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Save the Jackson Hole Tram! A Poll

Poll Results: Would You Spend $20,000 for a lifetime lift ticket?

 
  • 2% (1)
    I sure would! Let me know when they start to sell them.
  • 11% (5)
    I might actually consider it.
  • 27% (12)
    Given the time value of money, I don't think it makes sense.
  • 58% (25)
    Are you completely insane????
43 Total Votes  
post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
As the debate about closing the tram rages on, one idea has surfaced that I think is pretty interesting.

Benny Wilson (one of the prime instigators of the Jackson Hole Air Force cult and also the son of the man who founded and built the Hostel in Teton Village) threw out an idea. If the tram costs $20 million to build, what if the ski corp tried to sell 1,000 lifetime passes for $20,000 each?

$20,000 X 1,000 = $20 million

Problem solved.

Would you ever consider spending $20,000 to ski for "free" at your favorite area for the rest of your life?
post #2 of 21
The idea is interesting, but probably not realistic. For the sake of argument, let's say that the present value of a one year season's pass over the next 20 years is $1000. (You could probably buy one this year for about $900, and it will cost more in the future). This means that one must ski 20 years to brake out even. Most people who would be interested in this type arrangement would be parents of teenage children or people in their 20s to maybe mid-30s. The problem is how many young people have that kind of dough to lay out at that age? On the other hand, what a great gift to give to your child!!! Perhaps, there can be a way to make the donation tax deductible (like the limited edition season's pass valid at all US ski areas sold by the US Ski Team for $5000-$10,000/yr.). Maybe, rich Wyoming hardliners and other interested parties can put together a string of fund raisers to raise the money. IMHO, donations coupled with perks seem to be the direction to explore.

P.S.: For $20K, I would consider buying a lifetime family lift ticket. (Husband/Wife/Children)
post #3 of 21
That is almost EXACTLY how Jiminy Peak, here in Western Mass got started -- well over 30 years ago now. The dollars weren't as greatand it was equity capital which gave the original batch(s) of investors life time family skiing. Brian Fairbanks tried to recall the shares in the late 80's or so (Paul Jones --help!!)---never found out if that effort was successful or not.

For all I know, there are still folks skiing on those original shares---30 odd years later.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canyons
...

The idea is interesting, but probably not realistic. For the sake of argument, let's say that the present value of a one year season's pass over the next 20 years is $1000. (You could probably buy one this year for about $900, and it will cost more in the future)...
Your point is well taken and perhaps Jackson Hole is somewhat unique in this regard. Our season ticket prices are quite high relative to most of the rest of US ski areas (I think, anyway, but I could be wrong).

This is a particularly interesting idea to me because of my own situation. By an incredibly lucky twist of fate, my wife and I were able to get lifetime passes at Jackson Hole 31 years ago.

So, let me add a few observations to the discussion:

* In 1974 (when we got our passes), a season lift ticket at Jackson Hole cost $275. Today, an adult unlimited season pass at JH costs about $1,650.

* In the mid-70's, about 225 total lifetime passes had been issued by the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. I knew a pretty good share of them and we would see a high percentage of them skiing on a regular basis.

* Of those original 225 passholders (the passes were not transferable once you had used yours), there are probably only 6 to 10 that I still see with any regularity today. Most of *those* are in their 30's and 40's and are people whose parents bought the passes when the kids were very young. Most of the rest of the original passholders have died, moved away, quit skiing, whatever.

So, if you're the ski corporation, selling a lifetime lift ticket is kind of an intriguing idea. You have a bunch of freeloaders (lift riders who aren't paying any fees year to year) in the near term, but gradually those numbers keep dwindling. I would be willing to bet that there's probably about a 5% per year attrition rate after about 5 years.

If you're a fairly young (and you have money or your parents do ) a purchase like this can look like a brilliant idea after a few years.
post #5 of 21
How about this for an idea. The Ski Corp. bucks up and builds a new tram.

Problem solved.

Asking for government (Federal $$$ is Bullshit). If the good people of Wyoming wish to subsidize the ski corp. that is their donut.
post #6 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bunion
How about this for an idea. The Ski Corp. bucks up and builds a new tram.

Problem solved.

Asking for government (Federal $$$ is Bullshit). If the good people of Wyoming wish to subsidize the ski corp. that is their donut.
I still vote for bull$hit, but If we can't get congress to foot the bill, this is a good idea. Jackson Hole is home to a lot of people who would never miss 20000. 1000 rich people can pay for a new tram. I'm not able to help at this time.
post #7 of 21
It just doesn't make much sense for either side. ....Mainly because a Tram costing $20,000,000 is a terrible waste of about $10,000,000 to solve a problem of this nature.





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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by telerod15
I still vote for bull$hit, but If we can't get congress to foot the bill, this is a good idea. Jackson Hole is home to a lot of people who would never miss 20000. 100 rich people can pay for a new tram. I'm not able to help at this time.
T-Rod:

I'm assuming you missed one of the zeros as a typo...

I don't want to be especially strident on this, but given the un-bee-ducking-lee-va-bull amounts of money that are built into various federal subsidy programs, why is helping pay for a tram so wrong?

Here are just a few subsidy programs that dwarf (as in Jupiter versus Pluto) the amount of money we're talking about:

Energy subsidies - wind, solar, methane coal bed, gas & oil exploration, ethanol, yadda, yadda.

Military base subsidies - can't close a base in Xxxx's congressional district.

Agricultural subsidies - let's see, can you name an agricultural commodity in the US that isn't heavily subsidized to the tune of billion$?

Medical subsidies - don't even get me started.

AND THE GRANDDADDY OF THEM ALL:

Tax subsidies for homeowners - what is the mortgage interest tax deduction but a subsidy transferred from all taxpayers to those of us who buy a home with a mortgage?

Cheers.
post #9 of 21
Interesting idea. If they sweetened the pot a bit (membership privs around the mountain), I bet it would go.
post #10 of 21
Lifetime line cutting privileges & some form of transferability/lendability & it starts getting interesting...
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
T-Rod:


Energy subsidies - wind, solar, methane coal bed, gas & oil exploration, ethanol, yadda, yadda.


Cheers.
Bob, don't even get me started on ethanol subsidies. They cost every single person a couple dollars (in states with ethanol mandates of any kind) each and every time the fill up their vehicles, AND they do absolutely nothing, nada, zilch, to improve either dependence on foreign oil, or air polution.

Nothing. Its all hype, false truths, and malicously fake advertising by the ethanol industry (including such coporate giants as ADM) and grain farm lobbyists.

If anybody wants to argue this point with me, don't bother. I am right, you are wrong. I live in Iowa and I hate ethanol. I apologize to the world for our lobbyists and congressman and senators who are completely bought out and trying to ruin your gas, destroy your road tax money, and otherwise rob good money out of your wallet in order to subsidies the purchase of raw corn, most of which was grown because of subsidies in the first place, which causes the price to be artificially low so the figure they will screw everybody on both ends.

$20 million for a new tram? Doesn't seem out of reach to me. How about just selling tram tickets like they did in the eighties and early nineties? $5 bucks a ride or something. Thats close to $20,000 per day and with a four month season something over $2,000,000 a season, plus or minus whatever fee you charge, skier numbers, bad math, etc... Seems like you could pay for it in 15 years or so that way just on the fees alone, plus summertime traffic, lift ticket sales, it would seem to be no problem to buy and pay off a tram even sooner than that, or am I way off base?

I'd pay the $5 if it meant slightly shorter wait times and it is sure a lot better than no tram at all.

nate
post #12 of 21
Hey Bob, when you talk about subsidies you are right about 1 thing. Everybody is doing it. In the recent Highway bill, Bozeman will get 1.5 million for their new Library... WTF?

No wonder we run such a high deficit. Lets not make it worse. 20 Mil. is a drop in the bucket against what we spend every day in say... Iraq.

It is still the wrong thing to do.

JH already operates on USFS land, they need a new work truck for Mtn ops, the corp. should buy it. They need a new Tram, same thing.
post #13 of 21

Have a Revival

Bob, my suggestion is to get KYNF on the bandwagon. They seem to provide no useful purpose right now IMHO and are very good in instilling fear and emotion into an issue without factual basis.

Get Jerry Spence and his elk skin coat to throw up another frivolous lawsuit, have him get on Larry King via satellite from his Singing Trees Ranch, and have him explain to all of the world what a travesty it is that the Kemmerer family is shutting down the tram and that the town of Jackson Hole will dry up if a solution isn't found.

At KYNF's first public meeting on 08/24/99 (think of the "Church Scene" in the movie the Blues Brothers - James Brown, Jake & Elwood Blues, etc.), they were able to generate over $500,000 in 30 minutes. Harrison Ford personally wrote a check for $50,000, as did several others. Numerous other checks came in that night for $7500, $10,000, and $25,000.

My point is (all sarcasm aside), Teton County Wyoming is one of richest, if not THE richest counties in the NATION. Obviously, there are those with more money than they know what to do with it (more money than brains), so get some of those people to donate, plaster their names all over the side of the new trams, and give them and their families transferable lifetime passes and be done with it.

If not, be ready to hike to the summit. Much less Darwinism (stupid people dying) would happen.

HB
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 

Another way to look at it...

Okay, those of you who have answered "Are you completely insane", how may of you buy lift tickets or season passes as opposed to receiving a pass because of a mountain job? How many of you ski 40-140 days per season?

I went to the Alta website to look up the price of their season pass. Alta seems to be the place that many, many folks on this board consider the ultimate mecca of skiing in the US (or North America... or the world, for that matter).

An adult season pass for 2006 is $899 if purchased in the next few weeks.

Going back to my Jackson Hole math, if a season pass is $1,650 and if (which they're not, but if) you could buy a lifetime pass for $20,000, it would take you 12.12 years to "break even". (I know that ignores the lost opportunity cost of interest on the $20k. So sue me. It also ignores any possible increases in season pass prices as those years go by)

So, back to Alta. If Alta suddenly announced that for $10,896 ($899 X 12.12) today, you could have a season pass and never pay another penny to ski there for the rest of your life, would you do it?

How much do you think an Alta season pass might cost 13 years from now?
post #15 of 21
Alta vs. JH ...
$10-11K vs. $20,000.
Without even considering which area is preferable to me, the $ difference is significant (just about double). I would be much more interested in it for my 6 and 9 year old kids, than me.
post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Benny Wilson (one of the prime instigators of the Jackson Hole Air Force cult and also the son of the man who founded and built the Hostel in Teton Village) threw out an idea. If the tram costs $20 million to build, what if the ski corp tried to sell 1,000 lifetime passes for $20,000 each?
How about a lifetime tram pass for $1, 000 (question, do you still have to buy separate tram tickets from your pass/ticket?)
post #17 of 21
I don't understand how a major western destination ski resort in the richest county in the US can't afford to upgrade or replace their signature tram. New Hampshire is the most frugal state in the union (believe me NH is cheap) and they can afford to maintain and upgrade a tram at Cannon Mtn (the original was from 1938). Jay Peak that has about 1/10 of 1% of Jackson Holes business is able to maintain their tram (circa 1960) in the boonies of northern Vermont. Yes these trams travel about half the verticle elevation of the Jackson Tram (about 2,000 feet), but the ski areas are tiny in comparison and rely on weekend business to get by.
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Okay, those of you who have answered "Are you completely insane", how may of you buy lift tickets or season passes as opposed to receiving a pass because of a mountain job? How many of you ski 40-140 days per season?
Well I'll qualify my reasoning, I make about 17k per year gross, so posed with the poll question, what other answer than "are you completly insane?" could I honestly give? However, if I lived in Jackson, and had enough disposable income, considering how I feel about skiing, I'd be all over it.
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters
Okay, those of you who have answered "Are you completely insane", how may of you buy lift tickets or season passes as opposed to receiving a pass because of a mountain job? How many of you ski 40-140 days per season?
I'm one of those who answered "completely insane." I spent a season at Jackson about 17 years ago; nothing I loved better than standing in line for an hour and a half to ride the tram, especially since it was the only way to get to the top of the mountain that year.

Now, I teach fulltime, with over 100 days a year on skis, don't have much time to ski between teaching and taking clinics. Probably only free-skied 15 days this year.

So, to answer: I get a free season pass, with free/low cost tickets elsewhere.

I ski about 110 days a year
post #20 of 21
Treble Cone is now owned by a skiers and local business people. A private shareholding of $25K gets you a seasons pass every year. So for a similar investment (ignoring exchange rates) in NZ you get your seasons pass as a dividend on your investment. Probably a better deal that JH cause if all goes well you get your investment back in the future. The ticket price this year is a whopping $89, but it has not stopped people coming. Seems to be just as busy as ever, but I have noticed there are no hitchikers this year... they are going to the other mountains that have kept their price down.

Gulp.... $70 a day at JH translates into a lot of NZ dollars, over $100.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Talisman
I don't understand how a major western destination ski resort in the richest county in the US can't afford to upgrade or replace their signature tram. New Hampshire is the most frugal state in the union (believe me NH is cheap) and they can afford to maintain and upgrade a tram at Cannon Mtn (the original was from 1938). Jay Peak that has about 1/10 of 1% of Jackson Holes business is able to maintain their tram (circa 1960) in the boonies of northern Vermont. Yes these trams travel about half the verticle elevation of the Jackson Tram (about 2,000 feet), but the ski areas are tiny in comparison and rely on weekend business to get by.

Totally concur. My guess is that the JH people must be letting down the public with a tram closure warning just to build up anticipation for some sort of replacement lift(s) that they will announce in a year or two. I just can't see them letting a number of years go by without lift served access to the current summit of Rendezvous Peak. It would be a mistake on par with the replacing of Classic Coke for New Coke.
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