Lift ticket $ Insanity

Viking9

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I think that’s a CRAZY statement SkiDawg but then I noticed you are a Colorado skier.
I can actually see why you might say that, are you being selfish, I’m not being mean with that statement, I just can see someone wanting too curb the crowds.
I think the young people can really make skiing affordable when they buy the pass early , get two beds at cheap motel for $125.00 a night , $65.00 for the weekend and gas divided by 4.
The passes have to stay cheap for the single income parents of 4 that don’t get a break on ANYTHING.
 

HardDaysNight

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The NSAA is a lobby for the ski industry. They advocate for favorable treatment and legislation on behalf of resort owners ranging from tax incentives to liability protection. Their data are intended to promote those objectives. Anyone who skis regularly and is sentient knows perfectly well that visitor days have increased dramatically over the past decade at least, not only at major ski areas but everywhere.
 

dbostedo

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Anyone who skis regularly and is sentient knows perfectly well that visitor days have increased dramatically over the past decade at least, not only at major ski areas but everywhere.
I don't know that. That's why I want data. I ski mostly Fridays and Sundays locally, and weekdays on trips out west. I do not think I've seen increased crowds the last 10 years. But I'm only a 20-25 day per year skier; so I don't often go to any one place enough, or often enough, to really see trends.

I also can't think of what it would help to suppress the skier visit numbers.
 

Andy Mink

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I'd be curious to know how many of the "drive up from the city for the week vacation" folks even know about IKON/Epic. Many, at least in the Tahoe area, are not "skiers" but "people who ski, even if occasionally". They get here and the window price is what they pay.
 

mdf

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I think the skiers are crowding into the marquee resorts at the expense of the 2nd tier.
It is a result of the merging of individual markets and market information into one big market. And everyone wants to go to the "best" place.
 

Nathanvg

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It's just one part of the larger problem that is the cost of the sport. I want to take my son out west to ski on spring break its become very difficult to justify the costs of the trip. When I find affordable skiing the lodging or transportation costs make impractical. No matter where I look a week of skiing is going to cost our family of 3 somewhere north of $5000 for a week. As much as I love to ski I just don't know that I get that kind of enjoyment out of it. Even a weekend road trip to Timberline WV is $1000+ and we get half price lift tickets. Of course if could all just be more noticeable these days when the cost to feed your family, heat your home, and fuel your car has seen huge increases. I know our disposable income has all but evaporated over the last 12-18 months.
There is a lot of truth in the above but it really applies to the top 25 or so ski areas. Don't forget the other 400 or so areas, almost all of which have much more reasonable prices. Full price Lift tickets under 100 and often closer to 50 can be found in all but the top 2 or so ski areas in NM, ID, MT, BC, AB, WA. Even most high cost areas like CO have many sub 100 areas like Durango mountain, Sunlight, cooper ($30 tickets on Thursdays!) Most of these areas have towns with very inexpensive lodging near by too. Most of these areas you have to drive to the area each day but with free slopeside parking, I prefer it compared to the vast majority of lodging options at the big areas.

I recently took a trip to one of these smaller areas where I paid less than $100/day/person for lodging and lift (day tickets). No lines, untracked lines in the afternoon, great skiing, friendly people... it was great and really reminded me of the value in these smaller areas.
 

coskigirl

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Where are you getting that number? Here’s what is see when I look at their website. Not only is it nowhere near $300, only one day tops $200 and only a handful of days top $100.

8CF50703-0A6B-4926-9417-FE1CBDAB1F2F.png
 

Pequenita

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I'd be curious to know how many of the "drive up from the city for the week vacation" folks even know about IKON/Epic. Many, at least in the Tahoe area, are not "skiers" but "people who ski, even if occasionally". They get here and the window price is what they pay.
I know a bunch of folks who ski 2 or 3 weekends a year and have ikon, epic local, and when Palliwood was on it, the mountain collective pass. I think there are a lot of people who pay window, or online pricing, but there’s also a lot of Bay Area folks who have passes and use them for major weekends or ski week.
 

Andy Mink

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Where are you getting that number? Here’s what is see when I look at their website. Not only is it nowhere near $300, only one day tops $200 and only a handful of days top $100.

View attachment 190250
This was in the AZ/NM thread. I think it just got cut off. Saturday of MLK weekend.
Screenshot_20230123_222341_Chrome.jpg
 

coskigirl

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Interesting. It wasn’t there when I searched because it was a historical day. Was there a big powder dump?
 

New2

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Does that account for the crowding everyone is complaining about? I don't think so, since it's mostly smaller and/or less visited areas that have been closing. There are some other possibilities of course:
  • The NSAA numbers are innaccurate - this is almost certainly true, but I don't have a way to gauge how innaccurate they are
  • There are a bunch of small-to-medium resorts out there that are really hurting for visits, leading to increased visitation at the more popular resorts (and maybe we'll see a lot more closures over the next several years)
  • Skier visits have become more concentrated into smaller windows as the ski season has shortened or been more holiday/weekend focused, so resorts seem much busier even without total visits rising much
My guess is that NSAA numbers have gotten slightly more accurate with time--but probably don't explain the flat trend. There certainly are small-to-medium resorts hurting, but they weren't doing tons of business 20 years ago, either. And while a shrinking season might have decreased visits in parts of the country, snowmaking has facilitated longer seasons for much of the rest.

I think the biggest shift has been all the increased total lift capacity and high-speed lift capacity at the most visited resorts. With constant visitation numbers, high-speed high-capacity lifts mean people are spending less time in line, much less time on the chairlift, and more time on the slopes. But that also means fewer people in line, fewer people on the chairlift, and many more people on the slopes at the same time.

I love spring skiing. It hasn't gotten any busier! Even at those marquee resorts. People are still only skiing from Christmas to March.
Hear, hear!

That's what I'm really wondering about... everyone seems to be observing this, and I'd love to see the data that supports or refutes it, or explains the in-and-outs of why everything seems more crowded.
I think many big-name resorts have gotten significantly busier, visits are more concentrated on "desirable" days, and the bigger-faster lifts are pushing more people onto the slopes (or into the restaurants, etc.).

I think the skiers are crowding into the marquee resorts at the expense of the 2nd tier.
It is a result of the merging of individual markets and market information into one big market. And everyone wants to go to the "best" place.
True to some extent, of course. But first to cross the $300-per-day threshold seems to have been Arizona Snowbowl... which is a fantastic mountain... but calling it "marquee" or "the 'best' place" might be a stretch. The local market still matters... it is the best alpine skiing within 3 hours of Phoenix.

Where are you getting that number? Here’s what is see when I look at their website. Not only is it nowhere near $300, only one day tops $200 and only a handful of days top $100.
They have dynamic pricing... was up to $309 for this past Saturday. Screenshot at https://www.skitalk.com/threads/202...-resorts-conditions-meetups.28083/post-824759
 

motogreg

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The only way we can afford skiing for our family of 5 is because we're in the midwest, otherwise it would be out of our league. It is a bummer.
 

Cameron

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There is a lot of truth in the above but it really applies to the top 25 or so ski areas. Don't forget the other 400 or so areas, almost all of which have much more reasonable prices. Full price Lift tickets under 100 and often closer to 50 can be found in all but the top 2 or so ski areas in NM, ID, MT, BC, AB, WA. Even most high cost areas like CO have many sub 100 areas like Durango mountain, Sunlight, cooper ($30 tickets on Thursdays!) Most of these areas have towns with very inexpensive lodging near by too. Most of these areas you have to drive to the area each day but with free slopeside parking, I prefer it compared to the vast majority of lodging options at the big areas.

I recently took a trip to one of these smaller areas where I paid less than $100/day/person for lodging and lift (day tickets). No lines, untracked lines in the afternoon, great skiing, friendly people... it was great and really reminded me of the value in these smaller areas.
I've priced out trips to all sorts of places. The most affordable I've been able to find is back to Grand Targhee which I am completely OK with but with the cost of transportation its still a nearly $5000 week for a family of 3. That's with my wife buying the beginner area lift ticket, my son using the Ski Idaho passport, and lodging 25 minutes away in Driggs. Going to Copper Mountain is in the mid $5K range if we stay equally far away thanks to cheaper flights and anywhere in Utah exceeds $6K or isn't open late enough for our spring break. I've looked at Lake Tahoe, Montana, and even Canada and they all work out to be in the same sort of price range.
 

Tom K.

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Over on Snowheads (UK) they are bitching about costs as well.

Due respect, it's not like this is the first "let's complain about the cost of skiing" thread on Ski Talk. ;)

Reminds me of helmet and chairlift safety bar threads!
 

crgildart

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Most of the places in NC and closest VA don't take IKoN or Epic.. Everything else is over 4 hours one way.

I'm sure glad that a weekday here is still around fifty bucks regular non holiday.. Weekend about 75. The elasticity of demand for me has shifted quite a bit in the past 15 years.. After a long break and some good fortune I was stoked to pay whatever it took to get in 10-15 days a season checking out all the resorts I could around here.. Add in a couple kiddos who I wanted to plant the seed in so they would be good to go if skiing is in the picture for them later in life..

Now that they're in college, the amount of time and money I'm willing to invest for my own endeavours has dropped a lot. I'm also playing more music, which only requires equipment upkeep and an hour or two on the weekend.

But if I were where I was in life 15 years ago I'd pay that $$$ per day for skiing.
 

pais alto

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And yet, ski areas are too crowded. Amiright?

Wonder if there’s any relation there?
 

dbostedo

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The only way we can afford skiing for our family of 5 is because we're in the midwest, otherwise it would be out of our league. It is a bummer.
Not necessarily. Even in, say, Colorado there are places that are smaller and more affordable, depending on where you live. Sunlight, Powderhorn, Cooper, Granby, etc. Maybe not as cheap as mid-west places, but they still have reasonable day ticket rates. There are similar areas in other major ski areas of the country too.
 

SSSdave

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Part of the problem for average people is drilling down on the web to less expensive ways to ski. The more expensive lodging and package deals and travel sites like Expedia pay web search engines to promote their deals and obscure the less expensive.

The Epic Tahoe Local Pass for adults if bought early before fall this season was $454. Blacked out Saturdays and holidays at Kirkwood and Northstar while all week at huge Heavenly. Thus 4x454 = $1836 for 4 adults to ski most any week during winter.

If one stays on the California side of the Stateline border where one can easily walk to the Gondola for mountain access, there are numbers of less expensive midweek lodging options at $150 to $100 a night for 4 people. So lets say a bit upscale at 4x$150 = $600. Ground shuttle transportation costs for Reno IA airport to SLT that is $60 round trip each thus 4x$60= $240. So $1836+$600+$240= $2656 plus airfare for 4 from wherever that is $664 per person. So not much for young working adults. And note that is also walking distance to the 4 large Nevada stateline casinos.

For those hardcore on the cheap, with the above noted, I regularly stay midweek in lodging in either South Lake Tahoe near the Heavenly Gondola or Carson City where I drive from easily for 45 minutes for $60 to $70 a night. Reasonable clean with usual base amenities. My 220 mile drive from the SF Bay Area to Tahoe is $80 in gas round trip for a usual 2 or 3 days of skiing. About all my senor body is fit for continuously skiing mostly bump slopes. Life is good.
 
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UGASkiDawg

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I think that’s a CRAZY statement SkiDawg but then I noticed you are a Colorado skier.
I can actually see why you might say that, are you being selfish, I’m not being mean with that statement, I just can see someone wanting too curb the crowds.
I think the young people can really make skiing affordable when they buy the pass early , get two beds at cheap motel for $125.00 a night , $65.00 for the weekend and gas divided by 4.
The passes have to stay cheap for the single income parents of 4 that don’t get a break on ANYTHING.
Yes I'm being selfish
 

Jwrags

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Anyone who skis regularly and is sentient knows perfectly well that visitor days have increased dramatically over the past decade at least, not only at major ski areas but everywhere.
The data that is available would disagree with this claim. I think that skier visits have increased at certain resorts because of Epic and Ikon but not across the board. In the past 5 years or so I have skied at Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Deer Valley, Park City, Sun Valley, Steamboat, Jackson Hole, Timberline(Mt. Hood), and Mt. Bachelor. I have yet to experience an overcrowded day that is not a weekend, holiday or holiday week, or powder day. At Sun Valley I was there on a holiday weekend (MLK) and it still was not crowded.
 
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