Originally Posted by justanotherskipro
...the $834 dollars for the Bronze pass gets you those ten days plus the half day private lesson..... Even at the gold pass level ($789) the total is $1124, or $112 a day...not cheap up front but if you plan on skiing ten or more days a season the per day cost is quite economical...
With the different levels of pass, there's also already quite a bit of choice built-in, with the ability to buy up, or not, based on perceived value. And, someone only planning on skiing two days a year can still not purchase a pass. Athletically, it's pretty clear to me that there's little athletic value to a 2 or 4x/year skier from any type of lesson once they can make it down mellow blues, though other reasons for taking lessons may still be quite valid (the number of days of practice to avoid an early plateau just aren't there at the level of athletic skill). So, the argument that Squaw and others need to worry about lowering the rack rate of their premium lesson product to specifically cater to the most casual or never-ever skiers as a means of helping the sport seems... ?
There is a need, even for a Squaw, to spend a certain amount to acquire new customers, of course. That amount and the best way to get those customers is going to vary from resort to resort, so I think Squaw is well-positioned to figure the best way to do that. Just as Squaw is probably best-positioned to figure out how best to incent passholders.
None of this is at all limited to skiing. Indoor skateparks use many of the same models, including some pretty neat cloud-based customer software, and at a very micro level balance things like lessons, food, passes and memberships, etc. REI has a portion of the same model. The local indoor skatepark doesn't have to allow under-the-table lessons any more than Squaw does (and won't).
Rusty, skateparks also have been known to go for nice couches, food, and other "premium" ways to get more business. So, while I can't read the article you linked about Squaw, I infer it's saying Squaw went up-market as a means to win more business -- and yeah, that makes sense.
I also infer that you subscribe to the WSJ, and so have access to the article. Capitalist!
At the level of the individual instructor, there's a similar issue on the loyalty front, in that repeat privates are actually worth more to the instructor over the long term than just random ones. They generate their own advertising and tend to repeat in future years rather than the instructor starting each year at a complete zero. The repeat nature of the business also affords the instructor the info to give more value-added than is possible in some cases for a first lesson. The way of the world.