When was the last time you walked up to an airline counter at an airport and bought an over-the-counter airline ticket? If you’re a millennial, the answer is probably never.
Ski areas across the country are going the same route as the airlines. They’re looking for skiers and snowboarders to buy lift tickets ahead of time from either their official website or from a third-party provider like liftopia. Better yet they want to offset the chance of a light snow season by having you buy a season pass long before the snow even starts flying.
Want to ski Vail on New Year’s Day? Here is what it’s going to cost you.
Ticket Window: If you walk up to the Vail ticket window this season you will need to plop down an eye-popping $175 for a lift ticket.
Online: If you book a ticket today on Vail.com for a day of skiing on January 1, 2017 it will cost you $159. Liftopia is not offering any lift ticket deal on this date for Vail.
Epic Pass: If you wanted to buy an Epic Pass (season pass with unlimited days at all Vail Ski Resorts and 5 days at Whistler) today it would cost you $2600.00. Let say you ski 25 days this season. That averages out to $105 per day.
The season pass is the real play for ski resorts. In a recent Forbes article, Vail CEO Katz Uses Casino Model To Drive Peak Performance, David Fisher correctly points out that, “The key to making money in the ski industry, Katz (Robert Katz, Vail Resort’s CEO) realized, isn’t necessarily finding more skiers–it’s getting more money from the ones you already have.” Fisher goes on to write….
By getting skiers to pay up front, Vail offloads much of the risk of a light snow season onto its customers, while enticing them to buy $15 bowls of chili and $1,000 parkas in mountain lodges and stores. Katz expects to sell 500,000 season passes this year, pumping more than $250 million in nonrefundable revenue into Vail’s bank account, most of it before Thanksgiving. – Forbes.com