I got the idea to post this from another post by Jimski in the latest gaper thread:
• In 1967, according to Skiing Heritage Journal, the highest price for a lift ticket in that season was $8
• What cost $8 in 1967 would cost $50.84 in 2009
• Today the most expensive lift ticket in the U.S. as of last season is Vail's $97 lift ticket: 90% greater than
So inflation is only part of the increase, and apparently we have the most expensive lift tickets in the world as of 2008 (original report is now offline but this source seems to be copied verbatim from the original).
A good blog post on the topic that cites sources: http://www.thesnowjunkies.com/2009/12/09/what-recession-10-most-expensive-lift-tickets-in-the-us/
So what are your theories on this huge increase in ticket prices?