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Stowe The Dichotomy

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I skied Stowe this past weekend it was lots of fun. Not being remotely local we found loads of high end expert terrain with ease. I can only imagine how good it gets if you know your way around. I was so impressed I checked their season pass prices. !@$!! Whats up with those prices. It would be 1500+ for me and my daughter. I don't fully understand some things about this mountain.

1. Why does the quad have a 15+ minute line and the Gondola a 2 minute line. I know that the terrain is better at the quad but the gondola has some good stuff also. We Accessed the trees down below nosedive from there.

2. Why is a hardcore backcountry type of mountain catering towards the ultra-rich. At Stratton it makes perfect sense, groom it all to death and the hard stuff makes you feel like a hero. How many movie stars skiing Stowe are hiking the chin?

3. Why so many New Yorkers? Boston is so much closer. Is this the money issue again?

Just some of the questions I have with regards to a mountain that is loaded with terrain that makes me drool and then prices me right out of the market.

post #2 of 14
1. I don't know. Perhaps the hype of the front four makes them feel more like an expert.

2. They cater to the ultra-rich because apparently that's where the money is. Go figure. Since Stowe has excellent terrain it has the option of marketing its services to whomever they want. Stratton doesn't have that option; it can't cater to hardcore types because it doesn't have the terrain.

3. New York metro: 18 million, Boston metro: 5 million
post #3 of 14
Sad to see the prices haven't changed much...back in 1980, a weekday only pass for college students at Stowe was $400. An unlimited pass for Sugarbush North was $120 and an unlimited pass for Smuggs was $160. The only time I was able to ski Stowe was when I could score comped tix from my buddies on the UVM ski team. I skied there a ton growing up and quite a lot in college, but the prices really aren't aimed at locals.
post #4 of 14
i don't know if they'll do it again this year, but last spring they dropped their prices about $5 a day as they closed in on the projected closing...to free with a food item on final day...they didn't make it, but the two days i was there (april 14 and 18 or so) were cheap...and no lines (though no gondola the latter either) it is too bad they don't feel the need to cater to locals (or those of us w/o money to burn)...even sugarbush has their $26 tuesday + weds mt ellen tix...

the terrain does kick, but i won't pay full price there...
post #5 of 14
From a marketing perspective it makes sense to offer a variety of prices to attract people willing to pay different amounts. For people who can afford to drive something that gets 9 gallons/mile from NYC each weekend let them pay $74/day or whatever the rediculous season pass rate is - they won't care. For locals offer things like vermont/nh resident days, carpool days, group rates whatever!

The main reason I was able to ski close to every weekend as a kid was because my parents could orchestrate group rates from mount snow and haystack. With a commitment of 20 tickets a day or two in advance, the mountains would cut the ticket price down to the $10-20 range. It took a bit of effort to manage the group from week to week but it was well worth it. Hell, my whole town was able to afford family skiing every weekend simply because of these group rates. Once ASC got hold of snow and haystack the group rates were jacked up faster than Barry Bonds. Within a few seasons they were essentially the normal ticket prices and not even worth the effort. People stopped skiing.

Simply put, they alienated my whole town worth of customers with their absurdly high rates. Since the costs of making snow, operating chairlifts, and paying employees hourly wages are basically fixed, it would really be in their best interest to offer ways of obtaining cheaper tickets.
post #6 of 14
You guys are spot on regarding Stowe. My daughter and I took a last minute trip up to Northern VT three days last week. Although we did get cheap lodging ($75 a night a Golden Eagle Resort in Stowe) since it was a last minute trip I couldn't use eBay, etc. for cheap lift tickets.

Thurs: Stowe cost us $125 : (absolutely no discounts to be had)
Fri: Jay cost us $75 (we showed our Mountain Creek season passes and received a discount...nice to see these passes count for something! )
Sat: Bolton Valley $70 (half day, 9-1 passes...again no discounts)

Honestly Jay was the best overall in terms of conditions and the mountain itself. At Stowe we actually made it over to Spruce and had fun cruising down the blue squares. Stowe IS so damn expensive though. Bolton was nice but after half a day we had seen everything that needed to be seen. Lift lines were pretty much non-existant for the three days which was great.
post #7 of 14
I hear you. They were charging $76 for a lift ticket the weekend before Christmas. If I had known that before I went up there I wouldn't have gone. Too bad, too. I love the mountain and the town, but the way the mountain is being run is just a big turn off. I'm glad I'm not the only person that has noticed. The place has just turned into a big money grab.
post #8 of 14
The ski industry is wierd because it seems to mainly market to insiders which may explain the flat growth of the skiing and riding. Stowe is no exception and $76 a day walk up rates. The Stowe card does offer some relief for non-Saturday skiing at $49 and every seventh day is free. Judging by the number of season passes I see at Stowe there are many people willling to pay the big bucks for season passes and day tickets.
post #9 of 14

Ticket price goes down to $49 this Friday 3-31

I'm planning to ski there this coming Friday so I called to inquire and was glad to hear it'll only cost me $49 to ski in mashed potatos and slush!

Fortunately my mashed potato and slush skiing will only cost me $10 at Bolton Valley the next day. (that's an ebay ticket)
post #10 of 14
You can ski Stowe more cheaply if you use the Vacation Rewards Program -- buy your tickets in advance and get a discount plus free lessons or rentals if you buy 4 days in a row. It is expensive for a one-day, but even during the "peak" dates you can get a two-day ticket for $120. So it's not cheap, but a Saturday ticket at Mt. Sunapee is $58 and a two-day is $105. Stowe is only $15 higher for a weekend-long ticket, and I'd say it's well worth it.
post #11 of 14
Originally Posted by William Tell
Fortunately my mashed potato and slush skiing will only cost me $10 at Bolton Valley the next day. (that's an ebay ticket)
Just an FYI you do not need an eBay ticket for BV. Now thru April 2 ALL tickets are $10!

post #12 of 14
Originally Posted by gores95
Just an FYI you do not need an eBay ticket for BV. Now thru April 2 ALL tickets are $10!

Yeah I saw that today...have mine now anyway so no big deal.
post #13 of 14
I've always enjoyed skiing at Stowe, though as far back as I can remember, they've had one of the pricier lift tickets in the East. At current prices, with teens (over 12) paying the same as adults, we haven't even considered the place for the past five years.

This year, however, we were taking our daughter to look at New England colleges and wanted a few fun days in the middle of the trip so we decided to take another look at Stowe since it was right along the route.

Turns out, if you hunt a little there are some deals. We took advantage of an American Express deal where you can buy 4 nights of lodging and 4 days of skiing for the price of 3. Granted, for roughly the same money, we could have spent 5 or 6 days at Jay in an on-slope condo, but at least this was affordable.
post #14 of 14
Student season passes are like 385. I have one, but it pays for it self. And the quad line is almost always shorter than the gondola ride in the winter, you just came at a wierd time. I wouldnt consider stowe an exclusively backcountry mountain, I mean come one they do have the Spruce Peak Beginner Mtn. And they can cater to whoever the H**l they want. I still love it there and will ALWAYS return.
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