How early (or late) does a resort need to open to satisfy the passholders when the passholders are the vast majority (if not only) of the skiers on the hill?
With the talk of Squaw scheduling the Alpine Meadows portion of their resort to open on Dec 13..."weather permitting" (which could mean later with no snow or even earlier if they get good early snow) I thought this could be an interesting topic. Where as Alpine used to be it's own entity with it's own pass, this could have been more of an issue but with Alpine being part of Squaw, they will have access to skiing when Squaw opens.
Resorts benefit in selling season passes, they get their money up front with pre season pass sales so while they might not receive significant daily ticket sales, they chose to presell those days in the form of a pass. I have heard the rationalization that pass holders don't spend any other money on the hill i.e. carry lunch or tailgate vs. hit bar. I don't totally agree with that, as pass holders because I am not putting out money every time I come, I will splurge (more often than not) for lunch. In Alpine's case, I don't think Alpine is being treated like a red headed step child but now as Alpine skiers, you get to ski Squaw on your pass. So look at what you are getting vs. what you are not.
This question does go past the Alpine/Squaw conversation especially when we get to the end of the season when resorts are closing with full coverage but limited revenue coming in the gate. Some are limited to operation dates by land leases or the migration patterns of the spotted beaver (or whatever local animal you want to insert). Do they stop operations when the last skier doesn't arrive or it becomes unsafe?
Edited by Philpug - 10/10/13 at 9:13am