Wasatchman

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Link to article is below:

https://www.parkrecord.com/news/bus...-increase-skier-days-in-park-city-and-beyond/

Thoughts/comments as it is another perspective on a recent thread on a Bloomberg article related to Vail/Whistler?

As I have mentioned in other posts, I am concerned that Vail/Alterra may lead to a duopoly in the ski industry which may ultimately be bad for skiers in the long run. Meanwhile, in the short run I am admittedly enjoying the multipass products.

Like the article states, I am expecting IKON will drive increased visitation to Park City/Deer Valley. It will be interesting to see what IKON's impact is on Deer Valley. Alterra is juggling a fine line with Deer Valley in terms of trying to keep all of the things that set Deer Valley apart versus getting a return on their investment for what I presume was a high price that they (Alterra) paid for DV.

I would not be happy as a DV season passholder (which is going up in price next year) to have the extra traffic from the IKON pass. I also view IKON as not good for Snowbird/Alta season passholders as well, but at least they are not raising pass prices next season.
 

pete

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Is traffic at DV very heavy today? I really don't know other than they limit numbers. It may be that the added won't have that big of an affect but offer too extra cash in food/drink sales to the resort to offset costs???

I have no idea, just tossing that out there.
 

New2

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I would not be happy as a DV season passholder (which is going up in price next year) to have the extra traffic from the IKON pass. I also view IKON as not good for Snowbird/Alta season passholders as well, but at least they are not raising pass prices next season.
Wow, $2,365 is the spring discount price? Will Ikon let one person double (or triple) up? Say, buy both a full IKON and the discounted IKON for 12 days each at DV, Alta, and Snowbird for about half the price of a DV season pass?

I'm perplexed at the seeming disconnect in Alterra's approach to seniors. No senior discount on the Ikon. But DV gives 65-71 $1,160 off now ($1,406 off the full price tickets). And even bigger discounts for those 72+. Seems like Deer Valley's leaving a lot of money on the table with their already senior-skewed customer population, and just doubling down on the focus on catering to older skiers/alienating potential younger customers.
 
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Wasatchman

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Wow, $2,365 is the spring discount price? Will Ikon let one person double (or triple) up? Say, buy both a full IKON and the discounted IKON for 12 days each at DV, Alta, and Snowbird for about half the price of a DV season pass?

I'm perplexed at the seeming disconnect in Alterra's approach to seniors. No senior discount on the Ikon. But DV gives 65-71 $1,160 off now ($1,406 off the full price tickets). And even bigger discounts for those 72+. Seems like Deer Valley's leaving a lot of money on the table with their already senior-skewed customer population, and just doubling down on the focus on catering to older skiers/alienating potential younger customers.
I too am perplexed at Alterra's pricing scheme. The locals I do know who are DV passholders are not happy; there isn't really a way to spin it positively for locals.

Perhaps it is a calculated move by Alterra to encourage more destination skiers to DV who spend more on ancillary products while perhaps reducing less profitable locals who ski more often but might be less profitable on other products? Or Alterra thinks they have a good enough product that local season passholders will simply just suck it up.

I am not a DV passholder so I am not the right target market, but one can buy a full blown Epic pass plus another pass to one of the resorts in the Cottonwoods for less than a pass to DV. I sure don't get it. So far I'm less than impressed on Alterra's impact for Utah locals.
 

RJS

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I too am perplexed at Alterra's pricing scheme. The locals I do know who are DV passholders are not happy; there isn't really a way to spin it positively for locals.

Perhaps it is a calculated move by Alterra to encourage more destination skiers to DV who spend more on ancillary products while perhaps reducing less profitable locals who ski more often but might be less profitable on other products? Or Alterra thinks they have a good enough product that local season passholders will simply just suck it up.

I am not a DV passholder so I am not the right target market, but one can buy a full blown Epic pass plus another pass to one of the resorts in the Cottonwoods for less than a pass to DV. I sure don't get it. So far I'm less than impressed on Alterra's impact for Utah locals.
My hunch from skiing at Deer Valley for years is that the demand for Deer Valley passes is less affected by price changes than many other resorts.

For one, Deer Valley has a huge, huge, huge amount of vacation homes and condos both on and off the mountain. You're basically locked into a Deer Valley pass at that point, plus if you can afford a vacation home on or near Deer Valley, you can probably afford the pass.

Second, Deer Valley is a very unique mountain. As a consequence of high pass prices, not having the snow/terrain of nearby competing resorts, not allowing snowboarders, and limiting ticket sales (in that order), it sees less traffic than other Utah resorts. That in itself is worth paying a premium for. The upscale vibe and extensive grooming also set it apart from more hardcore places like Alta or Snowbird, and attracts a different kind of skier.

For the locals, home owners, and destination skiers that frequent Deer Valley, the effect of it being expensive, the short lines and exclusivity, are a huge part of its appeal. Deer Valley doesn't need to cater to penny pinching locals - in fact, locals trying to save money have always been better off at other mountains. For $669 you can get an unlimited pass to Park City with blackouts. It's almost 2K more for a Deer Valley pass!

I agree that the 5 or 7 days at Deer Valley on the Ikon pass is meant to woo destination skiers. You can spend a ton of money at Deer Valley beyond the cost of the tickets, probably more than at most other resorts. The lodging gets as upscale as you could possibly want, the food is incredible. This could just be conjecture, but I get the sense that people who start vacationing at Deer Valley end up going back year after year.

Alta and Snowbird are probably my favorite mountains in Utah for the quality of the skiing, snow, and views. That said, I absolutely love Deer Valley. In March on a powder day, I got to the Empire lift at Deer Valley at 8:45 and got first chair at 9! I had first tracks on 7" of new snow in the Lady Morgan bowl. In contrast, some of my family went to Park City, and waited over 45 minutes in line just to get up the orange bubble chair. It really is less crowded at Deer Valley. And while the terrain isn't as hardcore as at Snowbird, there are still lots of fun, steep runs.

I had my only bad experience at Deer Valley this season where I had my skis stolen at lunch at the Silver Lake lodge. Unfortunately the staff were not very helpful. They kept insisting that someone probably took my skis by mistake and that they would turn up, but they never did (and whoever took my skis also took my 15 year old pair of racing poles, which are very distinctive). After finally agreeing after 3 days that my skis were probably stolen, they gave me a complimentary one day lift ticket. It was a nice gesture, but it didn't even cover the cost of renting skis for the 3 days remaining in my trip. Anyway, other than that I've had nothing but good experiences at Deer Valley.
 
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Philpug

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I understand the desire to limit the access to Deer Valley, IMHO it makes sense. I do agree that Utah skiers are not getting the best value in the Ikon pass. Utah has three resorts on the pass. For $899, Utah skiers get 14 days at Deer Valley and Alta/Bird for $62/day and for $599 they get 10 days combined for $60/day. Sure, on the surface that is pretty reasonable, for a day of skiing at these resorts but pales in comparison to what they get in other regions with many being unlimited access.
 

tromano

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The MCP seems like a better deal for Utahns who want to add on a pass to ski lcc, snowbasin on occasion and chase powder locally. And maybe some short trips to other nearby areas like jackson.
 
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Tricia

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It makes sense for bring visitors to Utah but doesn't make a ton of sense for someone skiing exclusively at any of these IKON resorts in Utah.

From the article:
But a key difference between the two passes is that the Ikon Pass does not allow unlimited access to Deer Valley, Alta or Snowbird. Instead, pass holders are permitted only seven days at Deer Valley and a combined seven days at Alta and Snowbird.

Erik Forsell, chief marketing officer of Alterra Mountain Company, said that Alterra made the decision to limit access to Deer Valley because the company wanted to respect the resort's history of capping the amount of skiers each day.
 

4ster

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I'm perplexed at the seeming disconnect in Alterra's approach to seniors. No senior discount on the Ikon. But DV gives 65-71 $1,160 off now ($1,406 off the full price tickets). And even bigger discounts for those 72+. Seems like Deer Valley's leaving a lot of money on the table with their already senior-skewed customer population, and just doubling down on the focus on catering to older skiers/alienating potential younger customers.
"It's the old man who's got all the money "

From the looks of Squaws parking lot yesterday & lift ride conversations at Alpine earlier this week, the ikon pass is already having an impact on skier numbers. I totally get why DV is keeping the cost of passes high, otherwise they will just end up like every other resort.

As a frequent skier I would gladly pay more to have less skiers on the slopes. I have witnessed the decline of quality in the guest experience at Snowbasin over the past few years with cheap passes & this season with the addition of the MCP. The resort was not designed to accommodate the current clientele but were somehow forced into the mold as the vale influence crept into the industry. :nono:
 
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RJS

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As a frequent skier I would gladly pay more to have less skiers on the slopes. I have witnessed the decline of quality in the guest experience at Snowbasin over the past few years with cheap passes & this season with the addition of the MCP. The resort was not designed to accommodate the current clientele but were somehow forced into the mold as the vale influence crept into the industry. :nono:
I believe the reason Snowbasin decided not to be on the Ikon pass was because they were worried about too much traffic.

For better or worse, the secret about Snowbasin is now out - that it's awesome. Maybe people in Utah already knew that, but as a destination skier, I honestly never really thought about Snowbasin until this season when I got Mountain Collective Pass. I did a day at Snowbasin and loved it. Even though Snowbasin won't be on any passes that I will have for next season, it's now on my radar. Which is probably what Snowbasin's goal was in joining the MCP.

As skier, we often want it both ways: cheap and not crowded. Vail significantly lowered the price of skiing for a lot of people, but their resorts have become victims of their own success. If you can ski during the week, or travel a lot during the season it ends up working out really well for you. Otherwise, you have to join the hordes. As more Utah resorts that join these multi-resort passes (and become more crowded), Deer Valley's strategy keeps on looking better and better.

It's tough too because I selfishly want the mountain to myself, but I also want other people to share the joy and love that I find in skiing. More people at the resort means more people enjoying themselves. Ultimately, I'm happy that there are lots of options out there. If you want to save money, ski at Park City. If you place a lot of value on your time, ski at Deer Valley. Nobody is forcing you to choose one over the other :).
 
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4ster

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As skier, we often want it both ways: cheap and not crowded. Vail significantly lowered the price of skiing for a lot of people, but their resorts have become victims of their own success. If you can ski during the week, or travel a lot during the season it ends up working out really well for you. Otherwise, you have to join the hordes. As more Utah resorts that join these multi-resort passes (and become more crowded), Deer Valley's strategy keeps on looking better and better.
I guess it depends on your definition of success. When snowbasin went through it's huge expansion in the late 90s prior to the 2002 Olympics Mr. Holding's intention was to create a more Deer Valley type experience. It became something entirely different and I am sure he is rolling over in his grave.
 
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Wasatchman

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My hunch from skiing at Deer Valley for years is that the demand for Deer Valley passes is less affected by price changes than many other resorts.

For one, Deer Valley has a huge, huge, huge amount of vacation homes and condos both on and off the mountain. You're basically locked into a Deer Valley pass at that point, plus if you can afford a vacation home on or near Deer Valley, you can probably afford the pass.

Second, Deer Valley is a very unique mountain. As a consequence of high pass prices, not having the snow/terrain of nearby competing resorts, not allowing snowboarders, and limiting ticket sales (in that order), it sees less traffic than other Utah resorts. That in itself is worth paying a premium for. The upscale vibe and extensive grooming also set it apart from more hardcore places like Alta or Snowbird, and attracts a different kind of skier.

For the locals, home owners, and destination skiers that frequent Deer Valley, the effect of it being expensive, the short lines and exclusivity, are a huge part of its appeal. Deer Valley doesn't need to cater to penny pinching locals - in fact, locals trying to save money have always been better off at other mountains. For $669 you can get an unlimited pass to Park City with blackouts. It's almost 2K more for a Deer Valley pass!

I agree that the 5 or 7 days at Deer Valley on the Ikon pass is meant to woo destination skiers. You can spend a ton of money at Deer Valley beyond the cost of the tickets, probably more than at most other resorts. The lodging gets as upscale as you could possibly want, the food is incredible. This could just be conjecture, but I get the sense that people who start vacationing at Deer Valley end up going back year after year.

Alta and Snowbird are probably my favorite mountains in Utah for the quality of the skiing, snow, and views. That said, I absolutely love Deer Valley. In March on a powder day, I got to the Empire lift at Deer Valley at 8:45 and got first chair at 9! I had first tracks on 7" of new snow in the Lady Morgan bowl. In contrast, some of my family went to Park City, and waited over 45 minutes in line just to get up the orange bubble chair. It really is less crowded at Deer Valley. And while the terrain isn't as hardcore as at Snowbird, there are still lots of fun, steep runs.

I had my only bad experience at Deer Valley this season where I had my skis stolen at lunch at the Silver Lake lodge. Unfortunately the staff were not very helpful. They kept insisting that someone probably took my skis by mistake and that they would turn up, but they never did (and whoever took my skis also took my 15 year old pair of racing poles, which are very distinctive). After finally agreeing after 3 days that my skis were probably stolen, they gave me a complimentary one day lift ticket. It was a nice gesture, but it didn't even cover the cost of renting skis for the 3 days remaining in my trip. Anyway, other than that I've had nothing but good experiences at Deer Valley.
Agree, Deer Valley (and Aspen) probably is a lot more price inelastic than just about any resort in the US. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Wow! I am very surprised to hear your skis were stolen at DV! What kind of skis were they? I understand how you'd be super pissed, but if I were staff there I'd definitely initially assume it was an accident as well because that kind of stuff is exceedingly rare. That is too bad.
 
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tromano

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I guess it depends on your definition of success. When snowbasin went through it's huge expansion in the late 90s prior to the 2002 Olympics Mr. Holding's intention was to create a more Deer Valley type experience. It became something entirely different and I am sure he is rolling over in his grave.
Compared to old snowbasin and other UT ski areas I think they succeeded in creating a more deer valley like experience. And they shared it with the local folks. In that it is better than deer valley.
 

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As skier, we often want it both ways: cheap and not crowded. Vail significantly lowered the price of skiing for a lot of people, but their resorts have become victims of their own success.
Interesting, I'd argue Vail has made it more crowded and MORE expensive. Yes, a small group of skier will ski a ton of days and get a good deal but the vast majority will be skiing less than 12 days a year. The real genius of Vail is that size sells and having a joint pass at all Vail areas is no more expensive to operate now than it was before the pass. The huge sales of the pass is clear evidence of that success.

Crowds are definitely up a lot. Stats are proprietary but I'd suspect it's due to median skiers skiing 4 days a year at Vail pre-pass to 8 post-pass (roughly) and more importantly, many more skiers going to Vail each year. (partially due to getting "lock into" the pass the year before)

The biggest trick Vail played is with day tickets up to $200 people think they are getting a deal. Pre-epic pass day tickets were 100 and often had discounts dropping that rate to 80 or so. That $80 mark is what we should use to evaluate the value of the epic pass which equates to 12 days of skiing to be cheaper now than then. Again, I don't think the vast majority of skiers are getting 12+ days in.

There is still value in skiing for average skiers. Pretty much all of Canada but Whistler can be had for under $100 a day. 4 packs to WP, Copper and others are closer to $50/day for a very good ski experience. Utah has several sub 100/day BCC/LCC passes. Just about any smaller ski areas is a deal.
 

LKLA

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Interesting, I'd argue Vail has made it more crowded and MORE expensive. Yes, a small group of skier will ski a ton of days and get a good deal but the vast majority will be skiing less than 12 days a year. The real genius of Vail is that size sells and having a joint pass at all Vail areas is no more expensive to operate now than it was before the pass. The huge sales of the pass is clear evidence of that success.

Crowds are definitely up a lot. Stats are proprietary but I'd suspect it's due to median skiers skiing 4 days a year at Vail pre-pass to 8 post-pass (roughly) and more importantly, many more skiers going to Vail each year. (partially due to getting "lock into" the pass the year before)

The biggest trick Vail played is with day tickets up to $200 people think they are getting a deal. Pre-epic pass day tickets were 100 and often had discounts dropping that rate to 80 or so. That $80 mark is what we should use to evaluate the value of the epic pass which equates to 12 days of skiing to be cheaper now than then. Again, I don't think the vast majority of skiers are getting 12+ days in.

There is still value in skiing for average skiers. Pretty much all of Canada but Whistler can be had for under $100 a day. 4 packs to WP, Copper and others are closer to $50/day for a very good ski experience. Utah has several sub 100/day BCC/LCC passes. Just about any smaller ski areas is a deal.

Even at $80-$85 per ticket at the window, $850 for unlimited / unrestricted skiing still seems like a great deal.

While high ticket window prices can surely make the season pass seem like a good deal, they do not actually influence a high percentage of folks looking to buy a season pass. Studies show that most folks take into consideration the price of the pass itself and their guess on how many days they will ski as the key variables in making a decision to purchase a season pass. Factors that people consider when looking to buy a season pass are where family/friends ski, proximity to their home, expectations for weather/snow conditions, number of days they would like to ski and the cost of the pass itself. How it compares to the window price is not a top concern.

What window ticket prices does do is make-up or offset the season pass economics for the operator, particularly for those skiers who ski 50, 80, 100 or 150 days. While season passes certainly generate revenue (about 25-30% of total revenue), the margin is not always great. Window ticket prices generate much higher margins, as do lessons, rentals, food and even retail.
 
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Seldomski

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Eh, I see a lot of whining. If you want to spend 5 or 7 days at DV, the IKON pass is still a good buy. If I lived in the area, it seems like a no-brainer coupled with an Epic pass of some sort. The IKON should be compelling to many destination skiers and locals alike. Maybe not the cheapest deal imaginable, but it's better than nothing, right?

The DV passes are pretty ludicrous in price. If you bought the big IKON pass, you would get 7 days there. You would need to ski 11 more days at DV to make the ~$2400 pass worth getting. DV is a weird case in general. When I've skied there, it's all kids in ski school or OLD people. The middle demographic has very low representation on the slope. Basically it matches the distribution you'd expect from the pass pricing.
 

Nathanvg

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Studies show that most folks take into consideration the price of the pass itself and their guess on how many days they will ski as the key variables in making a decision to purchase a season pass
Right, they take the number of days variable then multiple by daily rate and compare to pass cost and buy the cheaper option. Many people will say, I'm only paying 160 per day with the pass, what a deal! Only more discerning skiers will know that a very similar experience can be found for 70% less.

The pass also has the benefit that pass owners push their friends to pay the walk up rate. At some point you'd hope those skiers would push their pass friends to come with them to a cheaper place. It would be much cheaper. Heck it would even be cheaper if the non-pass-holder paid for the friend's ticket too.
 

LKLA

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Right, they take the number of days variable then multiple by daily rate and compare to pass cost and buy the cheaper option. Many people will say, I'm only paying 160 per day with the pass, what a deal! Only more discerning skiers will know that a very similar experience can be found for 70% less.

The pass also has the benefit that pass owners push their friends to pay the walk up rate. At some point you'd hope those skiers would push their pass friends to come with them to a cheaper place. It would be much cheaper. Heck it would even be cheaper if the non-pass-holder paid for the friend's ticket too.
They don't even do that.

While many of the folks on PugSki might, skiers in general do not. They "just" look at the pass price and decide weather the $600 or $1,400 is a price they are welling to pay. For the so-called fly-over skiers its basically that simple. For the season-long or drive-to skiers they look at where the season price and also where their family/friends will be skiing, travel from their home, the expectations for snow that season,...

When you look at the top 20-25% of household incomes, convenience becomes a big factor. They don't want to deal with going to the ticket window, standing in line...If they can get their pass mailed to them and maybe load some money on it for themselves and their kids then they will gladly pay extra. And the top 25% account for 50-60% of the revenue for many operators.
 

Nathanvg

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They don't even do that.

While many of the folks on PugSki might, skiers in general do not. They "just" look at the pass price and decide weather the $600 or $1,400 is a price they are welling to pay. For the so-called fly-over skiers its basically that simple. For the season-long or drive-to skiers they look at where the season price and also where their family/friends will be skiing, travel from their home, the expectations for snow that season,...

When you look at the top 20-25% of household incomes, convenience becomes a big factor. They don't want to deal with going to the ticket window, standing in line...If they can get their pass mailed to them and maybe load some money on it for themselves and their kids then they will gladly pay extra. And the top 25% account for 50-60% of the revenue for many operators.
In my experience, skiers are more price sensitive. I think it's new/infrequent skiers who get pushed by their experienced friends to go to the place they have a pass. The new/infrequent skier doesn't know better.

93% of skiers earn more than the median in the US and about 50% earn more than the 20th percentile (100k per household). Paying thousands of dollars extra to have a family ski Vail is a big deal even to 100k households.

Skier income stats from http://www.mrablog.com/explaining-ski-industry-demographics/
 

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