You know things are getting out of hand in the ski industry hand dollar-wise when a prestigious journalist group feels compelled to address the exorbitant rise of single day lift tickets especially on one of the few days when people can even try skiing or snowboarding due to their work schedules. It is expensive enough to take one’s self but think about taking a family of four.
The North American Snow Sports Journalists Association is discussing the fact that a “walk up peak day” ticket” costs $299 at Vail, Beaver Creek, and Park City. What do these three resorts have in common? You are right if you said they all are Vail Resorts properties.
Those three resorts top the list of major resorts that are taking advantage of customers who have limited time and can only ski or snowboard on days that the industry considers “walk up peak days”. Typically, these are holidays and walk up simply means that one walks up to the ticket counter to buy a one-day pass.
Several larger resorts are not far behind the three Vail properties. The majority are out west. Deer Valley is charging $289. Steamboat, Palisades Tahoe and Breckenridge are charging $279. Northstar and Keystone each charge $269. Vail’s Vermont property – Stowe – seem like a bargain at $219.
Last year, in an bold marketing move, Arizona Snowbowl jacked its Peak one day ticket at more than $300 and a week or so later that same ticket cost $75. The industry was “buzzing” when that happened.
Stuart Winchester, founder of The Storm Skiing Journal and Podcast has put together several extensive chart that map out the cost of a peak one day ticket at many major resorts and particularly those owned by the resort conglomerates. He maintains that powerhouse resort operators are deliberately steering people away from the one day, day specific lift ticket and into purchasing a “season pass” that many may or may not really needs and are forced to purchase months in advance.
Storm Skiing Journal is a subscription-based product that offers original and insightful perspectives that delve into some of the more pressing issues facing the ski industry.
Griping about the high cost of skiing and snowboarding is not new. In an article he wrote for Storm Skiing Journal, Winchester makes a good argument for why the situation is a bit out of control plus how and why people are being manipulated into buying the product that they want consumers to purchase.
Buying any type of lift ticket months in advance is dicey if one only skies a few times each winter. It is particularly hard on families who may only have a day or two to ski or snowboard while visiting family in New England during Christmas week which was the case for one family of four from the Baltimore area. They shelled out almost $500 just for lift tickets, not including rentals, for one day at Sugarbush and they had to buy well in advance.
Conditions were icy but they had already paid so felt compelled which resulted in an injury for one member of the family. Yes, accidents can happen even on blue bird days. Fact is, they may not have attempted it at all if they could have waited to see how conditions were on the one day for which they had bought the tickets. Of course, it would have cost more for that walk up peak ticket.