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Day ticket rates vs Pass Prices

Scruffy

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Yes, all 7 days, thank you, that's 100% consistent with one of the points I'm making. They were $95 last year except on weekend. A 32% price increase in one year.

Wow, your reading comp and arguments skills are slipping, BG. That $125 is the weekend price. Last year it was $119, that's 5% increase, not 32%. And an IKON partner resort is not the same as an Altera owned resort, not in the least.
 

fiddleski

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It's not just walk-up prices that have become much more expensive - my experience is that even advance purchase discounts have essentially disappeared, at least at Vail-owned. Two years ago it was possible to ski at Okemo during fringe season weekdays for $60 purchasing a few days in advance. Even mid-season weekdays were only a bit more. This year, same time (December weekday, half open at best) it was $106 even with advance purchase. I assume that the former Peak resorts will follow suit next year. More casual skiers tend to assume that skiing at big resorts is expensive, per se, and would often be surprised at how affordable it was on weekdays in NE. I sent a few friends to Okemo myself over the years on that basis, but it's no longer the case. My $.02 is that Epic/Ikon contributes to the "outside" impression that skiing is only for the wealthy.

I also wonder how well the new model is going to work in weekend-centric NE as opposed to out West, which I have always perceived as based more on longer "ski vacations". It will take a few years for all the effects to shake out.

On the positive side, I discovered Berkshire East this year, and will be recommending them to folks here in the "south". If you can find a place to stay, that is...
 

bdfreetuna

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On the positive side, I discovered Berkshire East this year, and will be recommending them to folks here in the "south". If you can find a place to stay, that is...

Great discovery, but do you drive from Maryland to ski Berkshire East? I'm pretty sure 95% of their skiers are within a 45 minute radius.
 

BenedictGomez

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Wow, your reading comp and arguments skills are slipping, BG. That $125 is the weekend price. Last year it was $119, that's 5% increase, not 32%. And an IKON partner resort is not the same as an Altera owned resort, not in the least.

Read the sentence again.
 

BenedictGomez

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It's not just walk-up prices that have become much more expensive - my experience is that even advance purchase discounts have essentially disappeared, at least at Vail-owned

The "real" discounts in general, have disappeared at all Vail & Alterra owned properties, at least the good ones. That's part of the business model in addition to the artificially high single day rates, you get rid of all discounts & that too helps "force" people to buy a megapass.

BOGOs are much rarer than before, eliminated at most (almost all?) megapass areas. Ski Club days are becoming fewer & fewer (if not eliminated altogether). The Skiing On The Cheap thread dwindles with each passing year.
 

fiddleski

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The "real" discounts in general, have disappeared at all Vail & Alterra owned properties, at least the good ones. That's part of the business model in addition to the artificially high single day rates, you get rid of all discounts & that too helps "force" people to buy a megapass.

BOGOs are much rarer than before, eliminated at most (almost all?) megapass areas. Ski Club days are becoming fewer & fewer (if not eliminated altogether). The Skiing On The Cheap thread dwindles with each passing year.

Yes, they have done away with demand-based pricing, which is how I used to shop for skiing, as it were. I guess by definition I was a low-profit customer and therefore of marginal value, but I still question the wisdom of the model and whether it is sustainable, especially in the NE market.
 
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abc

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The Skiing on the Cheap also suffers from lack of interest too.

People who got season passes has less need for ”cheap” deals.

Yes, I too noticed the deals dwindling. But so do the number of people hunting for deals. Hence dwindling post in deal thread.
 
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Orca

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Hypothesized unintended consequence of ridiculous window rate: Guy is thinking about skiing, looks into advanced tickets online, but he's not quite sure and gets distracted. Doesn't buy right then. Couple days pass, and he decides it'd be good to get out. Online rates up, window price ridiculous. He says f* it, I'll save the drive and go to the local climbing gym instead. Ski industry revenue = $0. Willing customer effectively turned away.
 

mbedle

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Huh? What does this discussion have to do with Capitalism? Not to mention, ironic to your comments, I believe I am the only one here who has laid out a fairly in-depth thesis for why I believe Rob Katz & Vail will eventually fail with this business model.



Well that would be a combination of you being wrong, combined with you conflating the issue of children beginners with adult beginners. Nobody (at least not me, and from what I can tell nobody else on AZ) is commenting on the concern of children's programs, which have nothing to do with single day ticket prices. In terms of your "wrong" part, you have no clue just how many adults show up to a ski resort & buy a lift ticket & ski rental. Thousands. Hoards. Every week. Yes, at "big" places too, not just at Cochran. And I'm surprised that you have not heard of this concern, because it's not like I'm on an island with this belief, as people in the industry have commented & written about this fear as well. I believe it will not insignificantly impair the adult learner segment, which if we're correct should show up in the numbers eventually.



I don't think caring about the ski industry, Mom & Pop hills, and/or genuinely disliking the direction the industry is precipitously going based on my personal prognostication is "whining" in the least. If that's the case,there's a lot more "whiners" than just Tuna & I regarding all the various issues EPIC & IKON are causing. Perhaps branch out beyond AZ.

Can you point me to your thesis that specifically lays out in detail how the Vail and Alterra business models are going to fail?
 

machski

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Hypothesized unintended consequence of ridiculous window rate: Guy is thinking about skiing, looks into advanced tickets online, but he's not quite sure and gets distracted. Doesn't buy right then. Couple days pass, and he decides it'd be good to get out. Online rates up, window price ridiculous. He says f* it, I'll save the drive and go to the local climbing gym instead. Ski industry revenue = $0. Willing customer effectively turned away.
So we can say the same for the guy looking to go sit on the beach by the Ocean in the Caribbean. Looks online at airfare 2 weeks out and not bad but gets distracted with work. Forgets and looks two days before, ticket prices are way up now. So perspective beach goer says F it and goes to the Y and sits by the pool instead?

Look, this new model does cut down on last minute powder chasing (sort of, if you have an Epic or Ikon it covers quite a lot of areas over a HUGE amount of locations. Powder chasing made easy) to some extent. But the problem for the industry is that the lift infrastructure is aging. I'm not saying replace a Fixed Grip with a Detach, but the old fixed grips are at or beyond reasonable expected lifespans and need to be replaced. Even a Fixed Grip chair straight up runs into the $Millions. How do resorts or areas try to replace without either: 1. Ramping up window ticket prices or 2. Selling a ton of season passes for cheaper in comparison to high window prices? If you are going to finance said lift, remember the finance company will expect to see level revenue projections out for much of the life of said finance period to get the $$.

So to BG and Tuna, are you two specifically going up and buying tickets during poor weather stretches/months? Because if you only go when you can chase powder or conditions are good, hate to say it but you aren't the customer that is helping to advance their business. We are skiers/riders are are passionate about our sport. But for the owner/Operator, they may be passionate too about the sport but at the end of the day, they have to keep the business afloat. And the reality is relying on day ticket sales at cheap day ticket pricing doesn't hold up long term for a resort to stay in business.

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BenedictGomez

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Can you point me to your thesis that specifically lays out in detail how the Vail and Alterra business models are going to fail?

Long posts done two (three?) times over the last few years. Use search function.
 

BenedictGomez

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the problem for the industry is that the lift infrastructure is aging. I'm not saying replace a Fixed Grip with a Detach, but the old fixed grips are at or beyond reasonable expected lifespans and need to be replaced.

I've never not gone to a resort specifically because they have fixed-grip chairs, and I think I'm probably in the majority. Some of my favorite places like Plattekill & Smuggler's Notch have old fixed-grip chairs. Granted, I'd love for Smuggs to replace the Madonna double with a quad (it wouldnt lead to too many people on the slopes, that's BS), but it's not like I'd ever boycott the place because they dont have one of these silly bubble 6 packs, or worse, heated chairs for the uber wimpy of society. In short, as long as it aint broke (literally), dont change it. I find old lifts charming.


the reality is relying on day ticket sales at cheap day ticket pricing doesn't hold up long term for a resort to stay in business.

The day ticket prices were never "cheap", they were financially rational from the given resort's FP&A perspective, and it allowed the resorts to "stay in business" just fine for 45, 55, years etc. This new megapass strategy of stratospheric single day lift ticket prices has nothing to do with financial reasonableness, and everything to do with forcing you to buy their pass.
 

mister moose

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Hypothesized unintended consequence of ridiculous window rate: Guy is thinking about skiing, looks into advanced tickets online, but he's not quite sure and gets distracted. Doesn't buy right then. Couple days pass, and he decides it'd be good to get out. Online rates up, window price ridiculous. He says f* it, I'll save the drive and go to the local climbing gym instead. Ski industry revenue = $0. Willing customer effectively turned away.
Yes, but the driver for any business is maximizing yield, not serving every potential customer. You just can't please all of the people all of the time and still make a buck.

The day ticket prices were never "cheap", they were financially rational from the given resort's FP&A perspective, and it allowed the resorts to "stay in business" just fine for 45, 55, years etc. This new megapass strategy of stratospheric single day lift ticket prices has nothing to do with financial reasonableness, and everything to do with forcing you to buy their pass.
Let's go with "incentivizing" you to buy their pass if you want to ski any of their properties. Perhpas we should think of Mega Pass muntains as cruise ships - cheap, packaged bundles for the vacation traveler. There will always be the alternative of straying outside the packaged plan. Under priced passes do result in more crowding and a search for revenue elsewhere, ie parking, food, rentals.

Wait.... maybe the two really are similar, maybe in the future we wil see

Vail: Casino, water park, lounge acts and oh, skiing too.
 

Hawk

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I guess I am in the minority but the IKON now at Sugarbush will probably be one of the best things yet. My perspective:
- my pass has gone down by $100.
- I now get to ski all over the west for no cost at most of my favorite resorts that long time friends have moved to. So...Free skiing and lodging
- I have a ski in ski out place so parking is no issue.
- I am a frequent skier at Sugarbush so I know how to avoid the line and crowds.
- I seldom eat in the lodge and go to mother stuffers, chez Henri or pack a lunch, so no crowds to deal with there.
- I now have a new owner with more capital that has a history of doing upgrades so the future looks good.

Absolutely no down side for me. I guess I am lucky.
 

bdfreetuna

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^^
I don't think anybody has argued that it's not a good deal if you want to stay within the Vail / Alterra ecosystems.

So that's a great option for some. But Vail board members aren't concerned if their business model puts more independent mountains out of business; whether that is a direct or indirect goal I couldn't tell you.
 

abc

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Perhpas we should think of Mega Pass muntains as cruise ships - cheap, packaged bundles for the vacation traveler.
That's a sad thought.
Said, but true.

Wait.... maybe the two really are similar, maybe in the future we wil see

Vail: Casino, water park, lounge acts and oh, skiing too.
The future is already here.

That's the impression I got when I look at the Vail Resort's web site (and that of many "mega resorts"). I got the distinct impression they're focusing on selling me lodging and a "holiday" packages which happen to include some skiing!

Mountains like Whistler and Vail have good skiing. That hasn't changed. Skiers are still going there for the snow and the skiing. But I can't help to shake the feeling we're the minority in a land of vacationers. You have better luck in finding a spa treatment than finding a boot fitter!
 

bdfreetuna

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Indy Pass is pretty sweet for using some days out West too.

I mean if I can't have a good time at places like Castle Mountain, Red Lodge, Apex, Mission Ridge, Silver Mountain, White Pass etc. , it's on me. All my prior "West trips" have been to the major / famous mountains, and while I enjoyed most of them, I'm more interested now in exploring "medium" size West resorts that are more low key (still bigger than most mountains here).

It's fun to travel for some skiing and have it not be a crowded shit show when you arrive too.


So here's a related question: How do mountains profit off being on a multi pass like Indy Pass where you can do 2x days at each mountain but the pass itself is only around $200? Even fully understanding that most people might only use it at 4 or 6 of these resorts, that's still 8 or 12 days going into $200. NOT complaining, just curious ;)
 

machski

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I've never not gone to a resort specifically because they have fixed-grip chairs, and I think I'm probably in the majority. Some of my favorite places like Plattekill & Smuggler's Notch have old fixed-grip chairs. Granted, I'd love for Smuggs to replace the Madonna double with a quad (it wouldnt lead to too many people on the slopes, that's BS), but it's not like I'd ever boycott the place because they dont have one of these silly bubble 6 packs, or worse, heated chairs for the uber wimpy of society. In short, as long as it aint broke (literally), dont change it. I find old lifts charming.




The day ticket prices were never "cheap", they were financially rational from the given resort's FP&A perspective, and it allowed the resorts to "stay in business" just fine for 45, 55, years etc. This new megapass strategy of stratospheric single day lift ticket prices has nothing to do with financial reasonableness, and everything to do with forcing you to buy their pass.
BG, you are missing my point a bit here. I am not advocating resorts should replace fixed grips with HSS or even HSQ's. What I was saying is all mechanical machinery has a finite usable life. Many have thought a decade ago we would have seen resorts replacing lifts just due to age, not necessarily to fancy new detach/heated/bubbles. That didn't happen but many fixed grips are coming up on 40 years old or more. Metal fatigues and at some point your quaint old lifts need to be either replaced or completely remanufactured (a la MRG's Single Chair).

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