Price to enter the sport is getting cost prohibitive as well so they are cutting out the stream of new skiers in order to keep their aging customer base. New skiers are not going to just jump at a season pass that will save them money after X number of days as they have no idea if they even want to continue in the sport. Will they even pay $160 to ski 1 day plus rentals and other costs?
This is really not that true. The vast majority of skiers learn while they are young/ in college, at least the basics and enough to decide if they like it or not. The sport is still affordable for the young.
Kids passes are still super cheap even in Jackson, kids (even up to teenagers) season rentals for ski gear are also super cheap. I can get my kid covered for an entire season for a pass and ski gear for 350 bucks, at one of the most expensive ski areas in the country. 239 for a junior pass and season long rental for 99. That number increases to 450 when my kid reaches college. That is cheaper than the local soccer program believe it or not.
Typically, their parents ski and get it, but I learned by my parents taking me to the hill to ski then they just hung out in the lodge or went and did their own thing, so it is not a requirement the parents even participate and is pretty much what any parent does at any other sport for their kids. It is not like Dad is out there playing t-ball with 5 year olds, or dunking on the kids hoops, so to say it requires a large expense for them isn't true.
Now, lets look at even never-ever adults trying skiing for the first time, which is already a significant minority of folks trying the sport for the first time. Of this tiny minority, a vast majority aren't getting up at 5am, driving 3 hours in the car to save money on hotels, dirt-bagging it and buying that one day ticket (BOGO, which there is a reason Groupon tanked as 1/2 off is a shitty way to do business) that one time. They are more likely taking a weekend or week long holiday with their significant other or family that skis, and at that point paying 350 bucks for an Epic Local makes sense.
I'm not saying it won't scare the occasional person away from the sport, but we need to also be real here and skiing is never going to be free. No sport really is once you reach adulthood. Even a decent pair of hightop sneakers and a basketball costs the better part of 200 bucks these days. You seen the price of a mountain bike recently? They make ski passes look like a steal.