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Intrawest resorts producing greater revenue

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Intrawest, the Vancouver-based owners of Whistler-Blackcomb, has posted strong results over its second quarter, boosting overall revenue for the quarter by 11 per cent.

However, Whistler-Blackcomb has not been the Intrawest resort leading the way in terms of skier visit growth.

Company CEO, chairman and president Joe Houssian announced via conference call this week that total income for the quarter had increased from $4.3 million (around 10 cents per share) to $10.7 million (25 cents per share), while income from continuing operations was up 26 per cent on corresponding figures the previous year.

Additionally, Intrawest recorded revenue increases in every resort under its ownership, and were also the beneficiary of a $5.2 million income tax recovery.

"My message is an upbeat, optimistic one," Daniel Jarvis, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said. "We’ve never been more excited about our strategy than we are today.

"We’ve had a fairly good track record on delivering on our numbers and the theme… is that we continue to build confidence and trust in the investment community. We’re certainly seeing a lot of interest in the company at the moment.

"We’ve gone through a rapid expansion and a little over a year ago we came to the conclusion that we had built the network we had set out to do. Now we can focus our attention on our existing core of assets rather than looking to new investments. Our confidence level of being able to deliver on what we said is very high."

Aside from Whistler-Blackcomb, Intrawest owns Canadian resorts Blue Mountain (50 per cent), Mont Ste. Marie, Tremblant, Panorama and heli-ski operator Canadian Mountain Holidays. The company also owns US mountain resorts Stratton, Mountain Creek, Snowshoe Mountain, Mammoth (59 per cent) and Copper, as well as the Florida golf resort of Sandestin. Intrawest also has a significant investment in Compagnie des Alpes in Europe.

Overall, Intrawest reported a 25 per cent increase in skier visits from the same quarter last year, with Mountain Creek, Blue Mountain and Mont Ste. Marie – Eastern resorts near the major cities of Toronto, Ottawa and the New York City area – leading the way.

"We went from 1,020,000 visits to 1,274,000 visits," Houssian said.

But unlike previous years, Whistler-Blackcomb did not produce outstanding results. Intrawest management, however, expects that trend to improve by the end of the financial year.

"In past years we have had to rely on Whistler-Blackcomb for the majority of our growth but now we’re starting to see it coming from other resorts," Jarvis said.

"These second quarter results are indicative that our strategy is working."

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