Originally Posted by JohnH
I think the comparison to greens fees is valid, except that I can walk onto a decent local muni course and play a round for $30-$35. I don't know of ANY ski resorts that you can do that at without a season pass. Golf has a HUGE range of prices. about $30 at the low end to over $400 at the high end. Lift ticket prices are fairly consistant. About $50-$80 (window price).
Walk up to the window at A-Basin with 4 of your buddies and you can buy an all day lift ticket for $35 any day of the season. No coupons, no multi-day - just 4 people present (present, NOT buying, just there - only one person can purchase a ticket if they want). It's their car-pooling discount - 4 people ride in one car = $35 lift tickets for anyone that needs them.
I also think that golf is a pretty good analogy. "Game," "sport," "elitist," "non-elitist," whatever - it's an entertaining outdoor recreational activity that people pay money to do. Some people call golf elitist because it's expensive - $125 for 4 hours at a good local course, $2,000 in equipment, lessons, etc yeah it's expensive. But of course, the person who paid less than $300 for their equipment and pays $18 to play the local municipal course would probably disagree. Just like, [sarcasm] get ready for this, some people think skiing is an elitist sport because it's so expensive :
[/sarcasm]. $82 lift ticket at Vail, $2,000 in equipment, lessons, etc yeah it's expensive. But, same as golf, the person who picked up their equipment for <$500 and pays $35 at A-Basin (or $359 for the season pass with 10 days at Vail) would probably disagree.
But, here's the most important point: it's called a "free" market for a reason. People are free to charge whatever they want for their products and services, and people are free to choose to pay that for their products and services, or to go somewhere else, or not to use those products and services at all. And, yes, in a free market, people are also free to make bad choices - they just get to pay the price of those bad choices. If some of the folks in this thread are right, that Vail has made a bad choice, then Vail will pay the price of that bad choice by experiencing no or even negative profits - but, if Vail is right about their choice (I think they probably are), they will reap the benefits of a larger profit.
The benefits of a free market are things like your favorite vegetable always being in stock, bread priced less than $.50 a loaf, or being able to buy high quality skis made in france at a local shop - the drawbacks are that some things that you would like are too expensive for your present financial situation. Unless you're willing to give up the former, I don't think you should complain about the latter.