The announcement that discount lift ticket vender Liftopia is filing for Chapter 11 “involuntary bankruptcy” may be a shock to some and its ramifications may not be immediately felt. What it might mean in the long run is anyone’s guess.
According to several news reports, including businessbankruptcies.com, a petition was reportedly filed in California Northern Bankruptcy Court on June 2. Multiple petitioners have surfaced thus far, including Alterra Mountain Company (owner of Stratton and Sugarbush in New England) and Aspen Skiing Company (on behalf of Mountain Collective). The total claims to date are $3 million, citing failure to pay commercial fees. There is a lot of speculations as to why this happened but the early shutdown of U.S. destination resorts probably did not help.
Liftopia was founded in 2005 and it based in San Francisco. It serves consumers as a clearing house for discounted lift tickets at resorts throughout the U.S., Canada, Chile, Switzerland and Japan. A limited number of (mainly larger) resorts also sell “summer passes” on the Liftopia platform.
Liftopia’s closest rival in structure and strategy is GetSkiTickets operated out of Colorado. Resorts that post deals on either site may or may not be affiliated with discount season pass programs such as Epic, Ikon, Mountain Collective and most recently the Indy Pass. Unlike the pass programs, consumers were not required to make purchase decisions months in advance. Inventory and pricing on the Liftopia web site is fluid.
In general, advance lift ticket sales have been sluggish due to the virus ramifications with many consumers taking a wait and see position. The early bird (best) price point deadline for Ikon is June 17, a much later date that in previous years. Epic is giving current pass holders until September 7 (Labor Day) to re-up making amends for the early closes last winter that caused customers to lose ski days. The Indy Pass is not on sale until September. The Mountain Collective web site just says “best prices now”.
Not surprisingly, there is no mention on the Liftopia web site about the Chapter 11 filing.