Just curious? How many vert ft of skiing can you get in a day on the public owned free stuff? If you've got the $$$ I say spend it on a lift pass so you get spend your day skiing instead of hiking. I guess it all boils down to what like more- hiking or skiing. When you're earning your turns, I reckon the ski:hike ratio highly favors the latter. Not that anything is wrong with that though. I guess if you have a snowmobile it changes the equation, but then you'd need to drill for oil in Alaska to fuel the thing.
I think the point is that some people don't guage their skiing experience by how many vertical feet they skied, but by the quality of of the terrain they skied.