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Season Pass Cost ???

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

I started looking at season pass costs and I'm mystified by the differences in the various ski areas thinking on the pricing for season passes. Here are some of what's currently listed on web sites. It's a mix of single adult 08-09 and 09-10 pass prices. Kirkwood-$399, Winter Park plus Copper $439, Mammoth $576, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, A-Basin COMBINED $599, Mt Bachelor $799, Steamboat $879, Deer Valley $1,525, Whistler $1,529, Jackson Hole $1,544, Big Sky $1,699 and Aspen (all four mtns) $1,769.

Why would a marketing department at Kirkwood look at their business and figure that they will maximize their revenue with a $399 pass and Jackson or Big Sky look at their market and figure they will make more money with a $1,544 or $1,699 price. Is the market really that different in California and Colorado than Wyoming and Montana?

Is Big Sky ripping off their customers or is Kirkwood foolishly leaving a lot of money on the table?

Why would Vail price 6 mountains for $599 and Aspen price their 4 for $1,769?

How do Jackson and Big Sky figure they're worth three times Copper plus Winter Park?

These are all popular top twenty type western resorts. Sure, some are bigger and glitzyer but the pricing relationships make no sense to me.

post #2 of 15

Passes are cheap in Central Colorado because Denver provides a large population of potential buyers and the prices reflect a sweet spot where price and demand intersect for maximum revenue.  As part of this calculus, competition between Vail Resorts and Intrawest keeps prices low. 

 

Most of the higher priced passes are for mountains that do not serve a major population center and have no real competition, so price has little affect on demand.  These mountains can't make their money through volume, so they do it on price. 

 

Keep in mind that in places like Big Sky, Jackson, or Aspen, people who live there tend to be either very well off or not.  The very well off won't think twice about buying an expensive pass, while the not so well off will end up obtaining a pass anyway as part of their employment deal.  This latter piece is another reason why high pass prices work so well.  Merchants get usually get a substantial discount on these passes, so they become a tool that allows local employers to attract employees (who otherwise couldn't afford to ski) and they effectively get some "free money" with which to pay them since the prospective employee views the pass benefit in terms of its real value, rather than its discounted value.

 

There are a few exceptions.  Deer Valley intentionally limits their pass sales to maintain a crowd-free experience so even though they could price for volume, they aren't interested in doing that.  I suspect that Whistler Blackcomb is doing a little of that as well--they don't need day-trippers so they aren't doing anything to attract them. 

post #3 of 15

One question you'd have to ask is what other revenue streams does the mountain company have? Does the mountain company own the F&B and Lodging or do they strictly operate the lifts. If it's the former, they may opt for a lower price to drive more visitors to their lodging and restaurants. If they don't own those things, the lifts have to be profitable on their own. Of course there are other mountain ops to consider. Snowmaking, grooming, terrain parks cost a lot of money. If the mountain is going to drive hard to be open early for Xmas etc no matter the weather it will cost more than a mountain that is content to sit there and wait for it to snow.

 

Finally, you have to know your customers. If you are already filling your mountain at $1700 you'd be nuts to lower the price.

post #4 of 15

In the case of Kirkwood, you have a ski area competing in a market with at least a dozen other great areas including Heavenly, Squaw, Alpine Meadows, Rose, Northstar/Sierra, Sugar Bowl and many others.  All of those are easier to reach, offer competitive pass prices and actually have high-speed lifts. 

post #5 of 15

Agree with all the responses so far- competion, other revenue streams and target market.

 

This wasn't part of your original post, but there can also be big price differences for the same moutain(s) depending on when you buy your pass and/or restrictions on how/where the passes are sold.  As an example, I think I purchased a slightly restircted Heavenly pass in person for under $350 on 12/17/06...the next day, the only pass that was for sale was the unresticted pass for $800+.  In addition to trying to get money in hand sooner rather than later, this shows me that they are trying to separately maximize revenue for each target market.

post #6 of 15

Are you looking at "early purchase" prices vs. "in season" prices?  The price here for a season pass at Whitefish will be the same "early purchase" as last year:  $535 if purchased by September.  They even have a NO COST payment plan available this year, the $535 spread over seven months.  However, the "in season" cost of the pass will be $1035!

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

The numbers I tried to get from each website were the regular price, one person adult season pass costs. No seniors, volumes or Chamber of Commerce discounts.

post #8 of 15

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post

P

Keep in mind that in places like Big Sky, Jackson, or Aspen, people who live there tend to be either very well off or not.  The very well off won't think twice about buying an expensive pass, while the not so well off will end up obtaining a pass anyway as part of their employment deal. 

 

 

Spot on.   When I ski teched in Bozeman, the season ticket price for me was $350 for Big Sky and $250 for Bridger.    Everyone else that wasn't getting corporate prices didn't need to worry about $1700 to ski twice a year.

post #9 of 15

I would gladly pony up $1500 to ski all season at some of those mountains.  It currently cost me almost $400 with the early season discount to ski a very optomistic 400 vertical feet of man made ice and slush in Indiana.

 

I think others have hit the nail on the head though.  You have to look at where the resorts are drawing their business from, mainly how close they are to major polulations. 

post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 

In a related story.....Six Flags Unlimited Season Pass $69.99 - less than the cost of two full day passes at the theme park or one day of skiing. Maybe this explains why our sport isn't growing.

IT'S OVER PRICED!

post #11 of 15

Its over-priced????

 

Do you pay

+35% on everything as the currency exchange add on to your prices?

$5 a gallon;

$1080 early bird season passes;

$250 car pass;

$50 a weekend to park 2 miles away from the lifts

$30 per head for a taxi, return, to the village;

$95 for a lift ticket;

$80 a night for a Youth hostel bunk bed with a kitchen, loo and shower down the hall?

to ski freeze thaw, and maybe powder once every 5 years?

 

That's why , with an airfare war,my pals are jumping on uncomfortable  economy/coach seats. We're travelling 24 hours  home-to-lodge, just to enjoy your rental car fees, rip off rental car insurance, cheap condos, powder ,your really short lift lines, and the cheap Sunday-Friday season passes for 2 weeks to 2 months.

 

Sheese. We're  being mugged by comparison.

post #12 of 15

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by veteran View Post

Its over-priced????

 

Do you pay

+35% on everything as the currency exchange add on to your prices?

$5 a gallon;

$1080 early bird season passes;

$250 car pass;

$50 a weekend to park 2 miles away from the lifts

$30 per head for a taxi, return, to the village;

$95 for a lift ticket;

$80 a night for a Youth hostel bunk bed with a kitchen, loo and shower down the hall?

to ski freeze thaw, and maybe powder once every 5 years?

 

That's why , with an airfare war,my pals are jumping on uncomfortable  economy/coach seats. We're travelling 24 hours  home-to-lodge, just to enjoy your rental car fees, rip off rental car insurance, cheap condos, powder ,your really short lift lines, and the cheap Sunday-Friday season passes for 2 weeks to 2 months.

 

Sheese. We're  being mugged by comparison.

 

Imagine how much word-of-mouth any resort would generate if they actually gave free tickets to people who flew to ski there. Show up with a boarding pass, get a lift ticket for free. 

 

Again... tribes are what matter now. If you're following a business model to reach the masses, instead of the dedicated, you're going to go bye-bye. 

 

 

post #13 of 15

Holly sh*** I heard you have high prices for lift tickets over there, but $1500 for season pass???!!! For this, I'm really happy I live on this side of ocean, where season ticket covering all ski resorts (including glacier which means skiing from middle of June to beginning of May) in Carinthia, Austria, is around 350eur (around $450).

post #14 of 15

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by samurai View Post

 

 

Imagine how much word-of-mouth any resort would generate if they actually gave free tickets to people who flew to ski there. Show up with a boarding pass, get a lift ticket for free. 

 

 

 

 


Jackson Hole did that last year when I was there.  We showed our boarding pass from the morning flight and got a free half day ticket on our arrival day.   
 

post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 

Park City has offered ski free with a boarding pass too and we made two trips there just because we got the half day free. It's a good promotion because it calls attention to their easy access. It really did not make financial sense but we just could not pas up the opportunity to get something for nothing!

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