Lift ticket $ Insanity

RJS

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@raytseng made this point earlier, but the times are changing and it is past time that we get rid of the idea that skiing is an exception to forms of entertainment and expect that you can show up last-minute on a busy day without doing prior research and be charged a reasonable rate. We don't expect this for showing up at an airport, or a major sports stadium, or a concert venue. Even things like semi-popular restaurants in cities or camping in a popular area are becoming harder to do walk-ups for and increasingly require advance reservations.

Increasing climate variability combined with an increasing number of skiers at many ski areas at certain times such as weekends and powder days (I understand that overall visitation numbers are relatively flat, but certain regions especially out west are seeing increases, and by-day crowding variability has likely increased with the proliferation of more accurate and accessible snow forecasting, easier powder skiing equipment, and multi-resort passes) mean that the old model makes less sense today than it did in the past. The model has changed, and like it or not people need to adapt. The cost of a single-day walk-up ticket gets talked about a lot, but is far from the most relevant metric when it comes to the cost of the sport.

The barriers to information on how to ski affordably have never been lower. Yes, Arizona Snow Bowl charged over $300 to ski on the Saturday of MLK weekend but if you look on their website you can also find weekday tickets next month for just $35! If you are willing to book tickets for March, there are even plenty of $29 tickets. It is still possible to ski affordably, but you can't do it by expecting to put in no effort into researching where to go, when to go, and where the good deals are.

For anyone skiing more than a few days, some of the big multi-resort passes give people great costs per day of skiing. The Ikon Base, Epic Local, Indy, and others are reasonably affordable (and some include college, military, and first responder discounts). For people doing fewer days of skiing, buying lift tickets in advance often leads to great savings, as evidenced by the Arizona Ski Bowl numbers above. There are also plenty of local, independent ski areas that charge less than the big guys. You're going to save money and still have a great time by skiing at Magic over Stratton, or Mount Hood Ski Bowl over Mount Hood Meadows, or Bogus Basin over Sun Valley. For people learning or just starting out in the sport, there are beginner tickets and packages that offer reasonable prices and limit you to the beginner areas. These smaller mountains are also great choices for people learning. Unless you're an expert skier who probably skis many days per season and should have an Ikon Pass, you'll still have a lot of fun at Snow King or Grand Targhee compared with Jackson Hole.
 

tball

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I have what's likely to be a unpopular opinion. IKON and Epic passes need to triple in price. Convince me I'm wrong.
Making all the CO front range areas only five days on the IKON Base Pass (like A-basin) would be an incremental improvement that could help with crowds. Shrinkflation rather than raising the price.

I wonder if the economics of Alterra's scan payments to POWDR for Copper and Eldora might, hopefully, force this to happen at some point.
 

wooglin

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Tempted to start a thread on resort vs. ski area (vs. ski hill), but I'm sure we've already got one somewhere. On this board we mostly talk about large resorts, which are stupid expensive in my book. I ski at resorts (Killington is only an hour away) only as a special occasion. The rest of the time I'm at something much smaller than that. Still skiing, but spending significantly less money. I think the industry has plenty of variety to offer, but skiers have unreasonable expectations.
 

Andy Mink

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thread on resort vs. ski area (vs. ski hill)
Resort= lots of amenities including lodging.

Area= some amenities like food and drink, no lodging.

Hill= you're lucky if there's a restroom.
 

coskigirl

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slow-line-fast

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it is past time that we get rid of the idea that skiing is an exception to forms of entertainment and expect that you can show up last-minute on a busy day without doing prior research and be charged a reasonable rate.
You know that weather is variable? My prior knowledge points in that direction. Ski conglomerates are happy to pass that risk off to customers, and there seem to be many other customers who criticise other customers for expecting that if conditions look good a few days out, they shouldn't be fleeced.
 

4aprice

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@raytseng made this point earlier, but the times are changing and it is past time that we get rid of the idea that skiing is an exception to forms of entertainment and expect that you can show up last-minute on a busy day without doing prior research and be charged a reasonable rate. We don't expect this for showing up at an airport, or a major sports stadium, or a concert venue. Even things like semi-popular restaurants in cities or camping in a popular area are becoming harder to do walk-ups for and increasingly require advance reservations.

Increasing climate variability combined with an increasing number of skiers at many ski areas at certain times such as weekends and powder days (I understand that overall visitation numbers are relatively flat, but certain regions especially out west are seeing increases, and by-day crowding variability has likely increased with the proliferation of more accurate and accessible snow forecasting, easier powder skiing equipment, and multi-resort passes) mean that the old model makes less sense today than it did in the past. The model has changed, and like it or not people need to adapt. The cost of a single-day walk-up ticket gets talked about a lot, but is far from the most relevant metric when it comes to the cost of the sport.

The barriers to information on how to ski affordably have never been lower. Yes, Arizona Snow Bowl charged over $300 to ski on the Saturday of MLK weekend but if you look on their website you can also find weekday tickets next month for just $35! If you are willing to book tickets for March, there are even plenty of $29 tickets. It is still possible to ski affordably, but you can't do it by expecting to put in no effort into researching where to go, when to go, and where the good deals are.

For anyone skiing more than a few days, some of the big multi-resort passes give people great costs per day of skiing. The Ikon Base, Epic Local, Indy, and others are reasonably affordable (and some include college, military, and first responder discounts). For people doing fewer days of skiing, buying lift tickets in advance often leads to great savings, as evidenced by the Arizona Ski Bowl numbers above. There are also plenty of local, independent ski areas that charge less than the big guys. You're going to save money and still have a great time by skiing at Magic over Stratton, or Mount Hood Ski Bowl over Mount Hood Meadows, or Bogus Basin over Sun Valley. For people learning or just starting out in the sport, there are beginner tickets and packages that offer reasonable prices and limit you to the beginner areas. These smaller mountains are also great choices for people learning. Unless you're an expert skier who probably skis many days per season and should have an Ikon Pass, you'll still have a lot of fun at Snow King or Grand Targhee compared with Jackson Hole.
Very well put, so much I agree with here. Your right that skiing is actually a pretty good deal, when compared to other forms of entertainment such as Broadway shows, major sporting events and big Concerts most which only last a couple of hours.

We are experienced skiers, we have Ikon passes plus a seasons pass to a local mountain here in the Pocono's but if someone asked me about starting up the sport I would not point them in the direction of the larger resorts to get them going. As a matter of fact and I realize not everyone can do this but here in the NY/NJ area I would take them indoors to start them off.

The biggest problem is retention. I taught a couple of seasons back in the late 80's. Even back then the talk was that you can get the new skier to go one time with a lesson but the real trick was/is getting them to return. That percentage is super low.
 

crosscountry

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The biggest problem is retention. I taught a couple of seasons back in the late 80's. Even back then the talk was that you can get the new skier to go one time with a lesson but the real trick was/is getting them to return. That percentage is super low.
Pico used to have a program for never evers. At the end of the "usual" 1 day lift/rental/lesson package, you can upgrade it to a 3 day package which, when you complete it, you get a season pass for free!

My xc ski center also did that. But the pandemic put that to rest.
 

RobSN

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Out of curiosity-what would be the price for a season pass for those places with 300$ lift ticket?
I spent $213 last April (so good price for early purchasers) for this season's Monday to Friday old fart (>62 I think was the cut off) at AZ Snowbowl, and admittedly the loony $309 pass was at the weekend - but my AZ Snowbowl buddies and I would never dream of going there on the weekend - it is always waaaay too crowded.
 

tball

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They would all go to Vail mountains. Is that what you had in mind? "Save" Copper and Winter Park from the masses? ogwink
Absolutely! I'd like to see IKON as a premium product over Epic, and I'm happy to pay for the privilege.

IKON has always been more expensive, hasn't it? I'd prefer IKON continue to increase the price, increase blackout days, and reduce the unlimited ski areas until Winter Park and Copper's overcrowding on weekends and holidays isn't an issue.

One of the key IKON value props has always been it doesn't have the Epic overcrowding, and IKON should work to maintain that positioning, IMO.
 

mikel

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They would all go to Vail mountains. Is that what you had in mind? "Save" Copper and Winter Park from the masses? ogwink

Too late to save Copper, at least on Sat. If you want a crowd free experience then ski during the week. Forget Saturdays or holidays. The only way to help Sat. would be to put a reservation system in place. If you are staying at Copper avoid the lower mountain and Timberline and you won't be in crowds.

You mention Pico but I'm not sure if it's your home mountain. I think he wants it to be more like that. Limit the number of days for Ikon passes. Like Pico, Copper is only a partner but has no restrictions or limitations. Not sure why but if you check other well known Powdr resorts like Snowbird, Mt. Bachelor, or even Killington-Pico they all do.

Winter Park gets mentioned with Copper a lot. Winter Park is a different situation than Copper. They are controlled by Alterra.

Sorry, definitely struggling with the whole skier visits are flat. At least for Copper. I think the combination of people moving here, people bailing on Epic, and Ikon are driving visits up. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see visits up by at least 12% this season.

:beercheer:
 

tball

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Too late to save Copper, at least on Sat.
Then, let's retreat and retrench to save Sunday!

Glad to see Copper has joined the walk-up price insanity, at least. $249 for Copper day ticket over the holidays, crazy!

Eldora should be saved too.
 

crgildart

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Serious question to all. How many days would you likely IF there was NO MULTI RESPORT PASS OPTION AVAILABLE for any resorts within 200 miles of your front door?

Would you buy the local pass for ONE resort?

Or, would you pay day ticket rates at several nearby resorts?

This is my situation..
 

crosscountry

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Like Pico, Copper is only a partner but has no restrictions or limitations. Not sure why but if you check other well known Powdr resorts like Snowbird, Mt. Bachelor, or even Killington-Pico they all do.
I'm not an industry insider so I have no idea as to the "why".

Copper was actually my "home" mountain for many years. Home away from home that is. (my true home is in the east coast, but I don't ski much in the east these days, climate change made that entirely unpleasant). So I remember distinctly when Ikon was created. It replaced the Rocky Mountain Super Pass (+ too). That pass was what everyone who's not on Vail pass had. Unlimited in Copper/WP/7-day at Steamboat.

For a lot of the Front Rangers, Copper had long been the refuge from Vail. If Copper goes limited, a good portion of the Copper people would go to Vail. The rest would probably jam up Winter Park. (then it wouldn't be much of a "refuge" any more, would it?)
 

crosscountry

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Serious question to all. How many days would you likely IF there was NO MULTI RESPORT PASS OPTION AVAILABLE for any resorts within 200 miles of your front door?

Would you buy the local pass for ONE resort?

Or, would you pay day ticket rates at several nearby resorts?

This is my situation..
It depends on how much the season pass vs day ticket works out.

I never in my life bought a single mountain season pass. The first pass I bought was Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus, which had 4 mountains on it.

But back in those days, there were all sort of discount schemes to hunt down. Theses days, all of them had been eliminated.
 

fatbob

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I'd be interested in how far people would be prepared to go in preserving their "home" areas. Max season ticket available being a 10 day punchcard? 20 day? Because the more days you'd like the more it will satisfy the drive ups too.

Or is it just they'd be prepared to pay 50/100% more because they get to amortize so many days? What is the profile of the skier they want to eliminate?
 

4aprice

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Serious question to all. How many days would you likely IF there was NO MULTI RESPORT PASS OPTION AVAILABLE for any resorts within 200 miles of your front door?

Would you buy the local pass for ONE resort?

Or, would you pay day ticket rates at several nearby resorts?

This is my situation..
I would and still do buy a seasons pass to my local mountain. Its the only way for me to get in the amount of days I want on the boards

My skiing habits would be mostly the same as they are now just more limited as to locations. We used to "shop" for deals, BOGO's etc., stop at ski shops for discounted tickets, used 4th and 5th grade passports pretty much any discount we could find. We had some interesting trips doing that way and have some great memories of some less traveled ski areas.

Fast forward to today. Empty nesters and along with the local pass we have Full Ikons. So much better. Its paid for in April. Travel options galore, I don't know if I ever would have gone to Steamboat before Ikon but been there a couple of times now because of it. People including my son who lives in Colorado, and my BIL with a place in Utah have the same pass and we can all ski together. And that's not only in the west but back here on the east coast as well.
 

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