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

skidrew

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I would add that paying extra to ski Lone Peak at least once for a bucket list kind of thing or even for the view and not ski if the terrain is beyond ones comfort zone, for most ski-weekers is worth the experience.
One thing that's not clear is whether scenic rides after 2:30 (when it closes to skiing down) will be free. Usually there's a very short line if any at that point.
 

Bad Bob

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A number of areas have extra fee items available, early tracks and the like. Can see their side, the tram is an entirely different beast than anything else at Big Sky.

If I were a pass holder would be PO'ed though.
 

dbostedo

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From their website it looks like Stratton has early access select days, but not the all-day line skipping every day like Copper:

View attachment 130727

I love the microeconomics of all this.
First Tracks wasn't what I was referring to... they had a separate line at the Gondola for special pass holders. Maybe they've gotten rid of it as they've been Ikon-ized - I'm not sure.

If I wanted to use the bike-swap analogy then it would be the bike dealer calls and says "look, I can't provide you with the bike you wanted to buy any more because the manufacturer changed the specs. I can either get you something similar for the same price or you can cancel the order." Either of those is a legitimate option for the business to provide.
Yep - and it's a crappy thing for a retailer to have to do, because they can't deliver on what I purchased. In the analogy case here, the bike dealer is being responsive and responsible. I guess the equivalent for Ikon would be to send out a note to everyone noting and apologizing for the change, and offering refunds, like the bike dealer.

That analogy does fall apart though, since it's not one person, but a huge customer group. And no doubt, then, some people would just be using it as an excuse to get a refund for some other reason, whether they cared about the tram or not.
 

givethepigeye

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Nah strictly Championship maybe even First Division on a global basis.....
so, is Big Sky not in that same high-level tier of ski hills in the US? I mean people fly from across the country to take a rip there. People donot travel across town to play the Muni near my house.
 

Tony S

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For someone who's not planning a trip to Big Sky, you seem pretty outraged.
Outraged is too strong a word. I'm indignant on behalf of the folks who are going to have to react to this this season with some kind of plan change and/or unplanned expenditure. And I am indignant as an American consumer who once again has learned that he has to look over his shoulder for the next instance of subtle weaseling.
 

Tricia

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A number of areas have extra fee items available, early tracks and the like. Can see their side, the tram is an entirely different beast than anything else at Big Sky.

If I were a pass holder would be PO'ed though.
If you were a Big Sky Passholder?
The different tiers that offer tram access and no tram access have been around for a while.
 

Tricia

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Outraged is too strong a word. I'm indignant on behalf of the folks who are going to have to react to this this season with some kind of plan change and/or unplanned expenditure. And I am indignant as an American consumer who once again has learned that he has to look over his shoulder for the next instance of subtle weaseling.
Like I said earlier. You pay one way or another.
What is your time worth if you're standing in a 1+ hr tram line?
Is it worth 20.00 to potentially be in a shorter line?
 

skidrew

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That analogy does fall apart though, since it's not one person, but a huge customer group. And no doubt, then, some people would just be using it as an excuse to get a refund for some other reason, whether they cared about the tram or not.
It doesn't really need to fall apart. Ikon could easily send out an email to all purchasers of its passes prior to April 7 (or whatever the date is) and tell them "Big Sky is no longer providing tram access - please contact us if you'd like a refund within 1 month."

While I doubt too many people would ask for a refund - many may not even care about Big Sky - I really doubt anyone would be using it to get out of a pass they purchased in March and now don't want. Yeah, maybe some guy who tore his ACL since then, but it's gotta be a really low number who have changed their mind for other reasons.
 

dbostedo

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I really doubt anyone would be using it to get out of a pass they purchased in March and now don't want
I disagree... consumers are fickle. People return things for all sorts of reasons, and sometimes then regret the return. They make up excuses, and have "buyer's remorse". Not everyone is rationale. And yes, there are likely some folks who have had an injury, a life change, lost their job, moved, etc. too. I think the number of people who would use it to get a refund is not insignificant. And I think Ikon is hoping those folks don't notice or care about this change and try to use it to get a refund; Or at least don't want to invite that by sending out a notice.
 

Nathanvg

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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 ?
I'm not sure why it's relevant but I have done all of the above.

BS spent about 7 million to upgrade Ramcharger capacity by only 30%, add bubbles and fancy seats. A liberty bowl t-bar or chair could solve the tram line problem for less than a million. Seems like a simple solution but BS keeps making bad lift decisions.

As a short term mitigation, BS could have given one "fast pass line" to everyone but only once per day and allowed everyone to go to a longer line for rides 2+ per day.
 

skidrew

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I'm not sure why it's relevant but I have done all of the above.

BS spent about 7 million to upgrade Ramcharger capacity by only 30%, add bubbles and fancy seats. A liberty bowl t-bar or chair could solve the tram line problem for less than a million. Seems like a simple solution but BS keeps making bad lift decisions.

As a short term mitigation, BS could have given one "fast pass line" to everyone but only once per day and allowed everyone to go to a longer line for rides 2+ per day.
Not sure what bad lift decisions BS has made . . . The Ramcharger upgrade also meant a Shedhorn upgrade. Yeah, would be better if they had done Swifty first, but I continue to believe BS got a deal for being the launch partner on the Doppelmyer 8, so probably did better to do it then than wait.

Yeah, I get people would love to have a tram with 10x the current capacity . . . but it's not clear to me that the Peak can handle that. Just imagine unloading 100 people at a time (like JH) or even 30-40 at a time. Where does everyone go? How quickly does it get down to bare rocks each day on the traverses?

A lift up Liberty would be nice, but comes with forest service challenges, plus the same problem of dumping a lot of people onto a peak that doesn't hold a lot.
 

Seldomski

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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.
I thought this was one of the discriminating factors between Epic and Ikon? That Ikon would let the resorts under their umbrella 'preserve their own unique character?' If the resorts cannot push back or negotiate, then you will just have the bigger players begin to drop from the pass.

It doesn't really need to fall apart. Ikon could easily send out an email to all purchasers of its passes prior to April 7 (or whatever the date is) and tell them "Big Sky is no longer providing tram access - please contact us if you'd like a refund within 1 month."
This is all Ikon needs to do, since they are now advertising the change for this year. Big Sky should likewise send out an email blast to their database (which sounds like they have already?).

There will still be people showing up with Ikon expecting tram access next season to be included regardless of how much messaging is done. Just like this season, people were still showing up to Vail properties without getting a reservation.
 

fatbob

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so, is Big Sky not in that same high-level tier of ski hills in the US? I mean people fly from across the country to take a rip there. People donot travel across town to play the Muni near my house.
On a global basis, no. I doubt it has much of an international rep at all, not like a Whistler, Banff or Aspen or Jackson or , generically, Tahoe.
I guess with Lone Peak included it might crack the US top 20. But iconic in global terms - big shrug from anywhere in Yurp.

Now ski resort top trumps is a daft game to play because everything has its merits and local knowledge can improve a resort tenfold. But don't fall for the puffing up the price meaning somewhere is X% better.
 

KevinF

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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.
This -- some areas define themselves by a lift. Mad River has the single chair, Big Sky has the tram to Lone Peak, etc. As Tony said, it's the centerpiece of their advertising. Most people don't bother reading the small print. Pulling a bait-and-switch seems like a good way to piss off your customers. As the saying goes, a happy customer tells nobody; a mad customer tells everybody.

There were previous discussions on walk-up lift ticket prices and "advance purchases" provide a discount, etc. i.e., if you spent five minutes to go online prior to your arrival, you get to save $$$, and the amazement at how few people actually did that.

I imagine Big Sky's new tram policy will likewise catch a decent number of people by surprise.
 

BS Slarver

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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?
No one is saying anyone isn’t worthy of getting a shot at the tram. It’s just so many people are lining up to get their Instagram moment and ride back down or to ski liberty which isn’t even that hard. That it makes accessing the really fun / difficult terrain a long wait. IKON should notify those who bought early and if it’s got your panties in a wad that much get your money back.
Like @Philpug said, you know what you bought, move on.
You think your being snubbed now ?
Wait till cross harbor capital, err, lone mountain land, I mean the YC club gobbles it up. Bet ya most haven’t heard of 2 out of the 3.
There’s a lot going on out hear that most people skiing the resort don’t have a clue about. My guess is, this is a small part of things to come.
In a year of COVID There wasn’t a room to be had in town.
 

Talisman

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In a year of COVID There wasn’t a room to be had in town.
If you didn't rent for your stay through BS getting lift tickets wasn't a sure thing with "limited ticket sales." I'm sure the mountain learned a few new angles about maximizing yield this season.
 

noobski

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Did you hit the tram?
No. I didn't check the tram specifically; I skied past it a couple times though and did not notice much of line, however that's anecdote.

I was primarily referring to lines in general at BS. I found them to be short or non-existent for both Spring Trips we've taken there. Again, anecdotal, but I love the BS lines over the other resorts I skied this year...Alta and JH up to 45 minutes(not JH Tram) and GT, Brighton, and Snowbird up to 30. Heck, our local hill often had 15 min lines for 30 second run.
 
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dbostedo

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It’s just so many people are lining up to get their Instagram moment and ride back down or to ski liberty which isn’t even that hard.
Ugh... I feel like I just got lumped in with instagrammers :P , as I would probably find Liberty Bowl plenty of challenge (and I'd have skied it too, if the tram wait wasn't so long - I'd really like to get up there). I know folks that want to get to the difficult stuff may be frustrated by people who just want to ski Liberty adding to the line, but there's nothing wrong with it - it's still a unique run and experience I'd imagine, and probably as fun for me as the harder stuff is for you. And there's no more "right" IMO to go to the top if you want to ski Marx or Lenin, than for other reasons.

Even if it's not just about the skiing... One of the things I never get tired of, coming from a relatively flat area, are the views at resorts and the experience of being high in the mountains. It's a reason to ski for me. So my tram experience would be equal parts going to the top, checking out the view, and skiing Liberty Bowl. I felt the same about Rendezvous Bowl at Jackson and the tram ride there, and I like going to the top of Aspen Highlands to be able to look at the Bowl (even though I haven't skied that one yet), etc.
 

dovski

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So let me be the dissenting opinion. As a Mountain Collective Pass holder and someone with Boyne Reciprocal resort privileges I am directly impacted by this change as both of these access options no longer include the tram without an added usage fee and I like this change. Every time I travel to Big Sky which either entails a flight or 12 hour drive I am confronted with multi hour waits for the tram. So I have to make a choice, lose half to a full day of skiing for one tram run or skip it altogether. I always opt for the latter because Big Sky has so many great options. With this change I can setup the autopay on my pass and if the weather and visibility are amenable potentially have the opportunity to ski multiple tram runs without sacrificing a day of skiing all for a nominal fee. The big cost of skiing Big Sky for me is actually getting there, so once I am there paying an incremental fee to access epic terrain quickly is worth it.

Now I can see local BS pass holders who normally buy lower tier passes being miffed especially if they regularly ski the tram, but everyone seems to be upset about the Ikon pass not sharing this change in advance. Let’s be clear if you’re already planning a destination ski vacation at Big Sky using your Ikon Pass, you are already spending thousands, so claiming that the added tram fee makes it economically out of reach is a weak argument. If you can afford to travel to Big Sky you can afford the added $20-80 for a day of tram skiing. Trust me your time you gain on the slopes is worth more per hour than what they are charging. Also as @Philpug said if you do not like this you can most likely get a refund.
 

CascadeConcrete

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but everyone seems to be upset about the Ikon pass not sharing this change in advance. Let’s be clear if you’re already planning a destination ski vacation at Big Sky using your Ikon Pass, you are already spending thousands, so claiming that the added tram fee makes it economically out of reach is a weak argument.
That may be what some people are talking about. My beef, as someone who has a very similar situation to you, is that this never should have been the "solution". This is "necessary" only because Big Sky has repeatedly prioritized lifts on the lower mountain that were arguably already over provisioned, rather than addressing the only lift on the mountain that regularly has long lines all day long (e.g. not just the morning rush to get away from the base). This is a half-baked plan to cover up for poor management and prioritization.

And for what it's worth, I don't think this extra fee will work for exactly the reason you say it's not a big deal: these fees aren't going to be enough to dramatically cut down usage of the tram because most of these people spent thousands to get there and this is a drop in the bucket. They want their insta moment on top of the world.
 
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