Long story is that two local businessmen saved the resort last year, purchasing the whole place in a bankruptcy auction (ski ops, plus the new lodge and waterpark which were built in the last few years at a cost of about $60 million) for about $7M. They spent more money putting in a conveyor loaded quad (touted as "high speed"), new snowmaking capacity, new bar/restaurant, and several other improvements.
They also actually lowered pass pricing from $329 the previous season, and introduced a scaled pricing structure for people buying multiple passes. In local media they proclaimed the new pricing was put in place to support ski families. Both of the new owners are skiers, as are their family members.
My wife and I have had season passes here for the past 12-14 years, and the kids have been passholders for about 9 seasons now I guess. Obviously we expected to see a price increase this year - even a fairly sizeable one - but really not 33%. While the improvements are nice, they haven't been a huge benefit to us -- the "high speed" quad runs slower than the ancient double that it parallels (due to incorrect chair spacing) and stops frequently due to a poor exit ramp, and the bar/restaurant isn't a huge draw for us. The new snowmaking is nice of course. We have heard no details on improvements for next year - the transparency from the new owners seems to have faded away.
So as we discussed that last night, and chatted over the last few days with several of our other friends who are also passholders, we started to kick around the idea of not getting season passes next year, but instead trying to hit a wider variety of ski areas - local ones here in central NY, close but not local areas in the Adirondacks, Catskills, and Vermont, and then a trip out west probably to Utah.
I know the cost for the local part of our season could end up being higher than the season pass price anyway (but maybe not, there are lots of ways to get deals - liftopia, local "coupon" books, etc). On the other hand I think the variety would make for a really interesting season.
I guess my main concern is that without season passes I'm sure we will end up skiing fewer days. But maybe we'll ski longer days too, so total ski time might come out the same.
Is anyone here doing a lot of skiing without a season pass? Anyone gone from being a passholder to a non? What's your thoughts and experience - did you ski a lot less without a season pass?
Greek Peak is about a 40 minute drive for us - so really easy to get to. But with the kids in lots of activities they have only been up about once a week this year - with maybe one or two night skis trips. I tend to get up there a bit more - will probalby had 25-30 local trips by the end of the season. The next closest area is another 30 minutes or so.