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

SpikeDog

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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?
I see the point you're trying to make, but you're telling me that I'm not worthy to ride the BS tram due to that?!? I've only skied the Liberty Bowl because I've been with ski buddies who were not capable of the other runs, but we got to share the experience. Like @Dave Marshak said, I've ridden thousands of chair lifts, but which rides up do I remember the most?
 

James

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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 ?
That’s pretty much the illusion Big Sky is using to justify charging $50 for one lift. “You’ve got all these other lifts”

Geez, feel lucky to have taken the tram maybe half a dozen times in probably less than two weeks over two visits to Big Sky. The top of that lift is the most uninviting place of any lift served I’ve done. You just want to get the hell off it. Once past that wooden buried fence it’s fine.

This seems to me a revenue play, plus appeasing the locals who must be making quite a stink over the wait for “their” tram. Otherwise, why is it such a big deal if other people want to wait 1 1/2 hours for a lift? You’ve got all those other lifts to ski, right? The ones BS says make this extra charge not such a big deal.

I really don’t know how I feel about it. Practically, you’re right, it doesn’t make that much difference. But I’m with @fatbob, this is probably the start of increasing exclusivity in skiing everywhere. Certainly gives me less of a good feeling about Big Sky. At the moment, I feel much less inclined to go back.

Will this really decrease lines or just get people to put down their pitch forks? Those who ponied up for the pass will want to get their money’s worth, guides and privates will increase, and if it’s nice people will wait and pay at the gate.
It may increase traffic to the Headwater chutes chair at Moonlight. Then they’ll have to charge extra for that. It might have the lowest capacity of any chair except Mad River’s single chair.
 
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TheArchitect

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I missed the chance to ski the peak when I was at the Gathering as the visibility was really poor and I wanted to be able to see in that type of terrain. My next visit I will pay and wait in line because I want to experience the peak at least once. After that there’s a ton more terrain to ski that doesn’t involve the tram so I’m happy to skip it.
 

skidrew

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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".
I don't really see this - the added cost at least for now is at most 50% more than a full priced ticket - $80 on top of $160. Obviously most people are paying less than that for lift tickets, and the $80 charge I would expect to be mainly during holiday periods, and perhaps if they start using dynamic pricing for powder days. It's not a "wealthiest" thing unless wealthy people are just going to pay it even if they don't ski it - as it's designed, it's just anyone who wants to pay on that day can do so using pre-paid credits or a charge. In the context of a ski trip it's not huge money, though it will maybe make some people think "do I really want to do it?"

It's also not a "localism" issue - it's quite clear this applies to *everyone*, with the one exception of the highest priced season pass. Locals pay; visitors pay; ikon passholders pay. There's zero discrimination and there's zero discount for locals.

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.
Yes and no - the beginner lift tickets are partly promotional - like learn to ski programs that are cheap or even free (some places price out a package of lift+equipment+lessons at about the same as just lift+equipment). They charge a lower price because they're trying to attract customers who wouldn't otherwise ski because of the price.
 

skidrew

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Will this really decrease lines or just get people to put down their pitch forks? Those who ponied up for the pass will want to get their money’s worth, guides and privates will increase, and if it’s nice people will wait and pay at the gate.
If someone pays $800 for a guide or a private lesson to save at most $80, their head's not screwed on right.
 

Tricia

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I missed the chance to ski the peak when I was at the Gathering as the visibility was really poor and I wanted to be able to see in that type of terrain. My next visit I will pay and wait in line because I want to experience the peak at least once. After that there’s a ton more terrain to ski that doesn’t involve the tram so I’m happy to skip it.
I've been up the tram 3 times but that gathering week was not one of them. Lone Peak is not somewhere you want to be with low visibility.
It is truly a special experience if you can see.
 

James

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If someone pays $800 for a guide or a private lesson to save at most $80, their head's not screwed on right.
You miss the point. They pay to not wait. They pay to ski what they want as close to when they want as possible. Waiting in lines is for people who can’t pay.
Happens everywhere, nothing unusual.

And yes, increase because those on the fence may group together and pony up for a day of not waiting. A wait they will have to pay $50 extra for.
 

Tricia

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The tram is a special experience. If you want line cutting privileges shell out way more coin.
I've only skied the Liberty Bowl because I've been with ski buddies who were not capable of the other runs, but we got to share the experience. Like @Dave Marshak said, I've ridden thousands of chair lifts, but which rides up do I remember the most?
This... Its a special experience to take the tram. I don't buy the "not worthy" idea but I do believe that it needs to be important to you(universal you) to make the trip whether you're paying the price of your valuable time in a long line or $$ for a tram ticket with potentially shorter lines.

Personaly, every time I ski Big Sky I find new terrain that I hadn't skied before and I've been there 5 times. Lots more terrain to cover even if I never take the tram again.

That being said, its my intention to do a @Dan Egan clinic at Big Sky some time which means I'm pretty likely to pony up for tram access at some point.
 
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skidrew

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You miss the point. They pay to not wait. They pay to ski what they want as close to when they want as possible. Waiting in lines is for people who can’t pay.
Happens everywhere, nothing unusual.

And yes, increase because those on the fence may group together and pony up for a day of not waiting. A wait they will have to pay $50 extra for.
I'm missing how something one could do this year, and in many years past, is altered much by charging extra for a tram ride. Just how many more people are going to pay a net $800 difference instead of a net $900 difference? Very small numbers.

And BS doesn't allow line cutting privileges for the tram for guided tours with more than 2 people. And from the instructors I've met I'm pretty sure if you signed up for a 5-person group lesson and then wanted to do tram laps the instructor would say "not sure you've signed up for the right thing".

Let's be clear - the Tram charge isn't a "line cutting fee". This would be an entirely different discussion if BS (or any resort) introduced a "fast lane" ticket like Disneyland for its lifts.
 
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Tricia

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You miss the point. They pay to not wait. They pay to ski what they want as close to when they want as possible. Waiting in lines is for people who can’t pay.
Happens everywhere, nothing unusual.

And yes, increase because those on the fence may group together and pony up for a day of not waiting. A wait they will have to pay $50 extra for.
When we had the Tahoe gathering back in 2012 there was a group of members who pooled their $$ to hire @Sinecure for a full day private so they could get line cuts at Squaw on a powder day...
So, yeah, sometimes people are willing to pony up for a special experience.
 

Tony S

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This post speaks to the Ikon situation specifically.

A family from Peoria with two pre-teen kids is visiting New York City and they really want to visit the Statue of Liberty. That’s at the heart of their trip. Telling them about the 1001 other wonderful and special things there are to do in Manhattan doesn’t change that or reduce their disappointment if they don’t get to do it. Nor does it appease their grouchiness if their all-inclusive package tour included that stop, but then they’re told later that it’s going to cost a bunch extra to visit the statue.

Every piece of PR about Big Sky starts and ends with a stunning photo of Lone Peak. Going up there, regardless of your actual ability to ski the terrain, is practically the definition of a signature experience. Boyne perpetuates that for all it’s worth with every single ad. Right? It’s willfully obtuse to suggest that it’s “ just another lift,” as it would be to suggest that Miss Liberty is “just another attraction” in New York.

Let me try to use the Socratic method here and reflect the argument my opponents in this discussion are presenting. Being able to do this is a first principle of debate.

The argument, though not explicitly articulated, is clearly this:

The Ikon pass is an amazing value. You get so much skiing for your money. If Ikon and its partner resorts are nibbling away at the edges of what you were told you were getting, so what? By complaining you are looking a gift horse in the mouth. Instead, you should shut up, count your blessings, and stop being so greedy.

Is that not basically what many of you are saying?

If so, well, I just don't agree. It is not greedy to expect to receive something that you paid for. The fact that it was a good deal doesn’t change that in the slightest. On the contrary, the fact that it was that good a deal – notably including the signature Big Sky experience – may have convinced you to close the sale in the first place, much to the benefit of the seller. (How much do you want to bet that there is - or was - a prominent photo of Lone Peak and the tram somewhere on the Ikon site?)

My bike shop advertises a Colnago Model X road bike for $2,000. Wow. That’s a great deal. Sold. Here’s my credit card. Now delivery day arrives and it’s not a Colnago, it’s a Trek. Same component package. I say, “I paid for a Colnago, not a Trek.” Bike shop says, “Yeah, but this Trek is an amazing bike. For $2,000 you were crazy to expect a Colnago. Even the Trek is WAY underpriced at $2,000. What makes you think you deserve a Colnago for only $2,000?” Um, the fact that my sales receipt says I was supposed to get a Colnago?

Not that I think it should matter, but yes, by the way, I have been up there, and I have skied other routes besides Liberty, and it is quite an amazing experience, even knowing first-hand how good the skiing at Headwaters and other parts of the mountain also is.

I am not planning a trip to Big Sky next year, but if I were you can be sure I’d be on the phone with Ikon about this. Say I’d booked a 7-day trip. I might reasonably expect to ride the tram on 3 of those 7 days, thinking conservatively about weather and what have you. At $50 a pop, hypothetically, that is not pocket change. $150 extra for the week.

Now let’s say every marquis area starts doing this. That’s an extra $150 for each week at each area. If I take three trips I’ve paid $1,450 for my Ikon experience instead of $1,000. Almost a 50% increase. No. Sheesh.
 

fatbob

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It's also not a "localism" issue - it's quite clear this applies to *everyone*, with the one exception of the highest priced season pass. Locals pay; visitors pay; ikon passholders pay. There's zero discrimination and there's zero discount for locals.
I disagree - clearly only those that can amortise the extra cost of whatever your plutonium grade pass with unlimited tram will be the hardcore or wealthy locals for whom the extra cost per tram ride is a triviality.

But $80 on top of a $160 ticket not being a big deal? For what for most will be one lap of the tram? That's putting yourself in a league with the big boys, the Aiguille de Midi or Jungfraujoch (not a direct ski comparison I know). If conditions are absolutely right it maybe is the best value ever. Alternately it's a sour taste.
 

tball

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And Copper has its special lift line you can pay extra to use.
Not any more.
Copper still allows you to pay extra to cut lines. It's a $399 add-on to a Copper or IKON pass. These are the details for next season:

Copper Season Pass | Copper Mountain 2021-04-08 09-52-06.png

I've never bought one. It's not super useful for an advanced skier, as those lifts rarely have lines. And, it's more than I'm willing to spend for the whole family to skip 15 mins lines at peak times.

I'm not annoyed by the special lines, as they don't really impact my wait. While waiting in a full maze, you might see a handful of people use the special lines.

There were legal challenges years ago, and it held up in court. IIRC, it was around equal access to Forest Service land and failed.

What's interesting is I don't believe any other resorts have tried this. My guess is if somewhere like Vail where it would be beneficial did this there would be much more outrage. I think there would be a huge percentage of special people getting on the lift. That would make the already long waits for everyone else intolerable.
 

skidrew

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If so, well, I just don't agree. It is not greedy to expect to receive something that you paid for. The fact that it was a good deal doesn’t change that in the slightest. On the contrary, the fact that it was that good a deal – notably including the signature Big Sky experience – may have convinced you to close the sale in the first place, much to the benefit of the seller. (How much do you want to bet that there is - or was - a prominent photo of Lone Peak and the tram somewhere on the Ikon site?)
So are you saying this disclosure on Ikon pass website is inadequate? Or is it irrelevant because it's not a legitimate exclusion? (And for anyone who already bought, that Ikon refuses to refund)

Screen Shot 2021-04-08 at 12.13.48 p.png
 

dbostedo

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What's interesting is I don't believe any other resorts have tried this.
Stratton has been doing it for a long time.

So are you saying this disclosure on Ikon pass website is inadequate?
If it wasn't there when I bought my pass (and I don't believe it was) then yes, it's inadequate. That's what @Tony S is referring to - people who bought the Ikon pass before this announcement could rightly consider themselves to have already paid for tram access. So they could potentially be refunded (and I am curious how Ikon would handle that) but it's still a crappy move/problem to have to deal with as a consumer.
 

fatbob

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Stratton has been doing it for a long time.


If it wasn't there when I bought my pass (and I don't believe it was) then yes, it's inadequate. That's what @Tony S is referring to - people who bought the Ikon pass before this announcement could rightly consider themselves to have already paid for tram access. So they could potentially be refunded (and I am curious how Ikon would handle that) but it's still a crappy move/problem to have to deal with as a consumer.
It's not even the money aspect really. It's Alterra showing another "tell" that they are the weaker party when it comes to protecting their customers.
 
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