Vail's strategy of acquiring or doing pass deals with smaller local results is brilliant. For the cost of a season pass at the smaller resort, folks get to ski at Vail's destination resorts for free. That pretty much gaurentees if those skiers take a trip it will be to a VR resort.
They did the same thing with the pass deal with Eldora. It's really, really hard for anyone in the Boulder area to justify buying anything but an Epic pass because of the Eldora deal.
It will be interesting to see if they can do the same with Monarch. That would lock in the Colorado Springs market for VR. Resistance is futile.
Vail did studies that showed MN and MI have the highest number of 'vacation skiers' of any state in the country. These are people who travel to another state for multi-day ski trips. Minneapolis has a TON of downhill skiers who hardly ever ski in-state but head to CO 2 or 3 times per year to go skiing. If they can get those people to ski a few times per year at the local resort and still go to a VR location out west they'll make a ton of money.
The Epic pass is $180 more than Afton's normal season pass. So for $180 you get unlimited skiing at any VR location. We're getting this next season when our kids are ready for skiing out west.