Ski areas owned by Vail Resorts reported a 23 percent drop in reservations over the same period last year, but officials have yet to be worried. There's no need. They say a 29 percent jump in season pass sales, thanks to last season's stellar snow conditions, leveled the field.

"Lodging bookings for our upcoming ski season continue to track significantly below bookings at the same time in the prior year," reported Rob Katz, Chief Executive Officer of Vail Resorts. "Clearly, many consumers are, at a minimum, delaying their travel decisions, while some are apparently choosing not to travel at all this year; a trend that makes us grateful for the significant season pass and 'drive to' business that we have.

"Importantly, we are very pleased that in this unprecedented period of disarray in the global economy and capital markets, our balance sheet remains very strong, even after two consecutive seasonally low quarters with virtually no ski operations," Katz said.

Overall, the company's net loss was $34.5 million, or $.93 per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2009 compared to a net loss of $24.6 million, or $0.63 per diluted share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2008.