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*** Note to Ski Area Owners and Managers ***

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
************ If You Keep It Open They Will Come **************

I'm talking about ski areas, particularly in the West, only because I am not familiar with Eastern snow conditions.

I skied today at Keystone in the snow, about 6" new, mid-winter conditions. Two days ago I was at Aspen, mid-winter conditions, getting slushy only for the last 200 feet at the bottom, no bare spots. The day before that I was at Vail, about 6 inches of fresh powder, a wonderful day. I remember other springs where Vail was suggesting that people ride the gondola to the bottom because of the lack of coverage, the bare spots, and the heaviness of the slush in the last 1000 feet. Not like that this year; in fact, snow is predicted almost every day for the next week.

Yet all these area are closing on April 13. This is because Easter was so early this year, the earliest possible. Easter could be almost a month later, and in that case none of these major areas would be closing,
particularly with so much base.

I have met so many people on the slopes this past week, who mourn this early end to the ski season. Yes, I know A-Basin will still be open, and that Aspen Highlands will open some weekends later in the month. But that's not enough to draw in the tourists - you need Vail, Aspen, Keystone, Breck, Copper - at least two of these majors areas.

I ski at Mammoth and they make every effort to stay open as long as possible. Last year, in a poor snow year, they moved the snow around and created paths so they could remain open until Memorial weekend. No, they weren't making tons of money by doing this. Most of the snowriders were season pass holders. But they were rewarding their most loyal customers by giving them as much riding as possible. These riders were in turn shopping, eating in the cafeteria, eating out at night, and purchasing hard goods such as ski equipment and t-shirts. So Mammoth (read that as any ski town) staying open longer benefitted not just Mammoth and their reputation, but the hotel owners, shops, and restaurants.

This is an open letter to the ski area owners and managers of the major areas of Colorado. I'm sure many of you are discussing extending your season. Please, for the sake of your most loyal customers, consider staying open until the end of April, or later, weather conditions permitting.

(If you as a reader of this post agree with it and would like to post it on any other snow forum to which you belong, please feel free to copy it, change it, whatever, and post it elsewhere. Maybe we can get the word out that the season should not end this early with this much snow!)
post #2 of 63
You'll have to explain the whole thing to the Elk Herds.
post #3 of 63
Sometimes it's a simple matter of a lack of tourist money. Sure, season pass holders come out, but you need the tourism capital to run the show as well. MN areas could have stayed open later as well, but the last few times I went out this year, I had the hill to myself. Keeping the hill open for me and the couple other people there didn't really make any fiscal sense.

But yeah, when there's great snow on the hill and more falling, it REALLY SUCKS to watch those lifts sit still and empty.
post #4 of 63
Keystone was amazing today. Did you do any shuttle bus laps down Go Devil?
post #5 of 63
What I was trying to say is that many ski resorts out West are on National Forest land and must close due to the Elk Migration patterns. I know Steamboat and a few others do. I don't know about other States.
post #6 of 63
Breck has experimented with late closings in the past and it's not profitable. I'm surprised they stay open as long as they do. Running lifts is extremely expensive and there are no tourists in town. People lose interest in skiing after spring break.
post #7 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
What I was trying to say is that many ski resorts out West are on National Forest land and must close due to the Elk Migration patterns. I know Steamboat and a few others do. I don't know about other States.
The elk thing is a complete myth... http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/2...yth_erroneous/
post #8 of 63
April 7, 2008

Hi Bears:

If I recall correctly (PNW Bears, please correct me if I'm wrong), Hood Meadows had a policy 2006-2007 season, that if a pre-specified number of skiers showed up on the weekend, they would remain open the next weekend, until the number of skiers required was not meet. I don't know if they count all skiers, or only skiers who purchased lift tickets excluding pass holders. The number I saw (roughly 2000 I recall, not sure) was not over whelming and seemed to be a reasonable target. I've been wondering about the outcome of this experiment.

Yesterday at Timberline WVA, they offered $1.00 skiing after 12:00 noon. I didn't see a raft load of people taking advantage of this great opportunity. A few seasons back, Ski Roundtop offered free skiing on the last day of the season. I sent a company wide e-mail a week prior to the event. No one in my company took advantage of this offer either. In this case, I don't think that "if you built it, they will come" is operable.

Had a great season. "All seasons are great. Some are just more great than others".

CP

Think snow.
post #9 of 63
This note should be addressed to the skiing public, not the owners. Resorts are in the business of either making money, or in some cases not losing money. They would love to extend their season but the economics are not there because the skiers aren't there. If you want ski areas to extend their season you need to be bugging your ho-hum ski buddies to get out and ski late in the season. If ski areas start having high enough attendance late in the season they'll look into pushing the close date back.
post #10 of 63
part of the issue is that the resorts lease of public land states they can only open to a certain date. i am sure they would like to have more days, especially at the end of the season but they are legally not allowed.
post #11 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
What I was trying to say is that many ski resorts out West are on National Forest land and must close due to the Elk Migration patterns. I know Steamboat and a few others do. I don't know about other States.
Sucker! Elk, Bears etc. are just an excuse that the areas perpetuate. IT's really simple. It's about the MONEY.
post #12 of 63
April 7, 2008

Hi Bears:

For those interested, I'm including the following website about the Hood Meadows May Challenge which I sort of discussed in my previous e-mail. The number is 4000 skier visits on the weekends which includes pass holders:

http://skihood.com/cs/blogs/meadows/...revisited.aspx

CP

Think snow.
post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by tam View Post
The elk thing is a complete myth... http://www.steamboatpilot.com/news/2...yth_erroneous/
Thanks for the read. All these years I was under the impression. Obviously, I wasn't alone.
post #14 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by volklskier1 View Post
Sucker! Elk, Bears etc. are just an excuse that the areas perpetuate. IT's really simple. It's about the MONEY.
I don't think of myself as a sucker over the topic but rather someone who trusted some locals in Steamboat about 25 years ago when I first asked the question.

Like every other ski resort, it is about the money. Families, other than mine, rarely pay big bucks to go on ski trips in April. Instead, they go to the Beach.
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by tekweezle View Post
part of the issue is that the resorts lease of public land states they can only open to a certain date. i am sure they would like to have more days, especially at the end of the season but they are legally not allowed.
Myth.
post #16 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by tekweezle View Post
part of the issue is that the resorts lease of public land states they can only open to a certain date. i am sure they would like to have more days, especially at the end of the season but they are legally not allowed.
Where did you read that? It looks to me that the article states that the ski area can stay open as long as they want, and most likely close due to business, rather then legal reasons.
post #17 of 63
maybe it;s another long perpetuated "myth". i have heard that one alot, that along with the bears coming out of hibernation possibly causing some danger as well.

i think primarily they close due to lack of business.
post #18 of 63
One of the Tahoe areas I ski at will be closing in 2 weeks. For the past several weeks when we walk into the lodge to eat instead of showing the usual skiing/boarding videos on the screens, it has been surfing & wake boarding videos. I kinda laughed at the shift in sports focus thinking it doesn't do much to keep peoples minds on skiing through the end of the season.
post #19 of 63
what i don;t believe is that universally, all ski area owners are greedy, money grubbing bastards looking to deprive people of enjoying the snow on public lands and ought to be providing service at a financial loss.

they have their hands tied and it;s too bad that running the infrastructure to give the majority a good snow experience(lifts, grooming, base lodge services, snow patrol) is expensive.

we need the masses to change their way of thinking. that spring skiing CAN be fun too. so wax up those fat skis and work on your moguls technique and become an expert. When they bring their tourist dollars to the resorts, things will change.
post #20 of 63
SB4ever, If I recall correctly Mammoth was said to have been one of the first areas to pre-sell season passes. It would be very hard to pre-sell season passes for the price Mammoth commands if they closed early with lots of good snow leaving passholders feeling short changed. So Mammoth is smart in having that big operating capital from season passes & keeping passholders coming back year after year. Not to mention Mammoth has an enourmous population center called Southern California. And, beach season isn't really into full swing until schools get out in June. And, because they are open later than others, die hards tend to make Mammoth a destination like they do A-basin, for May skiing. For me, I'm skiing Tahoe until closing, then extending my skiing season by spending some days at Mammoth. Trying to maximize my ski time & dollars as well.
post #21 of 63
tekweezle, you are right. If a ski area continues to run in the red, they won't be open the next year for ANY skiing. We can't have THAT happen. If they seem greedy, it's probably because they have to figure out how to get all the money it takes to spend all the money it takes to run a ski area. We can only hope the management is good enough to manage the task & gets better at it each year. Quality management of a ski area makes everyone happy & coming back.
post #22 of 63
There is no doubt the problem is lack of paying tourists. Vail had an epic powder day yesterday (4/6), and we basically had the Blue Sky Basin out-of-bounds area to ourselves, skiing lap after lap in 18-21" of untracked fluff. We all have season's passes, so all Vail made on us was the $20 parking fee, which certainly isn't enough to pay for even the lifty's paltry wages!
post #23 of 63
I always thought ski areas should charge more during the beginning and end of the seasons during the times they have to work harder and expend more resources to stay open (making snow every second temp permits, moving piles of snow around to cover bare spots, etc). To me they calcualate season pass prices expecting to stay open to a particular date i.e. regular season. Maybe they would stay open if folks would pay additional money to ski afte,r say April 1. I can see why they wouldn't stay open longer just to accomidate the folks that have already paid them money back in October of the previous year. On the other hand, do they refund money to season pass holders if the season has to end in early Feb due to poor conditions? I, for one, would be willing to pay daily lift ticket rates to ski after April 1 even if I had bought a "season" pass back on October. I would also entertain buying one for the following seasin then if it allowed me to start in April.

That would make the 08-09 season to be April 2008 thru March 2009 and passes would be about 10% more per person to pay the overhead.
post #24 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post
We all have season's passes, so all Vail made on us was the $20 parking fee, which certainly isn't enough to pay for even the lifty's paltry wages!
They charge $20 for parking?????
post #25 of 63
i dunno, the going mentality is to pay less for skiing than more as it;s an expensive lifestyle choice as it is. see the thread "Cha Ching Skiing".

the ski resorts have to charge less beginning and end of season because they are trying to attract paying customers. unfortunately, you usually get what you pay for-less open terrain and services all around-some by choice, some by what nature gives us.

they charge more for peak season because they can and they have to. their window for making money is slim and they need to maximize it or else.....

the only thing we can do is support the ski areas. on one level, it;s really a shared commitment. it costs money for them to provide the services we want. it kinda works on the "reciprocal/honor system". so buy some overpriced food in their lodges every now and then. or even better yet, bring some beginners to take lessons and let them spend the money.
post #26 of 63

Vail parking

Vail charges $20 for regular lot parking, $30 for valet parking (not operated by Vail), and no charge if the lots fill up and they open up parking on the frontage road. The big issue for next year, with the new Epic Pass, will be whether they wind up routinely turning away large numbers of weekend skiers because of lack of sufficient parking, which already happens on powder days in high season.
post #27 of 63
btw, i am not trying to come off as an advocate for "greedy, self serving ski area owners". i have been lucky to have few days(very few and far in between though) like what Raspritz described and i genuinely feel a little "guilty" to have all this to myself sometimes. we all should be enjoying those conditions......

and as my sig says.....
post #28 of 63
Gore will be open at least until April 20. This weekend was fantastic.

NY tax payers help---State Owned.
post #29 of 63
Brundage Mountain in Idaho will be open through the 13th, and then just for the weekends until April 27th. Come on out to Idaho and have some fun.

The local resort (Bogus Basin) closes on the 13th. We use to think it was because of policies from the forest service, but learned that it's just because when they stay open later, they lose money. And as for money grubbing... Bogus Basin is a non-profit organization. All they focus on is breaking even or saving some money to help expand more.
post #30 of 63
Thread Starter 
Keystone was fantastic today. Got at least 4 runs in the Outback before it got tracked up. Maybe 6-8 inches of new snow.

After that there were still freshies in the trees.
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