There's so much change out there, it's not a dead certainty that day passes will remain static. I recall, pre GFC, seeing the manuals on the trigger points for offering last minute deals, and since then, look at the reciprocal arrangements between resorts that now spans the northern and southern hemisphere.
The Mountain Collective pass for example is trying to shift people back to buying day passes, albeit at 50% off with a pre-purchase of a $350 pass. It's a hybrid to get the early bird cash upfront, lock you in to resorts, and get you thinking 'hey for $50 a day I'll head up this weekend'.
There'll be a sale soon that's like 'free slopeside apartment with kitchen with every day pass' (or vice versa)' i'm sure there'll be 'terms and conditions' :).
I know Australians can get 'ski 14 at Aspen for the price of 8 days'
Other deals try to push you towards affiliate resorts' day passes and lodging like "Ski Mammoth free for 1 lousy day with our season pass coz we know you'll stay longer than 1 lousy day' or 'Ski 4 vallees free for 3 days with a full Epic pass coz we know you won't go to Verbier for 3 days', or "Ski a few free days in Japan with our pass" or "Ski Sass Fee, Val gardene, Are and Lake Louise with a New Zealand resort season pass". There's a 'ski and stay 7 days at Copper or Winter Park deal for NZ passholders: Copper and WP appeal to the first time budget family trip for Kiwis that way, and there's a nice simple 20% off at Corcheval for Mt Buller pass holders.
I think there's greater monitoring of visits and that'll result in discounts (ie 'strewth the season was lousy so lets whip out a 'buy 3 any day passes' for 40% off normal prices' and midweek deals. A couple of lousy seasons ago, our manager offered managers specials that were really appealing.
There's also a shift away from the 'must book early to save' philosophy to the "I'll wait and see if there's snow and to see if I still have a job' philosophy.
There's also groupon deals and www.liftickets.com and the www.Snowbomb.com card to draw the day pass buyers in.
Overall I think we'll be moving into an age where smart beancounters and smart marketers will offer flexible deals quickly to entice the 'short visit non-diehard' people up at the last minute. Now if they really wanted to get people skiing more often for less per visit, they'd get a package deal of older unused ski gear out as part of the deal so people bought gear and learnt how to ski more often for less (and pay more per season than normal).
Edited by veteran - 9/9/12 at 4:02am