Well, it looks like Vail Resorts has done it again. By acquiring a second Lake Tahoe resort (Northstar at Tahoe) at the beginning of last season, they have inadvertently triggered a season pass price war, very similar to what occurred in Colorado in the early 2000's when they acquired Keystone and Breckenridge in Summit County, CO. In response to the Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, and Tahoe Value Pass, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Alpine Meadows Mountain Resort, and Homewood Mountain Resort have teamed up to offer the "Kirkwood/Alpine Plus" Upgrade to their unlimited passes, allowing skiing and riding at multiple resorts with only the peak holiday periods blacked out. This upgrade is going for $799 as compared with Vail Resort's Epic Pass ($649). In addition, just last week these resorts teamed up again to offer a college version of the Kirkwood/Alpine Upgrade called the "Triple Threat" Pass for $329 for half-time enrolled college students. This type of competition is what has occurred in Colorado between the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus (Copper, Winter Park, 6 days at Steamboat) and the Epic Local Pass (Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, 10 days at Vail & Beaver Creek, Northstar-at-Tahoe, Heavenly)
So what is your take on this? Are season pass price wars a good thing for the ski industry by insuring a steady income stream for the resorts, or do they degrade the guest experience by crowding the slopes with far too many people?