercise of expiring SARs and currency fluctuations.The Company announced a transformational capital program at Whistler Blackcomb, with a new state-of-the-art gondola and two new high-speed chairlifts, and major improvements at Park City to the culinary experience and to family and beginner terrain.Commenting on the Company’s fiscal 2018 first quarter results, Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer, said, “Our first fiscal quarter historically operates at a loss given that our North American mountain resorts are not open for ski operations during the period. The quarter’s results are primarily driven by winter operating results from Perisher and our North American resorts’ summer activities, dining, retail/rental and lodging operations, and administrative expenses.  Perisher performed very well in the first quarter with outstanding conditions in September that led to strong visitation and revenue growth across the business. Whistler Blackcomb’s robust summer business also performed well with strong performance in its world class mountain biking operations, summer activities and sightseeing. Our U.S. summer business was impacted, as expected, by the same operational challenges we noted last quarter, including the Heavenly Coaster closure due to damage from last winter and the delayed launch of Epic Discovery at Breckenridge, all of which were included in our fiscal 2018 guidance assumptions. Our lodging results for the first fiscal quarter were encouraging with revenue per available room (“RevPAR”) increasing 8.5% compared to the same period in the prior year. In particular, our properties in Colorado benefited from increased visitation to our resort communities and Grand Teton Lodge Company benefited from higher ancillary yields and 6% growth in average daily rate (“ADR”).”Regarding Real Estate, Katz said, “Real Estate Reported EBITDA was a loss of $1.1 million for the first fiscal quarter, as compared to a gain of $5.1 million in the same period the prior year, which included $6.5 million of Real Estate Reported EBITDA related to the sale of a land parcel in Breckenridge.  We remain in discussions with developers on a number of potential land sales at the base of our resorts.”Katz continued, “Our balance sheet at quarter end remains very strong. We ended the quarter with $140.4 million of cash on hand, $95.0 million of borrowings under the revolver portion of our senior credit facility and total long-term debt, net (including long-term debt due within one year) of $1.3 billion. As of October 31, 2017, we had available borrowing capacity under the revolver component of our senior credit facility of $234.0 million. In addition, we had $127.1 million available under the revolver component of our Whistler Blackcomb credit facility. Our Net Debt was 2.0 times trailing twelve months Total Reported EBITDA, which includes $330.2 million of long-term capital lease obligations associated with the Canyons transaction. I am also very pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend on Vail Resorts’ common stock. The quarterly dividend will be $1.053 per share of common stock and will be payable on January 10, 2018 to shareholders of record on December 27, 2017.”Moving on to early ski season indicators, Katz said, “Sales of our season passes continue to deliver outstanding results. As we approach the end of our selling period, season pass sales for the North American ski season are up approximately 14% in units and approximately 20% in sales dollars through December 3, 2017 compared to the prior year period ended December 4, 2016. Whistler Blackcomb pass sales are adjusted to eliminate the impact of foreign currency by applying the current period exchange rates to the prior period. This year, we have continued to drive significant growth in our destination markets which represent approximately 60% of our increase in pass units. We continue to see strength across all geographies, with particularly strong performance in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast and continued solid growth in Colorado and British Columbia. We also saw strong growth across our international markets, with particular strength in Australia, the United Kingdom, Brazil and Asia.  It’s clear that the addition of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe have further strengthened our network and the appeal of our season pass to destination guests in North America and around the world, while our more sophisticated and more targeted marketing efforts have been critical to driving the success of this program. We expect our total season pass holders this year will exceed 740,000 (including Whistler Blackcomb products and Epic Australia passes), representing an incredible group of highly loyal and passionate guests and the most successful pass program in the worldwide ski industry.”Katz continued, “Overall, lodging bookings for the season ahead are trending slightly ahead of last year at our North American resorts. Based on historical averages, less than 50% of the bookings for the winter season have been made by this time. Our early season results have been mixed across the network. Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe have had a strong start to the season with early snow and cold temperatures conducive to snowmaking. Colorado and Utah have been challenged with limited early season terrain, though all of our U.S. resorts are experiencing colder temperatures that have been more conducive to snowmaking which we expect will allow us to expand our open terrain very soon.”Operating ResultsA more complete discussion of our operating results can be found within the Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations section of the Company’s Form 10-Q for the first fiscal quarter ended October 31, 2017, which was filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The following are segment highlights:Mountain SegmentMountain segment net revenue increased $37.4 million, or 33.7%, to $148.1 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in the prior year, which was primarily attributable to incremental revenue from Whistler Blackcomb and strong growth at Perisher.Mountain Reported EBITDA loss was $58.4 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017, which represents an incremental loss of $1.8 million, or 3.1%, as compared to the Mountain Reported EBITDA loss for same period in prior year.Lodging SegmentLodging segment net revenue (excluding payroll cost reimbursements) increased $4.5 million, or 6.9%, to $68.8 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in the prior year.Lodging Reported EBITDA was $4.4 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017, which represents an increase of $1.0 million, or 31.1%, as compared to the same period in the prior year.Resort – Combination of Mountain and Lodging SegmentsResort net revenue increased $42.0 million, or 23.6%, to $220.2 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in the prior year, which was primarily attributable to incremental revenue from Whistler Blackcomb and strong growth at Perisher.Resort Reported EBITDA loss was $54.1 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017, which includes $0.7 million of acquisition and integration related expenses attributable to the acquisitions of Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe and approximately $1.9 million of payroll taxes related to the CEO’s exercise of expiring SARs. This compares to a Resort Reported EBITDA loss of $53.3 million in the same period in the prior year, which included $2.8 million of acquisition and integration related expenses attributable to the acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb.Total PerformanceTotal net revenue increased $42.6 million, or 23.9%, to $220.9 million for the three months ended October 31, 2017 as compared to the same period in the prior year, which was primarily attributable to incremental revenue from Whistler Blackcomb and strong growth at Perisher.Net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. was $28.4 million, or a loss of $0.71 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to a net loss attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. of $62.6 million, or a loss of $1.70 per diluted share, in the first quarter of the prior year. Net loss for the first quarter of fiscal 2018 included a tax benefit of approximately $51.8 million (or $1.29 earnings per diluted share) related to employee exercises of equity awards (primarily related to the CEO’s exercise of expiring SARs) which, beginning August 1, 2017, is recorded in net income (loss) as a result of the adoption of revised accounting guidance related to employee stock compensation.Return of CapitalThe Company declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.053 per share of Vail Resorts common stock that will be payable on January 10, 2018 to shareholders of record on December 27, 2017. Additionally, a Canadian dollar equivalent dividend on the exchangeable shares of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. will be payable on January 10, 2018 to shareholders of record on December 27, 2017. The exchangeable shares were issued to certain Canadian persons in connection with our acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc.Capital ImprovementsCommenting on the Company’s new improvements for the 2017/2018 winter season, Katz said, “We are thrilled to welcome guests to all of our resorts as the 2017/2018 ski season kicks off. Our integration efforts at Whistler Blackcomb are largely complete, and we are excited to now offer an enhanced experience for local, regional and destination guests at North America’s largest resort. This year marks the first time in our history that we had lift upgrades at all four Colorado resorts, with significant increases to capacity. At Vail Mountain, we have improved lift capacity at one of the resort’s busiest chairlifts by upgrading the Northwoods high-speed four-person chair (#11) to a new high-speed six-person chairlift. At Breckenridge, we upgraded the Peak 10 Falcon Chair from a four-person high-speed chair to a six-person high-speed chair, allowing more guests to experience some of the best intermediate and advanced terrain on the mountain. At Keystone, we invested significant capital to enhance the experience at this outstanding family focused resort. We upgraded the four-person Montezuma chair to a six-person high-speed chair to improve circulation on the front side of the mountain, and have renovated and significantly expanded mountain dining capacity at Labonte’s restaurant by adding 150 indoor seats at the fourth most visited resort in the U.S. At Beaver Creek, we upgraded the fixed grip two-person Drink of Water chair (#5) to a four-person high-speed chair, increasing the capacity for important beginner and intermediate terrain. Including these most recent projects we have invested over $115 million in discretionary projects at our Colorado resorts over the past five years, including 12 new or upgraded lifts, the addition or renovation of four food and beverage locations, significant terrain expansions and extensive additional investments including enhanced and efficient snowmaking.”Regarding calendar year 2018 capital expenditures, Katz said, “We remain committed to reinvesting in our resorts, creating an experience of a lifetime for our guests and generating strong returns for our shareholders. While we will announce our complete capital plan for calendar year 2018 in March 2018, we are pleased to announce several signature investments that we intend to construct in 2018 for the 2018/2019 ski season.”Katz continued, “We are very excited to announce a transformational investment at Whistler Blackcomb to further enhance the most visited mountain resort in North America and refocus the spirit of the previously announced Renaissance project back to the guest experience on the mountain. We plan to make a discretionary investment of approximately $42 million (C$53 million) at Whistler Blackcomb, as part of an approximate $52 million (C$66 million) total capital plan at the resort, the largest annual capital investment in the resort’s history. We believe this plan will dramatically improve the on-mountain experience for our guests with enhanced lift capacity, improved circulation and a significantly elevated experience for skiers, riders and sightseeing guests.  The centerpiece of this investment will be a new gondola running from the base to the top of Blackcomb Mountain, replacing the Wizard and Solar four person chairs with a single state-of-the-art gondola, providing an experience protected from the elements, an expected 47% increase in uphill capacity and a mid-station to allow guests to access and circulate around Blackcomb Mountain.  We also plan to upgrade the four-person Emerald express chairlift to a high speed six-person chairlift, providing increased capacity and reduced lift line wait times for important beginner and intermediate terrain on Whistler Mountain. Finally, we expect to upgrade the three-person fixed grip Catskinner chairlift to a four-person high speed lift with an improved lift alignment to provide increased capacity, better access and improved circulation to critical teaching terrain and terrain parks at the top of Blackcomb Mountain.  Together, these investments are expected to result in an approximate 43% increase in lift capacity relative to the existing lifts that will be replaced. We believe these transformational, mountain-focused investments are the most significant improvements we can undertake to support Whistler Blackcomb’s long-term growth and our commitment to pursue the most impactful projects to enhance the guest experience. We expect these discretionary investments will drive additional Resort Reported EBITDA of C$9 million to C$10 million for the 2018/2019 ski season, incremental to the resort’s typical expected organic growth.  Following this one-time signature investment, we will continue to include Whistler Blackcomb in our normal annual capital improvement plan.  While we remain intrigued by the water park that was previously proposed as part of the Renaissance project, we intend to keep our focus on core mountain improvements and will defer consideration of a water park to our longer-term planning for the resort.”At Park City, we will continue our transformational investments with a focus on enhancing the family, food and service experience for our guests from around the world.  In the Canyons area of Park City, we plan to upgrade the fixed grip High Meadow chair to a four person high speed lift, improve grading and expand snowmaking to create a world-class beginner and family learning zone. We also plan to make two significant investments in the dining experience at Park City.  We will expand Cloud Dine, a unique modern mountain dining experience overlooking the resort, with 200 additional seats and will be renovating and upgrading the Park City Mid-Mountain Lodge to create a signature dining experience that will bring fine-dine quality cuisine to what we expect will be one of the premier fast-casual, on-mountain restaurants in the industry.  Each of these projects reinforces our commitment to Park City’s position as the best resort for families and culinary experiences and continues to build on the significant improvements we’ve made at Park City over the last four years, including the Quicksilver Gondola, the new Miner’s Camp restaurant, the expanded and upgraded Red Pine Lodge and the renovated Summit House restaurant.”At Heavenly, we plan to replace the Galaxy two-person chairlift with a three-person chairlift to increase capacity and allow us to re-open 400 acres of high quality intermediate terrain. At Perisher, we plan to upgrade the Leichhardt T-bar to a four-person chairlift and a significant upgrade to snowmaking, enabling better beginner access and a reduction of crowding and wait times, as well as the addition of new terrain. All of our resort projects are subject to regulatory approval.”We also plan to continue to invest in enhanced enterprise wide technology improvements that support our increased scale, improve the guest experience and continue to build our data-based marketing efforts.”We expect our capital plan for calendar 2018 will total approximately $150 million excluding the integration of Stowe and summer investments.  With the signature one-time discretionary investment at Whistler Blackcomb of approximately US$42 million, we have reduced our spending elsewhere in the network to accommodate the projects and expect to return to our long-term capital guidance in calendar 2019, which, without any new acquisitions or summer investments, would be approximately $131 million.  We will be providing further detail on our calendar year 2018 capital plan, including expected Stowe integration and summer investments, in March 2018.”OutlookCommenting on fiscal 2018 guidance, Katz continued, “Given our first quarter results and the indicators we are seeing for the upcoming season, we remain confident in our outlook for fiscal 2018, which remains predicated on a stable economic environment and normal weather conditions for the key parts of the ski season at our resorts. The ski season has just begun at our North American resorts, with our primary earnings period still in front of us.  While we are reiterating our fiscal 2018 core operating performance expectations included in our September earnings release, we are updating our fiscal 2018 guidance to reflect a few non-core adjustments, including: (i) approximately $1.9 million of lower Resort Reported EBITDA in the first fiscal quarter results associated with payroll tax expense related to the CEO’s exercise of expiring SARs; (ii) approximately $40 million of incremental tax benefit recognized during the first fiscal quarter 2018 primarily related to the CEO’s exercise of expiring SARs, (iii) $4.0 million in lower Resort Reported EBITDA and $1.0 million of reduced depreciation and amortization expense to reflect a decline in the Canadian Dollar from $0.81 to $0.79 and a decline in the Australian Dollar from $0.80 to $0.76, assuming that foreign exchange rates remain at current levels for the remainder of fiscal 2018 and (iv) the first fiscal quarter loss of $7.3 million on intercompany notes related to foreign exchange movements.  We now expect fiscal 2018 Resort Reported EBITDA to be between $646 million and $676 million and net income attributable to Vail Resorts to be between $264 million and $300 million.  Our guidance does not include any benefit to our U.S. taxes from potential legislative changes being discussed to the U.S. tax code.”The following table reflects the forecasted guidance range for the Company’s fiscal year ending July 31, 2018, for Reported EBITDA (after stock-based compensation expense) and reconciles such Reported EBITDA guidance to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. guidance for fiscal 2018. $ $ Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests (193,000) (32) 47.95 12.0% Owned hotel and managed condominium statistics (combined): Investment income and other, net 320,245 210.49 Real Estate Reported EBITDA (40,581) Benefit from income taxes RevPAR The following table reconciles Net Debt to long-term debt, net and the calculation of Net Debt to Total Reported EBITDA for the twelve months ended October 31, 2017. 45,407 Real Estate Reported EBITDA (31,927) 674,000 Resort net revenue (1) 2.4% 163.23 As of October 31, 383 (In thousands)(Unaudited) Total Reported EBITDA (In thousands)(Unaudited) Three Months Ended October 31, Total Reported EBITDA 564,555 Change in real estate deposits and recovery of previously incurred project costs/land basis less investments in real estate 28,120 (Decrease) Total stock-based compensation Dining 2017 40,211 (In thousands)(Unaudited)Fiscal 2018 Guidance (2) 791 Ski school Mountain Reported EBITDA 25,468 Resort EBITDA margin Less: cash and cash equivalents (2) Represents the mid-point range of Guidance Mountain and Lodging retail and dining 63,483 Lodging stock-based compensation 1,160,350 $ 22,362 Loss on disposal of fixed assets and other, net (Decrease) 24.5% Income before provision for income taxes 181,276 Lodging operating expense: $ $ Real Estate Reported EBITDA 4,438 (56,654) Segment operating expense: 263,409 PercentageIncrease Low EndRange (63,618) (53,332) 114,686 (300) 49,324 (57,298) Net debt Total Reported EBITDA Depreciation and amortization Lodging Reported EBITDA 832 Gain (loss) on disposal of fixed assets, net Lodging Operating Results Total Reported EBITDA 220,214 67,734 4,645 4,553 3,762 (97,127) 2,553 (7,346) ADR Interest expense, net 12,115 Twelve Months Ended October 31, Lodging net revenue: Foreign currency gain on intercompany loans Long-term debt due within one year 1.5% Gain (loss) on disposal of fixed assets, net (2,000) 6.2% Real Estate (68) 7.4% 64,425 1,031 Fiscal 2018 Guidance Lodging Reported EBITDA x 18,063 (62,587) Lift 2017 $ 38,422 Per share amounts: 52.9% $ $ 34,000 Resort operating expense 36,479 (48,255) Long-term debt, net 1,303,402 (58,437) Vail Resorts, Inc. 1,691 18,404 Net revenue: Real Estate stock-based compensation 80.53 Mountain Reported EBITDA Total Lodging net revenue (11,964) $ Change in estimated fair value of contingent consideration $ 617,000 64,080 Resort net revenue 1,485 29,877 Long-term debt due within one year Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interests July 31, 2018 (6) (18,654) Reimbursed payroll costs (97,127) Provision for income taxes (5) (54,082) (1,055) 13,368 Total Vail Resorts, Inc. stockholders’ equity (63,618) 1,262,325 50,183 7.5% $ 6,590 4,523 Total Mountain net revenue (1) The Consolidated Condensed Statement of Operations for the three months ended October 31, 2016 has been revised to separately disclose revenues and costs from retail and dining operations, as well as general and administrative costs. Retail and dining revenues were previously included within Mountain and Lodging revenues, and the related costs were previously included in Mountain and Lodging operating costs. Management considers the change in presentation of our Consolidated Condensed Statement of Operations to be immaterial. There is no change to previously reported total net revenue, operating expense, income (loss) from operations, net income (loss) attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc., per share amounts or segment results. Other $ 1,974 2.0 (28,385) Resort Reported EBITDA (3) 207.34 $ 2016 1,160,350 Retail/rental (103,716) 233,818 (60,000) 264,000 479 Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interests $ (32) Interest expense, net 36,834 (110) High EndRange Total debt Consolidated Condensed Statements of Operations 144.12 $ $ (1,055) Net income Vail Resorts, Inc. SOURCE BROOMFIELD, Colo., Dec. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Vail Resorts, Inc.www.snow.com(link is external). General and administrative Presented below is a reconciliation of Total Reported EBITDA to net income attributable to Vail Resorts, Inc. calculated in accordance with GAAP for the twelve months ended October 31, 2017. (56,000) Other (3.1)% (Unaudited) (37.3)% $ Non-cash Real Estate stock-based compensationlast_img read more

Amtrak backs off from Vermont service suspension threat, apologizes

first_imgThe Amtrak “Vermonter” train leaves the Waterbury station on its way south. VBM file photo.by CB Hall Vermont Business Magazine Reacting to an abundance of angst among interested parties in Vermont, Amtrak is backing away from a threat to suspend all service to the state. “Right now we have no plans to cease any service on any route,” Amtrak’s Bill Hollister told VBM on February 28. Vermont’s congressional delegation has indicated its displeasure with the threat, voiced by Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson at a US House subcommittee hearing February 15.“Bernie and Pat and I are all on the same page,” Representative Peter Welch (D) told VBM in a March 6 phone interview, referring to Senators Bernie Sanders (I) and Patrick Leahy (D).Welch described the delegation as “committed to doing whatever it takes” to maintain the service, consisting of the St Albans-Washington, DC, Vermonter and Rutland-New York City Ethan Allen Express trains.The brouhaha began when Anderson, in his testimony before the subcommittee, depicted a suspension of Vermont service at year’s end as likely in view of safety concerns. December 31 is the deadline for railroads nationwide to begin operating a federally mandated high-tech safety system known as positive train control (PTC).The law in question actually exempts Vermont’s Amtrak routes from the requirement, since they see so little traffic, but Anderson said nonetheless that, on such routes, “We have a question about whether we’re going to operate at all, and I doubt we will” after the December 31 reference point.Bill Hollister, Amtrak senior manager of government affairs for state-supported services in the Northeast (left), and passenger rail advocate Carl Fowler, of Williston, at the February 28 meeting of the Vermont Rail Advisory Council in Montpelier. Photo: C.B. Hall, VBMThe Amtrak CEO was speaking in the wake of several deadly accidents involving Amtrak trains in the last three months, and with PTC implementation lagging well behind schedule on many railroads nationwide. The situation has given rise to urgency among parties concerned with rail travel’s safety.The fulfillment of Anderson’s position, as expressed before the subcommittee, could shut down a large portion of Amtrak’s national system. Since February 15, however, the company appears to have softened its position on the safety mechanisms, or lack thereof, on its 21,000 route-miles, most of which are owned by private railroads.PTC relies on any of several sophisticated wayside signaling systems to prevent train-to-train collisions, incursions into zones where work is being done on the tracks, travel through improperly aligned switches, and over-speed accidents such as claimed three lives on an Amtrak train in Washington state in December – the deadliest of the recent crashes.The technology is required under 2008 legislation, which however grants exemptions to little-used trackage, as in Vermont.Indeed, most of the Amtrak routes in the Green Mountain State are so-called dark territory, lacking any sort of wayside signal system; dispatchers authorize train movements by radio instead.Some observers question why Amtrak should give the Vermont routes such disconcerting attention when they enjoy an exemption from the PTC mandate.The threat of a suspension of Amtrak service “kind of shocked a lot of people,” Dan Delabruere, director of the Agency of Transportation’s Rail and Aviation Bureau, told a meeting of the statutory Vermont Rail Advisory Council (VRAC) in Montpelier on February 28.“We did not know this announcement was coming.”The issue loomed large on the meeting’s agenda. The attendees included Hollister, Amtrak’s senior manager of government affairs for state-supported services in the Northeast.“I want to apologize to Vermont for all the angst [the Anderson statement] caused,” he addressed those on hand. In objecting to the prospect of a service suspension, he said, “You did the right thing.”He added that Amtrak “did not expect [a reaction] that strong.”Looking ahead, he said that the company was now looking at mitigation of safety risks in more general terms, in cooperation with state partners. Eighteen states underwrite Amtrak services on their territory, including Vermont.Delabruere noted that Vermont officials had had several conversations with Amtrak about the looming threat since Anderson’s announcement. The company has now commenced an analysis of safety risks on its entire route network, and is exploring remedies less onerous than the installation of PTC in Vermont and elsewhere, to address perceived safety risks.Absent PTC installation in Vermont, the alternative is, “We’ve got to figure something out,” as Delabruere put it. “We don’t know what that’s going to mean for us. I can’t even speculate.”Aside from not being legally required, installation of PTC on Amtrak’s Vermont routes would carry a huge price tag: Estimates run as high as a million dollars a mile.Further, knowledgeable sources agreed, the implementation could not be completed by year’s end. Addressing the Montpelier meeting, Williston-based passenger rail advocate Carl Fowler, a VRAC member, noted that Vermont is “in a very difficult position to respond” to any demand for PTC implementation.The budget currently before the Legislature, he said, contains no money for that purpose.He added that PTC would not have prevented Amtrak’s few accidents in Vermont, such as the 2015 derailment of the Vermonter in Northfield. Putting wayside signals of whatever sort in Vermont’s dark territory, he said, “is not necessary – and ought not to be forced on us. We’re safe with the level of operational material we have now.”If Amtrak accuses Vermonters of asking for something it considers unsafe, “We should be prepared to have that argument,” he said in an interview after the meeting.The moderation evident in Hollister’s words corresponded fairly closely to further, March 1 testimony from Anderson, this time at a US Senate committee hearing.On that occasion, the Amtrak CEO toned down his position somewhat, but still left room for interpretation as to what might lie ahead. He said the company was “reevaluating” future service in light of safety concerns.Speaking of Amtrak’s network generally, he said, “We have to determine whether we continue to operate in non-PTC territory, and apply the principles of our safety management system to mitigate” risks on those rail routes. “We should establish PTC as the standard for passenger rail in America, including dark territory, and including covering the areas that are today excluded by the law.”Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) asked him if a way existed to address safety concerns without shutting down lines exempt from the statute’s requirements – such as the Vermonter, which serves one New Hampshire stop as well as the Vermont points. “We have an R&D project under way at Amtrak to determine whether we can use technologies from Europe that don’t require as much trackside investment, but that would give us speed restriction and signal location,” he responded.Anderson, who came on board at Amtrak only last year, spent many years in executive positions at Northwest and Delta airlines – in a private industry, that is, with an effective and well-regulated safety management system.Now, however, he heads a very public enterprise, essentially a government agency subject to a welter of factors not applicable to airlines. Members of Congress from areas served by Amtrak trains consider the national passenger rail service their responsibility, and naturally respond to its management issues on political grounds – striving, as in Vermont’s case, to preserve services that constituents demand.Given that, and the other issues bearing on implementation of the hypercomplex PTC program, the Amtrak chief, in the view of some observers, has failed to understand the decision-making environment.“I’m not sure if Anderson even knew the implications of what he was saying,” Ira Silverman, a retired veteran of 20 years in Amtrak management, reacted to Anderson’s gambit before the House subcommittee. “The reality is, when he announces that he’s shutting these trains down, do you believe there isn’t going to be a political reaction?”The response from Vermont’s congressional delegation has contained no surprises.In an email statement, Sanders spokesman Daniel McLean said, “Bernie does not want to see service suspended.”Speaking with VBM as the Montpelier meeting broke up, Leahy field representative Chris Saunders, referring to the softening in Amtrak’s position, anticipated that “the change of tone will continue.”He underscored his boss’s support for “making resources available” for continued passenger service in the state.In his phone interview, Welch said, “We’re going to advocate – the entire delegation – to maintain [the services] without necessarily having to install an extremely expensive technology.”He described Anderson’s March 1 testimony as “reassuring – but we’re not going to take the reassurance for granted. We’ve made a substantial investment [in Amtrak service] and we don’t want to squander that.”Some sort of compromise between the status quo and PTC implementation on all of Vermont’s Amtrak routes seems likely.Interviewed after the Montpelier meeting, Hollister shook his head when asked what the chances were that Vermont would lose its passenger rail service at year’s end.“The game plan is to work towards mitigation of risks,” he said. He foresaw an ongoing process, already in motion, in which Amtrak and its state partners would draft and implement plans to improve safety on the company’s routes.“I’m optimistic that the trains are going to keep running,” Welch said.THIS STORY WAS CORRECTED WEDNESDAY MORNING TO NOTE THAT SERVICE MIGHT BE “SUSPENDED” NOT “TERMINATED.”last_img read more