Northern Rockies/Alberta Big Sky Cuts Tram Access to Lone Peak for Ikon Pass Holders and others......

SpikeDog

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I see a slippery slope where IKON pass holders getting cut out of more access. I'd not be surprised to see Jackson Hole cut tram access as well. Snowbird, Squaw, etc might also jump onto the bandwagon.

I bought my IKON pass this week, and oddly enough, the early bird discount was good for the base pass and the full pass, but not the base pass plus. I'm really only pissed if the lifts I'm denied access to are able to reach terrain exclusive to it, such as Rendezvous bowl at JHMR or Revelation Bowl at BS. It's like they are selling you only 75% of the terrain. Losing the tram at Snowbird isn't a big deal since I can still get to the top.

Like other people have said, it's not like I have any leverage in the situation, and I'm not really into waiting 60 minutes for a tram at any resort. Still, we are supporting IKON resorts by infusing $$ early, before the season even begins, and are in the hotels at the base during the season, eating $20 burgers, and serving as the base of the financial pyramid of the ski industry. These general managers of resorts are mostly surrounded by their local constituents, and I have to believe the GM of Big Sky made this decision with the support of a few local deep pockets and their trustafarian offspring.
 

Nathanvg

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BS does have a plan to fix it with a new tram (presumably with more capacity) but they can only install so many lifts at once and base lifts are more important.
IMO the tram was a blunder and the new tram plan is a repeat of that mistake. Trams are expensive and low capacity lifts. The existing tram has a very low 200 person per hour capacity which is 20% of a 50 year old double's capacity. A lift up liberty would be much cheaper and effective. Heck, even a T bar up liberty would be a huge improvement. I know that too much traffic on expert runs can ruin snow conditions but I'd think that threshold is much higher than now. Is the terrain really that different than other areas with 5 to 10 times as much capacity such as Crested Butte's North Face, Aspen Highland's Termerity, Squaw's KT, Fernie's Polar Peak, Breck's Imperial or Bridger's Schlasman's? I'd think not and therefore adding a lift up the south side, even if it ended short of the summit would be a huge benefit.

Big sky clearly has the money, they just keep prioritizing other lifts. I don't plan to return until they figure out a solution to the tram line.
 

Tricia

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I‘m certain I can have a superb time at Big Sky without riding the tram.
This!
The last two times I was at Big Sky I didn't take the tram. One was a week that was socked in so the visibility was non existent above Powderseeker.
The last time was this past January. Snow conditions didn't warrant going up.
There is a ton of incredible terrain that doesn't require the tram. If the stars align and a tram lap seems good, I'll pay the price and figure it out.

I see a slippery slope where IKON pass holders getting cut out of more access. I'd not be surprised to see Jackson Hole cut tram access as well. Snowbird, Squaw, etc might also jump onto the bandwagon.
Not likely to happen at Squaw because its pass is IKON. Resorts in question such as Jackson Hole, Snowbird and Big Sky are partner resorts with 5 or 7 day access.

As for Squaw, The tram doesn't access special terrain, in fact it accesses beginner terrain and High Camp.
 

fatbob

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I couldn't be bothered waiting in line for the tram when I skied BS (and it was midweek in a non peak week) so I can't imagine this practically affects my skiing directly.

However I think it sucks as the beginning of a slippery slope to fragment skiing in favour of the wealthiest and is a further sign of the nastiness of "localism" as in " you're not like us so pay a premium to ski this bit of our terrain".

If this catches on it's not to see how the season pass market might get carved up with "advanced" lifts excluded or a "powder day premium" or popular day premium billed when you use your pass.

And I think BS shot themselves in the foot with Ikon - word will get out that they are nickel n dimers.
 

pchewn

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It's a logical extension of the lower-priced ticket for just the beginner lift or just the rope tow. A lower priced ticket for the lower-demand service and a higher priced ticket for the higher-demand service.

At Mt Hood Meadows they do a similar thing, but it's not priced differently by lift, but differently by days. (Midweek "Value" pass vs the "Full access pass").

The ski areas are trying to offer the experience you want at the price you're willing to pay.
 

fatbob

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As for Squaw, The tram doesn't access special terrain, in fact it accesses beginner terrain and High Camp.
Surely at Squaw the premium lift would be KT-22 which would mean storm days would suck even more if you didn't pony up. Although I suspect Squallytude would see some Alterra assets arsoned or similar if they did try to pull the stunt there.
 

noobski

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I don't think Big Sky tram lines are just a result of Ikon and multimountain passes. It was a problem before them. Has it exacerbated it? Perhaps, but any more than all other lift lines? Probably not.

This is really a tool for demand management for all skiers with the hope it will reduce the number of people who use it and keep the lines a bit less crazy.

That said, not sure how well it will work on that count - it will certainly raise revenue. But it just means that on marginal days when lines are not bad they'll be even less bad. And on great days people will pony up - or use their included "free" days from their season pass - and the lines are likely still to be crazy.
I've only skied Big Sky two different trips, including just this last week so perhaps I've missed big line days. Ijust didn'tsee any long line situation. Are lines really that bad? I skied 9 resorts this year and Big Sky by far had the shortest relative lines of any other place I visited (besides Solitude) and it was over Easter Week/Spring Break.
 

CascadeConcrete

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However I think it sucks as the beginning of a slippery slope to fragment skiing in favour of the wealthiest and is a further sign of the nastiness of "localism" as in " you're not like us so pay a premium to ski this bit of our terrain".
To be fair, similar tram restrictions already applied to all the Big Sky local passes except the most expensive one or two. The Ikon is catching up in that respect.


Big sky clearly has the money, they just keep prioritizing other lifts. I don't plan to return until they figure out a solution to the tram line.
The real issue, imho, is this right here. They've been aggressively marketing the resort and trying to bring in more and more skiers. Which is totally fine, they have enough terrain and capacity to handle the numbers. They've put a lot of effort into upgrading their lift infrastructure during this same period. But for some reason, they haven't addressed the biggest bottleneck on the mountain, which just happens to be served exclusively by the lowest capacity lift in the entirety of North America. And now they're rolling out this half-assed plan to try to control usage. I agree, I won't be heading back to Big Sky till they get the tram situation sorted.
 

BS Slarver

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I’m not an IKON P holder so I might need help with the math here.
There are 44 mountains on this pass, 5-7 days at each that’s roughly 220 ski days ?
Of those each mountain has what, 8-10 lifts minimum ? Some perhaps double that ? So roughly 400-500 lifts and being asked to pay more for this one with the smallest capacity
is killing everyone ?
I can’t believe this thread would get this much traction and think this thread is worthy of a poll.
How many of those replying have actually skied BS ?
Of those who have, how many have skied off the tram ?
Of those who have been to the top have skied anything other than liberty bowl ?

How many here have ever heard of or skied the following without looking at a map
Firehole, Three forks, Obsidian, Peru, Bolivia, Marlboro country or the Pinnacles ?

All but one require no wait, no hike to drop into anything as steep as most lines off the tram.

This reminds me of a Louis CK bit, cell phones and flying. They lose wi-fi in the first plane to use it and the passenger next to him snaps.
You didn’t use WiFi in a plane before but now that it’s gone your outraged ?!?
 

dbostedo

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Are lines really that bad?
The Gathering in 2019 was a good snow week, and the tram was closed for most or all of several of the days. When it finally did open, the wait was at least a half hour, and typically over an hour, from what I remember (though I didn't ride it).

So roughly 400-500 lifts and being asked to pay more for this one with the smallest capacity
is killing everyone ?
I think most folks in the thread are curious about the effect. I don't think it's "killing" anyone here as I see it. It's just an interesting discussion/effect/concept.

If this was a Big Sky Gathering season coming up in 2022, there would be a lot more folks on here who might have bought an Ikon pass specifically to ski Big Sky. If that's the situation someone is in, all that other access doesn't matter.
 

mdf

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The Gathering in 2019 was a good snow week, and the tram was closed for most or all of several of the days. When it finally did open, the wait was at least a half hour, and typically over an hour, from what I remember (though I didn't ride it).
I rode the Tram twice, coming down Marx once and the Big the other time. I don't remember with confidence, but I think the wait was just over half an hour the first time and about an hour the second. (Of course, we also waited about an hour at the top for our turn to ski the Big Couloir.)
 

fatbob

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I’m not an IKON P holder so I might need help with the math here.

I can’t believe this thread would get this much traction and think this thread is worthy of a poll.
It's not about the maths. It's about the concept that Ikon gets you (at the highest level) unfettered access (for the days of your entitlement) to some of the best resorts in NA i.e. at the level equivalent to "full" passholders. BS have just torpedoed that and taken away some of the prestige they have from being associated with Ikon (which must be in their interests otherwise they wouldn't be signed up).

And there's a teeny bit of the "that guy" element. Who wants to drop a ton of bucks on a ski trip and have that guy in the bar say of course you really should have skied the tram? So you lay out the extra sizeable premium and find it wasn't all that or you feel resentful that you are being gouged for it. Neither reflects well on your likely recommend of BS.

We saw last season that Alterra had a problem with letting partner resorts assign an (hidden) Ikon quota for bookings and they claim it was sold out while letting day ticket sales continue. This is another example of letting a partner resort call the shots to passholder disadvantage. And the concern is what's next (JH taking away the tram, Aspen taking Highlands off the pass, Mammoth top stage of the gondy, Squaw taking KT off, DV/ Abasin having rolling blackouts.....) (yes I know some of them aren't partner resorts but once you start allowing slicing and dicing why stop at advantaging your partners only if there's extra skrilla to be made)
 
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Dave Marshak

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When Epic, Maxpass then Ikon were all starting up, most around here were all for it. Cheap multi-passes at home and at destination resorts, what could be wrong with that? Now we are in the phase where concentration of the ski industry is nearly complete, and those passes have led to unacceptable crowding at top line resorts. The predictable response by the ski areas includes restricted access to the most popular places and higher prices.
That's just the way monopoly works, so expect more of that in the future.

mm
 

SpikeDog

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I was at the Big Sky Gathering too, and while there was plenty of fun to be had and lots of freshies, I would have preferred to have the choice of skiing off Lone Peak. And I skied BS with a Mountain Collective pass, which seems never to be in the conversation about overcrowding.

I shot off an email to IKON this morning about this issue. I doubt any traction to be had in that direction, but I've never been shy about sticking my head up above the ground.
 

dbostedo

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That's just the way monopoly duopoly works
FIFY - to be pedantic. :)

But really, it's neither... people are very hooked on skiing particular resorts, but at a high level there are a lot of others out there. Though for certain locations, that's less of an option, and there is more of a duopoly.
 

Tricia

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Surely at Squaw the premium lift would be KT-22 which would mean storm days would suck even more if you didn't pony up. Although I suspect Squallytude would see some Alterra assets arsoned or similar if they did try to pull the stunt there.
This year we took Squaw One more than KT, which was pretty nice because they ran it pretty consistently to take pressure off the Funi.
 

DanoT

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Being upset with not having the BS Lone Peak Tram as part of the Ikon pass does resonate with a lot of SkiTalkers but as @BS Slarver has pointed out: How many SkiTalkers have skied other than Liberty Bowl (Black diamond but easiest way down) off the Tram?

Here is a more relevant question: How many of the skiing public have the skills to ski Lone Peak? My answer is "not the majority", so repercussions from the skiing public with regard to Ikon Pass not offering included access to the BS Tram will be very limited.

OTOH BS locals will still be twisted about the increase in skiers at BS due to the Ikon Pass especially since the Tram exclusion will have zero effect on skier visits to BS.
 

Tricia

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I've only skied Big Sky two different trips, including just this last week so perhaps I've missed big line days. Ijust didn'tsee any long line situation. Are lines really that bad? I skied 9 resorts this year and Big Sky by far had the shortest relative lines of any other place I visited (besides Solitude) and it was over Easter Week/Spring Break.
Did you hit the tram?
 
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