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Why do Utah Season Passes cost so freakin' much??

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 

Back home in Spokane, passes would range from $199 (Mt. Spokane) - $650?(Schweitzer).

 

In Colorado, Vail/Colorado passes including 5 mountains + Heavenly are $450-$650

 

Also in Colorado, that Copper/WinterPark/Steamboat pass last time I checked was like $450-$600.

 

In California, I've been paying $279 for Sierra Summit.

 

Why is the cheapest (decent mountain) pass in Utah, $900+???  This would be Brighton I'm speaking of, which is only a tad bigger than Sierra Summit, and smaller than most around Spokane, and way smaller than those Colorado resorts.  I find $995 for Snowbasin, $975 for Park City.  $1100 for Canyons or Solitude.  $1000-$1600 for Alta/Snowbird.  Or $1600 for Deer Valley.

 

What's the deal?  Do they not appreciate their loyal locals?

post #2 of 62

Snowbird Adult Unlimited Tram + Chair Pass (until 9/15/11) = $999

 

Sugarbush Adult Unlimited Pass (until 5/1/11) = $1050

 

Killington Adult Unlimited Pass (until 10/13/11) = $1149

 

Stowe Adult Unlimited Pass (until 10/31/11) = $1353

 

From where I sit, the folks in Utah don't have much to complain about. 

 

I suspect the "premium" resorts in each locale charge what they think the market will bear.  If there are other options that are almost as good, that will tend to limit the amount a "top-end" resort can charge.    Also, I'm sure the ski area owners perform some analysis of day ticket vs. season pass revenues to determine the optimum number of season pass holders, then they set a price that they believe will produce the appropriate number of season pass holders (attempt to maximize total skiing revenues over the season). 

 

STE

post #3 of 62

Utah passes seem like a bargain.  At $1000 the over/under is maybe 15 days.  I would do that every year and never think about skiing anywhere else. Utah has the most reliably good conditions in North America.  I could even ski weekday mornings and still get in a half day of work.

Washington skiing is great when conditions are good, but you can lose a lot of days to rain, fog and/or flat light.  For $1000, I'm buying airfare, not a season pass.

From the ski areas point of view, in Washington they must be thinking that if they don't sell a season pass, they'll get nothing in a poor snow year.  Utah never has a poor year, so if they don't sell a season pass they just sell more day tickets.  I'll bet nobody ever leaves Utah to ski anywhere else.

The real mystery is why is Vermont so expensive and Colorado so cheap?

 

BK

 

post #4 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

Back home in Spokane, passes would range from $199 (Mt. Spokane) - $650?(Schweitzer).

 

In Colorado, Vail/Colorado passes including 5 mountains + Heavenly are $450-$650

 

Also in Colorado, that Copper/WinterPark/Steamboat pass last time I checked was like $450-$600.

 

In California, I've been paying $279 for Sierra Summit.

 

Why is the cheapest (decent mountain) pass in Utah, $900+???  This would be Brighton I'm speaking of, which is only a tad bigger than Sierra Summit, and smaller than most around Spokane, and way smaller than those Colorado resorts.  I find $995 for Snowbasin, $975 for Park City.  $1100 for Canyons or Solitude.  $1000-$1600 for Alta/Snowbird.  Or $1600 for Deer Valley.

 

What's the deal?  Do they not appreciate their loyal locals?



It's the price for having a much lower number of tourists. Utah and Colorado are kinda flipped in prices. Colorado has extremely expensive day passes and cheap season passes while Utah typically has much cheaper day passes with much more expensive season passes.

 

The lower number of tourists means the resorts have to get more money for season pass holders. Colorado has a high number of tourists so tries to encourage the locals to buy their passes so that they will be likely to bring visiting friends to those resorts.

 

Basically it's a difference in market strategy 

post #5 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

The lower number of tourists means the resorts have to get more money for season pass holders. Colorado has a high number of tourists so tries to encourage the locals to buy their passes so that they will be likely to bring visiting friends to those resorts.

 

Basically it's a difference in market strategy 

Utah has way more tourists than Washington.  By your logic Washington would be the most expensive.

Maybe Colorado is cheap because they need to keep the locals happy to prevent them from raising taxes on ski areas, or maybe Utah laws allow a little price fixing.  It seems like there is as much or more competition for your season pass dollars in Utah as there is in Colorado, but prices don't show that.

 

BK

 


 

 

post #6 of 62

I would expect a SLC area resort pass to cost considerably more than a Aspen/Vail/Breck or Steamboat pass simply because the SLC areas are so much more accessible to many more people... hence higher demand.  If there were 1,124,197 people living 20 minutes away from the Colorado resorts and they also had a major hub airport that close the pass prices would be similar.

post #7 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post



Utah has way more tourists than Washington.  By your logic Washington would be the most expensive.

Maybe Colorado is cheap because they need to keep the locals happy to prevent them from raising taxes on ski areas, or maybe Utah laws allow a little price fixing.  It seems like there is as much or more competition for your season pass dollars in Utah as there is in Colorado, but prices don't show that.

 

BK

 


 

 

Well I was just comparing Utah and Colorado but no my logic doesn't apply to Washington because it's a different market. Utah and Colorado both have outstanding skiing. Washington may, I don't know but based on the simple fact that there aren't a lot of people asking whether they should go to Washington instead of Utah or Colorado I'm going to assume it's more comparable to eastern skiing(not saying that is bad). As such due to it's location is in a much different market. It's market is likely much more local and therefore far more dependent upon those limiting factors. If people in Washington have a much smaller demand for skiing then the price will not be as high.

 

On the other hand Vermont is a fairly popular tourist destination for the northeast they are able to dictate their prices more because of the increased demand. They however have to balance their prices versus the price of flying somewhere more ideal. As much as $1300 is it is still cheaper than air fare and is why they still attract the winter homes in that area.

 

Not every market is created equally
 

 

post #8 of 62


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

I would expect a SLC area resort pass to cost considerably more than a Aspen/Vail/Breck or Steamboat pass simply because the SLC areas are so much more accessible to many more people... hence higher demand.  If there were 1,124,197 people living 20 minutes away from the Colorado resorts and they also had a major hub airport that close the pass prices would be similar.


 

There are 2,552,195 people in the metro area of Denver alone and an estimated 4,328,406 in the front range corridor and that doesn't even include the people living in the mountains themselves. I don't think Colorado resorts are hurting for a populatiion demand

post #9 of 62

The under $300 passes weren't always around ya know.  It seems like the season pass price wars started around 20 yrs. ago at the Tahoe resorts.  Many areas vying for the same dollars, as soon one area did it, the others had no choice .  Mammoth jumped in the game early on if you bought early, prolly trying not to loose dedicated SoCal skiers to the Tahoe resorts.  I don't think Squaw dropped their price till just a few yrs. ago.  Colorado got in the game with the ability to offer one price & include a number of areas, again many choices in a small area.  Aren't these cheaper CO passes limited to the I-70 resorts where there are many choices?  I wonder what passes at Steamboat, Aspen or Telluride go for?  I don't know as much about the Washington areas, but I think it is kinda the same.  Like Tahoe, many of the areas battling for the same Seattle dollars.  I would speculate that it began there when Booth Creek bought the summit areas?

 

I think Utah has just been a hold out.  Even though the full price season passes are holding their high prices, I have noticed that many of the areas have drastically expanded their menus to offer other options that weren't available a few years ago, ie. mid week pricing, family passes, pre-paid discount cards etc.

 

Look at Jackson Hole where there is no local competition from other areas, they are able to still get big $'s for a season pass.  I would imagine it is the same for a place like Big Sky or Whistler/Blackcomb.

 

I have no knowledge of eastern areas, so I can't even guess what goes on there.

 

At least that is my theory FWIW.

 

JF

post #10 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

The lower number of tourists means the resorts have to get more money for season pass holders. Colorado has a high number of tourists so tries to encourage the locals to buy their passes so that they will be likely to bring visiting friends to those resorts.

 

Basically it's a difference in market strategy 

 

Mostly wrong - the destination / lodging market in Colorado has been a rollercoaster for the past decade.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by crgildart View Post

If there were 1,124,197 people living 20 minutes away from the Colorado resorts and they also had a major hub airport that close the pass prices would be similar.


Wrong.

 

Simply put, it's the pass wars.  Utah hasn't had them yet.  In 1998 Vail decimated the market in Colorado with the Buddy Pass.  We're on lots of iterations since then, but the basic premise is it's everyone else against Vail in the front range Colorado market.  Vail announces pass prices first, everyone else follows.  Then you have spring strategy vs. fall strategy, it all gets quite complicated.

 

This is just starting to happen in Tahoe.  It'll be interesting watching the market there adapt to the same conditions and they'd do well to learn lessons from Colorado.

 

Utah could likely be next.  It's hard to say how it'll come about though.  I don't think Powdr wants to rock the boat over in Park City.  Boyne doesn't seem savvy enough, Alta.. well.. Alta is Alta.  So, maybe someone like Solitude who has the destination market and a local draw could pull it off.  They already have fairly interesting pass pricing.

 

post #11 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4ster View Post
  Aren't these cheaper CO passes limited to the I-70 resorts where there are many choices?  

 



Pretty much. Full Steamboat/Telluride/Aspen passes are still more than $1K, although there are a lot more options now (weekend/early bird/that sort of thing)

 

The I-70 passes are still fairly ridiculous ... I had three passes last season, with full access to 6 resorts, weekday access to Loveland, plus 10 days at Vail and/or Beaver Creek -- for about $1K. (Oh, and I also skied a day at Purgatory and a day at Silverton gratis with my Loveland pass.) On one hand it seemed a bit indulgent, but on the other, when you think about what a pass for ONE area usually costs ... easy enough to justify.

post #12 of 62

I don;t think the difference in market strategy has much to do with anything external (geography, population, skiing quality, etc).  It is pretty much a free choice for the businesses  whether to go for high price/low volume or low price / high volume, except that when one player starts a price war everyone else in that market has to as well.

 

One exception is places without nearby cities (I'm thinking Jackson Hole, for example) -- there is no reason to sell cheap passes then.

 

Eastern pass prices used to be very expensive ($800 in the early 1980's, when that was real money), then they were very cheap (the ASC mass market years) and now they are expensive again.

 

I think cheap prices are a good business strategy.  If they are cheap enough, people will buy them without firm plans, and a fair number will wind up using them less than the break-even number of days.  There is less motivation to make sure you don't "waste" the money you spent on a pass if it is cheap.

 

It is infuriating to pay full price for 5 days in colorado and realize a season pass is the price of 6 days, though. 

post #13 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post

 

 

It is infuriating to pay full price for 5 days in colorado and realize a season pass is the price of 6 days, though. 


Fewer than that, often.

 

The best deal ever was ABasin's bonus pass back in about 2003 ... it was $169 for a full ABasin pass with 5 days you could use at Breck and Keystone (1 of those at Vail or Beaver Creek). They still sell the pass, but it's about $200 more now. Still a good deal, but damn...

post #14 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post

Simply put, it's the pass wars.  Utah hasn't had them yet.  In 1998 Vail decimated the market in Colorado with the Buddy Pass.  We're on lots of iterations since then, but the basic premise is it's everyone else against Vail in the front range Colorado market.  Vail announces pass prices first, everyone else follows.  Then you have spring strategy vs. fall strategy, it all gets quite complicated.

 

This is just starting to happen in Tahoe.  It'll be interesting watching the market there adapt to the same conditions and they'd do well to learn lessons from Colorado.

 

Utah could likely be next.  It's hard to say how it'll come about though.  I don't think Powdr wants to rock the boat over in Park City.  Boyne doesn't seem savvy enough, Alta.. well.. Alta is Alta.  So, maybe someone like Solitude who has the destination market and a local draw could pull it off.  They already have fairly interesting pass pricing.

 

Why the massive difference in day passes then? I'm just curious

 

Also the best deals in CO are the military passes if your eligible. 180ish for a pass to Keystone and Abasin and then about the same for a pass to Winter Park/Copper with a few days at steamboat too.
 

 

post #15 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

Well I was just comparing Utah and Colorado but no my logic doesn't apply to Washington because it's a different market. Utah and Colorado both have outstanding skiing. Washington may, I don't know but based on the simple fact that there aren't a lot of people asking whether they should go to Washington instead of Utah or Colorado I'm going to assume it's more comparable to eastern skiing(not saying that is bad).

 


The reason people don't go to Washington is because there is very little on/near mountain lodging (and at most ski areas none at all).  I'm not saying the skiing is just like UT and CO, our snow is heavier usually than the interior mts like Utah and Colorado, but we do get a *lot* of it; more than anywhere in the east or anywhere in CO.  If you only consider Mt Baker, more snow than anywhere else in the country.  If you like storm skiing and don't mind flat light, it can be utterly fantastic skiing, comparable to anywhere in the country IMO.  But without destination resorts with lodging, villages, etc., you won't get tourists.  Which is ok by me.

 

But, back to the point, our pricing structure is totally different than a place like UT or CO because we have very few tourists.  We're mostly locals, regardless if we're weekend warriors on a day pass or season pass holders.

post #16 of 62


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post


 


 

There are 2,552,195 people in the metro area of Denver alone and an estimated 4,328,406 in the front range corridor and that doesn't even include the people living in the mountains themselves. I don't think Colorado resorts are hurting for a populatiion demand


Yes, but the overwhelming majority of the Denver area folks live on the other side of Eisenhower Tunnel.  The commute to the Aspen and Breck Area resorts it at least TWICE the travel time of the SLC skiers..  On a powder day it is easily three times if you can get there at all.

 

post #17 of 62
If you think that is bad look at season passes out here in PA. The nearest mountain to me (Sno Mountain) costs $679 for a season pass last season. That is a mountain with 140 acres of terrain, very slow lifts, and is only open from mid-December to sometime in March; yet, it costs more for a season pass there than in Colorado. Given the quality I'd be much more likely to spend the ~$1000 in Utah vs. $700 here because its a much better deal.
post #18 of 62

Collusion? Did they all secretly agree to be comparable in pricing? Dunno.

 

Not sure but other than the Snowbasin/Sun Valley connection, are any of the resorts owned by outside companies that have multi resort passes? Wasn't The Canyons part of the ASC pass ($399-$599 pass) when ASC was still around and since they are not, that might be a reason why the low price pass isn't always the best thing "for the industry". I do agree there should be some sort of resident or local consideration. 

post #19 of 62

I don't think the cheap passes killed ASC, but rather overexpansion on borrowed money.  (Compare to when the Federated / Affiliated department store chains merged and immediately went bankrupt under Campeau.)  Of course, I havent studied the financials, so that is a guess.

 

As for price matching, it doesn't take any active collusion when there are few players in a particular market -- they just watch each other and hope noone gets greedy or desperate.  

 

That reminds me, the other driver for cheap passes that don't make economic sense is short-term cash flow.  It advances more of the season's revenue to the present at the expense of the next quarter.

post #20 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by Philpug View Post

Collusion? Did they all secretly agree to be comparable in pricing? Dunno.

 

Not sure but other than the Snowbasin/Sun Valley connection, are any of the resorts owned by outside companies that have multi resort passes? Wasn't The Canyons part of the ASC pass ($399-$599 pass) when ASC was still around and since they are not, that might be a reason why the low price pass isn't always the best thing "for the industry". I do agree there should be some sort of resident or local consideration. 



If I remember correctly, the primary ASC passes were east only, not everything they owned.  There may have been a nationwide pass, but I seem to remember it was not cheap like the all-east ones.

post #21 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post





Pretty much. Full Steamboat/Telluride/Aspen passes are still more than $1K, although there are a lot more options now (weekend/early bird/that sort of thing)

 

The I-70 passes are still fairly ridiculous ... I had three passes last season, with full access to 6 resorts, weekday access to Loveland, plus 10 days at Vail and/or Beaver Creek -- for about $1K. (Oh, and I also skied a day at Purgatory and a day at Silverton gratis with my Loveland pass.) On one hand it seemed a bit indulgent, but on the other, when you think about what a pass for ONE area usually costs ... easy enough to justify.


Segbrown, I think that the revenue-sharing deals in CO are good for both the locals and for the ski industry (I suspect you might agree with me).  Many of the multi-area passes give you unlimited use at the non-(tourist)destination ski areas, plus some non-holday days at the top destination resorts.  In many ways it's similar to, but better than, an off-peak pass in the East.  Here in the East we can get a ~$200-300 discount for giving up the right to use a season's pass on the Christmas-to-New Years and President's Day weeks.  Instead of giving up the right to ski on the peak days, the locals in CO still get to ski, but not at the resorts that are likely to be crammed with the (more expensive) day pass purchaser holiday tourists.  Also, when considering out-of-town tourist related revenues, don't forget potential lodging revenues.  Unlike locals, out-of-town tourists need a place to sleep.  If the destination resorts are insanely crowded during the holidays, the tourists won't book a return visit.  It seems to me that the locals and the ski areas all benefit from this arrangement.

 

Regarding VT season pass prices--like many others, I suspect they are, in large part, driven by proximity to NYC (including LI and Northern NJ), Boston and Montreal.  Proximity to the NYC and Boston markets (along with terrain quality relative to the competition) should be sufficient to explain why Killington can charge what it does.  However, proximity doesn't fully explain Stowe's season pass prices.  Anyone who can afford a ski house + season pass(es) at Stowe, and who is willing to drive 4.5+ hrs each way to/from from NYC/LI/NNJ to ski each weekend, probably has both the will and the means to go on a couple of out-of-town ski vacations each year, so Stowe should face competition from ski alternatives that require plane travel.  Perhaps a large % of Stowe's season ticket sales are from Montreal, Boston and Hartford.  I'd be curious to hear from the folks that live/work at/near Stowe about where they think most of Stowe's guests come from, and how they think Stowe resort makes its money (sorry if my question qualifies as a thread hijack, which I suppose it probably does).

 

STE

post #22 of 62

That argument doesn't hold water.  Here, a study showed that 65% of our visitors were from the state of Montana ("locals").  Yet, the season pass is just $560 until 9/30.  Airfare not being that cheap, following your arguments they should be charging the locals more.  The "break even" is a mere 9-11 days, depending on how you count a break even.  We have no "competing resorts" to speak of, given the distances in Montana.  Now, it MIGHT be that they've recognized that our w2 earnings here are not that great and they'll lose a huge amount of the local market to snowmobiles or ice fishing or cross country if they raise the rates.  We have no convenient metro area here, unlike Denver and Salt Lake, so they can soak the pockets of the regularly-paid.  I bet it's go more to do with what the local market (within 2 hours say) will bear before they look elsewhere.  I bet it's also them gambling on the competition not breaking ranks.  As long as the Utah resorts act in concert (sort of like the airlines), they'll be able to keep those passes high.  All they need is someone to break ranks and those pass rates will collapse in a heartbeat.  They must all be happy with their crowd numbers.  You'd think a newer resort would break ranks. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post





It's the price for having a much lower number of tourists. Utah and Colorado are kinda flipped in prices. Colorado has extremely expensive day passes and cheap season passes while Utah typically has much cheaper day passes with much more expensive season passes.

 

The lower number of tourists means the resorts have to get more money for season pass holders. Colorado has a high number of tourists so tries to encourage the locals to buy their passes so that they will be likely to bring visiting friends to those resorts.

 

Basically it's a difference in market strategy 



 

post #23 of 62

From what I've seen, the best deals for season pass prices are in the Tahoe region and Colorado Front Range.  Outside of that, its something you just have to strategize for.

 

 

For next season, I'm getting the Epic pass (629) and the Squaw Bronze pass (399) for a total of 1028.00 that seems indulgent, as segbrown so eloquently put it, but a great bargain in comparison to other regions, like Washington and Utah, as it covers Northstar, Heavenly, Squaw, (and maybe AM depending on the legitimacy of the rumors) and still gets me into a ton of great skiing on a few jaunts to Colorado.

 

I only wish my Epic pass would get me into the mt biking at Northstar during the summer too.

The Squaw pass gets access to the Cable Car which leads to some fun times at High Camp.

 

 

post #24 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdf View Post





If I remember correctly, the primary ASC passes were east only, not everything they owned.  There may have been a nationwide pass, but I seem to remember it was not cheap like the all-east ones.


I think you are right, it only included 6 days or something for The Canyons. 

 

post #25 of 62

Elasticity of Demand determines prices in a free market.

The larger the number of serious customers you have within a given geographic market for a limited supply of products... the higher the price for that product will be because it becomes a sellers market instead of a buyers market.  Resorts farther from the mass populations (even only an hour away instead of 30 minutes away) offer lower prices to lure people in to traveling.  Places closer to giant metroplexes have a larger population of potential customers competing against one another for the limited supply product.

post #26 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonewolf210 View Post

Why the massive difference in day passes then? I'm just curious

 


Day tickets in CO are viewed a few different ways: window rates, offsite, promo and multiproduct. They go after different audiences.  I won't get into discounts, in a lot of cases you could think of them as promo tickets.

 

So, window rates are the worst price you'll pay on a ticket.  Aspen sets the pricing on day tickets - they announce first and cap the the high end and everyone else adjusts downward accordingly.  The theory here is to just get the highest price possible for people showing up and there's little incentive to move people to offpeak times.  These are mostly for tourists and daytrippers who don't ski much.  During Presidents Weekend, MLK Weekend and Spring Break these are the primary area of ticket revenue.  

 

Offsite tickets are a much better deal.  Here we start to see efforts to shift people to mid-week or have blackout dates.  It's important to fill in the gaps in the season.  It's also a good channel to push multi-day tickets like "6-packs".  These are for the savvier tourists but we also start to see some locals get those products.  

 

Promo tickets are very targeted offers.   Early and late season are anyone's game and that's why you see a lot of jockeying for position.  If a resort is off the pace for their skier visit number in mid-March, you'll see lots of late season discounts.  Or, if parking is going to be an issue for the weekend, we might see a free lift ticket given out for carpoolers or something.  Or, we might see a $10 lift ticket deal.  Here we start to see more locals get targeted.

 

Multiproduct (or multicomponent, or probably a million other names) are the most complicated.  This is where lift tickets are bundled with other products to make them more attractive.  For example, a deal like "2 night of lodging and lift tickets" or a ski lesson-rental-lift ticket combo.  Lots of markets here.

 

Anyway, so your question was, why the big difference in prices.  So, the almighty number a resort is trying to hit is the skier visit total.  That's followed by some lines of business focusing very heavily on yield.  First, we build the base of skier visits with pass sales - that's why pass numbers are so important, you go into the season with a decent idea how many skier visits you'll get from that group.  Surprisingly, that number doesn't vary too much from year to year.  From there, it gets easy to project offsite and window sales.  From there, promo and multiproduct tickets fill in the gaps to hit the skier visits.

post #27 of 62
Thread Starter 

But I still don't understand.  In all other aspects of business, competition drives prices down.  Usually good for the consumer, bad for the company.  Well Salt lake has more competition with each other than any where else.  Even Colorado, because it's like 10 resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City.  They MUST be in cahoots with each other to keep the pass prices up.  From an outsiders view, the SnowBasin Sun Valley pass seems like the ONLY way to go there.  I can't justify spending $1000+ on a mountain half the size.

post #28 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

But I still don't understand.  In all other aspects of business, competition drives prices down.  Usually good for the consumer, bad for the company.  Well Salt lake has more competition with each other than any where else.  Even Colorado, because it's like 10 resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City.  They MUST be in cahoots with each other to keep the pass prices up.  From an outsiders view, the SnowBasin Sun Valley pass seems like the ONLY way to go there.  I can't justify spending $1000+ on a mountain half the size.


I bet Alta, Snowbird and Solitude dominate the locals market in Utah.  Alta and Snowbird share a pass, and as long as they don't drop prices, nobody has to.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that if they all hold the line, they'll all be better off.  

Colorado is a little different.  If Vail wants to get skiers from Denver, they must figure they need to discount passes enough to justify the drive past Summit County.  Once they do that everybody's prices collapse.  Summit County also has had some recent experience with anti-trust law, going back to when Vail had to divest A-basin.  Maybe they are a little more aware of price fixing because of that.

THe more I think about it, the more Colorado is the outlier, not Utah.

 

BK

 

post #29 of 62
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn View Post


Day tickets in CO are viewed a few different ways: window rates, offsite, promo and multiproduct. They go after different audiences.  I won't get into discounts, in a lot of cases you could think of them as promo tickets.

 

So, window rates are the worst price you'll pay on a ticket.  Aspen sets the pricing on day tickets - they announce first and cap the the high end and everyone else adjusts downward accordingly.  The theory here is to just get the highest price possible for people showing up and there's little incentive to move people to offpeak times.  These are mostly for tourists and daytrippers who don't ski much.  During Presidents Weekend, MLK Weekend and Spring Break these are the primary area of ticket revenue.  

 

Offsite tickets are a much better deal.  Here we start to see efforts to shift people to mid-week or have blackout dates.  It's important to fill in the gaps in the season.  It's also a good channel to push multi-day tickets like "6-packs".  These are for the savvier tourists but we also start to see some locals get those products.  

 

Promo tickets are very targeted offers.   Early and late season are anyone's game and that's why you see a lot of jockeying for position.  If a resort is off the pace for their skier visit number in mid-March, you'll see lots of late season discounts.  Or, if parking is going to be an issue for the weekend, we might see a free lift ticket given out for carpoolers or something.  Or, we might see a $10 lift ticket deal.  Here we start to see more locals get targeted.

 

Multiproduct (or multicomponent, or probably a million other names) are the most complicated.  This is where lift tickets are bundled with other products to make them more attractive.  For example, a deal like "2 night of lodging and lift tickets" or a ski lesson-rental-lift ticket combo.  Lots of markets here.

 

Anyway, so your question was, why the big difference in prices.  So, the almighty number a resort is trying to hit is the skier visit total.  That's followed by some lines of business focusing very heavily on yield.  First, we build the base of skier visits with pass sales - that's why pass numbers are so important, you go into the season with a decent idea how many skier visits you'll get from that group.  Surprisingly, that number doesn't vary too much from year to year.  From there, it gets easy to project offsite and window sales.  From there, promo and multiproduct tickets fill in the gaps to hit the skier visits.

That's al good but it doesn't explain why a day pass at Vail is upwards of $100 or as cheap as say 60 but a pass from Brighton is $62 at the window and ca n be had cheaper.  
 

 

post #30 of 62


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by FujativeOCR View Post

But I still don't understand.  In all other aspects of business, competition drives prices down.  Usually good for the consumer, bad for the company.  Well Salt lake has more competition with each other than any where else.  Even Colorado, because it's like 10 resorts within an hour of Salt Lake City.  They MUST be in cahoots with each other to keep the pass prices up.  From an outsiders view, the SnowBasin Sun Valley pass seems like the ONLY way to go there.  I can't justify spending $1000+ on a mountain half the size.


It's still all about demand.  They charge the seemingly ludicrous price because enough people pay the price.  If enough people aren't paying the price then any collusion will certainly break down and resorts then have to compete.  But, as long as enough people pay what they ask they have no reason to reduce it.  I bet if ten decent 2K vert  resorts somehow popped up within 20 miles of downtown Pittsburgh or Philly they would all get 2K for passes easily.... just because there are that many people with disposable income that love to ski.  Make them over an hour away and the pass price would go way down. 

 

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