Is that were your data is coming from (always helps to state your source)? In any case, the ipo filing is instructive.
Starting on page 9, you see the overwhelming amount of their costs being related to repayment of loans- almost 2 billion of such of which in 2013 means they paid $335 million dollars in debt payments. Holy ouch.
Almost all of that debt has no relation to current operations at their ski areas, it is debt related to the sins of their former holding company.
The fact that they could show any type of profit at all with that debt load is at least a minor miracle.
On page 54 I see they made $144 million in lift revenue in 2013. However, in a cursory glance, I don't see anywhere where they show operating costs broken out in a comparable fashion. Almost everywhere, lodging and lift-service costs and revenue are lumped together, which isn't a useful figure in terms of this discussion. The discussion about leases focuses on how much money is being made directly off of forest service land, and hotels are not on forest service land...
In a nutshell, Intrawest is really a bad example. They have a ridiculous debt load, most of which has nothing to do with any mountains they currently own. An even smaller fraction of that debt related to on-mountain improvements of the mountains they currently own.
Without that debt, they would be printing money. If we assume that 1/4 of that debt is actually related to them and their current mountains (which seems generous, in reality the actual debt related to current operations is probably much less than that), their debt payment drop to $83.75, freeing up 200 million. $200 million profit on $500 million revenue? Margins seem healthy....
Of course a lot of that is apples to oranges, and terribly theoretical. I'm not actually using that as an argument, I'm just pointing out Intrawest makes for a terrible argument because its financials are so distorted from things that are not related to the income they make pulling people up the hill.
Another indication that Intrawest is in terrible shape is the fact that Arapahoe Basin, Wolf Creek, and Monarch almost certainly beat that 3 million in profit Intrawest saw in 2013.
I would love to see itemized figures that show net earnings from on-mountain operations. That will tell us whether $100+ lift tickets are related to what it costs in 2013 to pull people uphill, or whether this is the cash cow that keeps struggling companies like Intrawest afloat. Considering Intrawest saw the overwhelming amount of its revenue come from lift service, you can guess my suspicions on the matter.