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Broomfield-based Vail Resorts Inc. reported a net loss of $24.6 million, or 63 cents per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, compared with last year when the company reported a loss of $35.8 million.

Strong lodging numbers, which grew 14 percent year over year, recent winterlike storms and a spike in season-pass sales have given Vail Resort executives a positive outlook for the second quarter. Vail Resorts is the largest ski-resort operator in the country.

The first quarter, which ended Oct. 31, showed mountain revenue decreased $3.6 million, or 7.9 percent, compared with the first quarter last year. Lodging revenue increased $2.9 million, or 7.2 percent, over the same time last year.

Total revenue, including real-estate sales, dropped 14 percent to $97.9 million from $113.5 million in the same quarter last year. Monday, the stock fell 4.2 percent to close at $51.10.

Additionally, the company said the first-quarter net loss was softened by an $11.9 million settlement received from a contract dispute with Cheeca Holdings LLC.

"Our fiscal first quarter is a seasonally low earnings period and historically a loss quarter," said Rob Katz, president and chief executive of the company, during a conference call with analysts. "An area of focus for us in the first quarter is to establish the groundwork for the upcoming winter season, including construction of capital projects to deliver on our mission."

Construction being completed in the next few months includes the Arrabelle at Vail Square, a children's gondola at Beaver Creek and high- speed quad chairlifts at Vail.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial predicted a loss of 75 cents per share on revenue of $102 million. While revenue fell below estimates, analysts noted it was a slow quarter as summer activities wound down.

"While the October quarter can be difficult to model, the overall year is actually fairly predictable, assuming decent snowfall," JMP Securities analyst Will Marks said in a research note.

Vail Resorts operates Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado; Heavenly in Nevada and California; and Grand Teton Lodge Company, near Jackson, Wyo.