Originally Posted by JHrefugee
The only resort that got hit in the groin was kmart itself as evidenced by the 20% decrease in skier visits last season(2005/2006) vs the previous season. The only other resort in Vermont to have a double digit decrease was Mt Snow.
Their Walmart business model was a financial disaster, one that Okemo, took full advantage as their skier visits increased to 600,000(during the same time period) taking over from Mt Snow as #2 in Vermont.
You make an interesting point. Here is the interesting counterpoint:
I know that season pass prices are a pretty big issue for a good number of people, and if you were buying 5 passes for a familly, like Phil is, having a cheap pass product being eliminated is a pretty big hit.
However, for many, many people, ticket and season pass pricing really is a small factor. The ASC/Killington Gold Pass, a full adult season pass with no blackout days
, was $699 in the spring and $799 early season last year. That's not that cheap, but still cheaper than Sugarbush ($1000) or Stowe ($1500). But people still leave Killington to go up there.....just as I did last season.
My house near Stowe was equidistant to Sugarbush, and most people did not hold passes. They could ski at Sugarbush using $53 bulk tickets that the house manager got, but they could also drive the same distance and pay a full shot $75 to ski at Stowe. Guess what? Half the time they ended up going to Stowe, and were blown away by how much better it was, even during the same weekend. They gladly came back and skied Stowe again, and a few people virtually abandoned going to Sugarbush. We took one trip up to Jay, which was fun, but a pain to drive up there. I talked to them about how much I like Killington, but nobody wanted to go down there and ski.....they decided they hated it years ago, and really had no interest.
Considering all the time and other money spent to go skiing, spending an extra $200-400 to be at a resort that doesn't suck starts to make a whole lot more sense. All the money spent on gear, clothing, food, lodging, gas, maintaining a vehicle.......it really does add up. Factor in on top of that the time spent driving, arranging things, getting to the mountain, getting dressed, riding the lifts.....there is a massive time, effort and cost just get out on the mountain for few minutes of actual downhill skiing......yet thousands of people do it every year.
So Killington's visits decrease, even though they drop pass prices....why is that? Well, it's because the quality of the product they offer has virtually fallen off a cliff in the last few years.....where it used to be a 1st tier resort, it has fallen to 2nd tier in what they offer....kmart, for sure. They are no longer directly competitive with top tier resorts like Stowe, Sugarbush, Stratton and Okemo in any way but price and size.
People who buy passes are not stupid for the most part, and they know what they are getting for their money.....hence the FULL ASC PASS for $699......otherwise, people would not be buying it. Not at $1000 or $1500, that's for sure. The bronze pass is a bottom feeder.....looking to snag people who would normally get a pass at a 2nd tier resort, or who are buying a 2nd pass, or who don't ski as much. So they sell tons of passes, but skier visits still drop off..........why?!?!Lets look at the day ticket market.The real idiots here are the people coming to Killington and paying $72 for a day ticket.
The people in my house last year were perfectly willing to pay $75 to ski Stowe, but had zero interest in skiing Killington......even when I offered to get them $40 tickets.
It just wasn't worth it for them. There's a reason that 90%++ of the people at Killington on any given day are horrific gapers.....all the real skiers have somewhere else to be. It's shocking to go to Stowe, where 50%+ of the skiers on the mountain are accomplished skiers who know what they are doing.People coming to Killington and buying day tickets, are unaware that Killington is not offering a competitive product for that $72 ticket vs. other resorts. They claim to be a 1st tier resort, and think they can charge the prices, but they really aren't anymore. There's only so many suckers out there, and you can't keep getting people to pay the price if you don't have the product.
There's two more way they keep bodies coming to the mountain.....bus trips and vacation deals. They were good deals, don't get me wrong.....they sell lodging/transportation, tickets and rentals for one super low price, and people do get their money's worth......fair's fair. But they are competing at the bottom of the market....anyone looking for a better experience is going to go elsewhere.
So, that's my take on it. There's lots of reasons to come to Killington, but the on-mountain experience hasn't been it for the last few years. Many people who have the money and have the choice have already moved on to places where their time is better spent. Killington has a great community, lots of variety and variablity to the terrain, and the best nightlife in VT, by far.......so choose it based on that, not the ski experience.It's very simple: For Killington to succeed, they need to improve the ski experience....everything else will follow.TO THE NEW OWNERS:IT'S THE SKIING, STUPID!!!!!!!!!