Press Release: IKON Pass arrives in Idaho With the Addition of Schweitzer for Winter 2021-2022

Mister Tea

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My limited experience is that the mega-passes (Ikon and Epic) have made for bigger crowds at resorts that were already crowded (e.g. Colorado, SLC, JH, New England) but for lesser visited regions it has not had as a dramatic an effect. Mega-pass resorts with unlimited access that are convenient to large population centers tend to get over-run; more remote where the pass is limited to five or seven days, not so much.

Big Sky is somewhat of an exception, but I think most of the bottleneck there is at the Lone Peak tram - I spent a week there the season before last and don't recall long lift lines except at the tram.

I'm also a local at Boyne Highlands and have detected no discernable difference from the Ikon pass, but I don't ski there weekends or holidays. Same for Tremblant, where I'm not exactly a local, but 21 days in a season makes that assertion at least arguable.

So, my prediction is that Sweitzer will be fine. Or at least that the introduction of the Ikon pass will pale in comparison to the influx of people moving to the area already.
 
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Mister Tea

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Question for those familiar with Schweitzer: I hear a lot about it being "family friendly" but looking at the trail map the only green circles are at the bottom serviced by the Musical Chairs lift.

This would imply to me that a lot of the blue runs are fairly mellow, or at least some of them are. Is this a correct conclusion?
 

DanoT

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So, my prediction is that Sweitzer will be fine. Or at least that the introduction of the Ikon pass will pale in comparison to the influx of people moving to the area already.
^^^This is exactly my contention.
From Wikipedia: "According to the 2010 Census, Spokane had a population of 208,916, making it the second-largest city in Washington, and the 100th-largest city in the United States. In 2019, the United States Census Bureau estimated the city's population at 222,081 and the population of the Spokane Metropolitan Area at 573,493."

Ikon Pass holders will only visit 7 days max while all the new locals that a rapidly growing Spokane and Couer d'Alene population will have season passes and if they are WFH then they will show up on powder mornings all season long.
 

SkiSVLikeAgassi

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My limited experience is that the mega-passes (Ikon and Epic) have made for bigger crowds at resorts that were already crowded (e.g. Colorado, SLC, JH, New England) but for lesser visited regions it has not had as a dramatic an effect.
That has certainly not been the case with Sun Valley this season. We've gone from empty to crowded.
"Dramatic" doesn't even begin to describe it...
 

Brad J

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Not to be a downer but the "crowding " at popular ski area has only begun, Post covid world the people who can are moving to Utah, Colorado, Montana, Washington state , Idaho, Etc in record numbers because with technology they can. I have skies out west since the 80's and the "crowds" were crazy when you had to wait in any kind of line, with the one exception of a powder day waiting for the lift to open. In five years IMO skiing will be very restricted at these area we all know and love. The second tier areas will be the big winners here and possibly new area development.
 

New2

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Question for those familiar with Schweitzer: I hear a lot about it being "family friendly" but looking at the trail map the only green circles are at the bottom serviced by the Musical Chairs lift.
This would imply to me that a lot of the blue runs are fairly mellow, or at least some of them are. Is this a correct conclusion?
The blue runs under the Basin Express are pretty mellow, but I wouldn't recommend Schweitzer for novices. I kind of think that "family friendly" is more or less a throw-away term in the ski industry... all the ski areas I've visited seem pretty "family-friendly."
 

Stephen Witkop

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My guess is the the on-slope crowds will be limited by available beds and parking. All those people driving from Seattle or flying into Spokane still need a place to stay. On a positive note midweek bookings might get a nice bump for those that rent their properties out when they're not there along with the hotels.

Parking could become a hassle but hopefully the fact that it's a limited number of days for Ikon pass holders those within driving distance will buy the full Schweitzer pass anyways.
 

Vinnie

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Not to be a downer but the "crowding " at popular ski area has only begun, Post covid world the people who can are moving to Utah, Colorado, Montana, Washington state , Idaho, Etc in record numbers because with technology they can. I have skies out west since the 80's and the "crowds" were crazy when you had to wait in any kind of line, with the one exception of a powder day waiting for the lift to open. In five years IMO skiing will be very restricted at these area we all know and love. The second tier areas will be the big winners here and possibly new area development.
I think the trend in tech companies prior to COVID was to move back to people working onsite. If we ever get through this alot of those folks that moved away in record numbers may well have to pick up and move back so they can go into the office. That's my hope at least.
 

SkiSVLikeAgassi

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I think the trend in tech companies prior to COVID was to move back to people working onsite. If we ever get through this alot of those folks that moved away in record numbers may well have to pick up and move back so they can go into the office. That's my hope at least.
One can only hope. But keep in mind many of these so-called "Covid refugees" are not hard-core skiers.
Heck, some of them don't even ski. They just jumped on the whole "let's get out of the city and lead a healthy lifestyle because life is too short" bandwagon. Nothing wrong with that, BTW. But a good number of them will leave after a year or two, bored out of their mind once they realize what it is actually like to live in a ski town/resort. And those who stay, are not here on a permanent vacation. They are simply working remotely (glued to Zoom calls all day) and don't have the liberty to ski every day much less ski all day.

So, in Sun Valley's case, they were not the primary reason for the huge increase in crowds...
 
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Andy Mink

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I don't doubt the mega passes are having impacts on areas but this past season is probably not a good barometer of reality. Reduced lift capacity coupled with WFH has a skewing effect on even smaller areas that aren't incorporated into the big passes.

Mt. Rose was an example of this with long lines during the week during an otherwise low tide year. I don't see WFH going away totally but a lot of folks will be going back to somewhat "normal" routines (hopefully) and 6 packs will again be able to move 6 instead of 2. Here's hoping for a normal 2020-21 season.
 

Mister Tea

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I don't doubt the mega passes are having impacts on areas but this past season is probably not a good barometer of reality. Reduced lift capacity coupled with WFH has a skewing effect on even smaller areas that aren't incorporated into the big passes.
Yep. My local hill is not on any multi-resort pass system and they sold a record number of day tickets. And a record number of season passes. And a record number of ski rentals. It was still ski up to the chair mid-week.

My other local hill is on the Ikon pass, and it wasn't noticeably more crowded than either the resort mentioned above or compared to previous seasons, including the pre-Ikon days.
 

New2

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My guess is the the on-slope crowds will be limited by available beds and parking. All those people driving from Seattle or flying into Spokane still need a place to stay. On a positive note midweek bookings might get a nice bump for those that rent their properties out when they're not there along with the hotels.

Parking could become a hassle but hopefully the fact that it's a limited number of days for Ikon pass holders those within driving distance will buy the full Schweitzer pass anyways.
I sure hope they don't count on parking as a real limiting factor--there's no reason to, since they don't need to deal with public lands approval to grade additional lots. And there's a long way to go before beds will be a limiting factor. The region's peak season is summer, so plenty of beds currently unused in winter. And more lodging on the way.
 

Brad J

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For those trying to buy or rent (long-term), I can only offer my condolences...
IMO its the spiking increase in population that's accounts for most of the increased crowding at the most popular ski areas , not Ikon, the mega passes do contribute some (10%) but on a Powder day at most areas its locals
 

SkiSVLikeAgassi

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IMO its the spiking increase in population that's accounts for most of the increased crowding at the most popular ski areas , not Ikon, the mega passes do contribute some (10%) but on a Powder day at most areas its locals
And that may very well be the case in other popular areas. Not here as far as the skiing is concerned.
I'm not saying it wasn't a contributing factor to some degree (obviously),
but the *all-day* crowds this season on the hill had day window tickets and were visiting with Epic passes.
I know. I was on the mountain every day...

Having said that, there was a lot of pent-up demand to ski SV, so that combined with all the Covid restrictions
may have been the real culprit. Will the novelty wear off by next season? Who knows?

It's anybody's guess how this will play out in Schweitzer. Best wishes to all the locals over there... :crossfingers:
 
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Stephen Witkop

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IMO its the spiking increase in population that's accounts for most of the increased crowding at the most popular ski areas , not Ikon, the mega passes do contribute some (10%) but on a Powder day at most areas its locals
This makes me wonder how many more locals are buying "Mega Passes" being cheaper than the season passes they replaced and the ability to use them at other resorts.

This overcrowding issue has me conflicted. On the one hand I've been worried about the sport in the long term being too expensive and hard to get into to stay healthy but the crowds are saying that may not be the case. I just hope that operators take the opportunity to upgrade the lifts and lodges to accommodate the masses better.
 

Brad J

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For a lot of regions Ikon works for a primary pass but if I lived at Big sky or Sun Valley it wouldn't unless it was a add on to stand alone Mt pass and I was going to do some traveling.
 
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