OK, how about if I don't have a lift ticket but I only get on chairs that would otherwise go up empty or partially filled? Who am I harming? How am I stealing?
How about when I pull up next to two or three people who are about to board a quad and as I enter the loading zone they hang back because they don't want to share their smoke with me? I ride alone and the liftline becomes 5 seconds longer. Who's at fault? Who should go to jail? Who cares?
Force a change to the "per lift ride" model and ski areas effectively turn into toll roads. No thanks. Certainly wouldn't benefit most of the members of EpicSki!
You can't have it both ways. You can't simply consider the cost of hauling a skier up the mountain in the business model! There are lease fees, labor throughout the resort, maintenance of buildings and equipment, snowmaking, and more that all go into the P&L model and have to work in order for the resort to stay afloat. And ski resorts are not highly profitable businesses, but do ok (23.5% profit overall in 2008/09 according to NSGA: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs047/1101981701899/archive/1103383938650.html, for comparison, Apple was 40.3% this past quarter). Their profits are highly volatile based on weather, fuel costs, and other variables.