The question isn't how savvy you are in buying tickets, it's what would you pay.
I played the White Course at Doral yesterday. $135. That's for 4 hours. A lift ticket is for 6-7 hours, and the most expensive one is $85. The ski area has a lot more overhead and a lot less season to recoup it, so I think we're getting a pretty good deal at any place west of the Mississippi for under $85.
The answer is ANY PRICE. Anyone who's not sure, just look at golf courses.
There'll always be those who skin up and play at public courses. (Move to FL and play for free, or move to Utah/Colorado and ski for <$500 a SEASON!) But there're those who will pay $70/day at Aspen/Vail and $135 at White Course. Look at the cost of Heli & cat skiing and the explosion of popularity! There's money everywhere!