Originally Posted by skiNEwhere
how the little guys like Ski Granby Ranch or Ski Cooper survive.
Ski Cooper was in much worse shape in the 1990's- before the season pass revolution. Since then they have made enough profit to pay off their debts and now the controversy is whether or not to expand.
Actually, ski Copper may prove the point I was making. They are profitable now because $130 day passes at Vail allow them to sell their day passes at about 1/4 of that- which allows a much better margin than when they were getting crushed to death by Breck and Vail with $30 tickets.
Now that the dust has settled, most small ski areas in Colorado are doing quite well- because they have plenty of room to set a profitable price without having Vail and Breck tickets within $10 of what they need to break even.
Cooper will always be a price taker- If they need to significantly raise prices to cover their costs, tough. They can't. The choice is to operate with less profit or don't operate.
This is why I don't see that splitting up resorts would make prices go up because revenue goes down. When competition increases, a firm's ability to set prices decrease. The skiing market is already a market where most firms are price-takers. Even places, like Copper, Winter Park, and Steamboat are very limited in how much they can raise prices- if they get too close to Vail, they will lose more money than they take in from a price increase.
Doubling the number of firms would probably remove Vail's ability to be a price maker and move them to price taker. Revenue may go down, but that doesn't mean resorts would have any ability on their own to increase price- they would have less ability than today.