BROOMFIELD - Vail Resorts Inc. reported a net loss of $73.4 million for fiscal first quarter that ended in October, but officials said early season snow at several of its 10 ski resorts helped drive strong season-pass sales.

The Broomfield-based ski resort management and real estate company (NYSE: MTN) said the loss for the quarter ended Oct. 31 was a 20 percent increase from the $60 million loss for the same quarter a year ago. The loss - which equated to $2.04 per diluted share - was attributed mostly to ski area acquisitions in the last year, according to a press statement. Those acquisitions included Afton Alps in Minnesota and Mount Brighton in Michigan. During the quarter, Vail Resorts also signed a contract to operate Canyons Resort ski area in Park City, Utah.

Season-pass sales were up 13 percent for the number sold and up 16 percent in revenue compared to the same time period in 2012, according to the press statement. The season-pass sale increase is the largest it has been since the company's Epic Pass program started in 2008, according to the press statement.

The company's fiscal first quarter from August to October historically is a loss quarter, since none of its mountain resorts are open for winter ski operations, Rob Katz, the company's chief executive officer, said in the press statement. Mountain net revenue rose 10.4 percent to $57.3 million for the quarter, compared to $51.9 million reported for the same period a year earlier. That growth came mostly from more summer visitors who shopped and ate at Vail Resorts properties in the most recent quarter than in the same quarter in 2012, Katz said.

"We continue to see strong growth in our large Colorado and California markets," Katz said. "Our balance sheet remains very strong."

Vail Resorts operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone resorts in Colorado. The company also operates Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe area of California and Nevada and the three previously mentioned ski resorts in Minnesota, Michigan and Utah.