• Welcome to AlpineZone, the largest online community of skiers and snowboarders in the Northeast!

    You may have to REGISTER before you can post. Registering is FREE, gets rid of the majority of advertisements, and lets you participate in giveaways and other AlpineZone events!

Epic Pass just got more Epic

KustyTheKlown

Active member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
2,351
Points
38
Location
Brooklyn
Interesting point, but I think some of that also has to do with the fact that some of our regular members here on AZ happen to have close ties to JH and Utah. Do we have anyone that lives in or near Telluride? They're the only US-based Epic partner if I remember correctly.

crested butte is also partnered with epic. and stevens pass wa, which i would bet money is a shitshow.
 

BenedictGomez

Active member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
10,655
Points
38
Location
PRNJ
i haven't really experienced any insane crowding at ikon resorts this year, and i've skied all holiday times.

copper and winter park over x-mas week. no problems really.

copper and a-basin over mlk weekend. really bad traffic up i-70, and we knew enough to get to a-basin early to avoid a parking nightmare, but lift lines were never really bad

Doesn't shock me. I'd suspect the vast majority of IKON passholders are on the pass that blocks out holidays.

Thus, ironically, I wouldn't expect holiday IKON crowding, as the economics of IKON are more sensible on the cheaper pass, as 5 days per mountain is enough for most vacationers, and there's only a handful of dates blocked. The pricier pass makes no sense for most skiers, with the exception of some CA, CO, and UT locals, etc.
 

cdskier

Active member
Joined
Mar 26, 2015
Messages
3,734
Points
38
Location
NJ
Well they now added info to the FAQ section on the Ikon 19/20 announcement page that lists the resorts included with each pass and how many days. Full 7 (or 5) even at JH.

There goes the theory they would adjust for next year.
 

Zand

Active member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,459
Points
38
Location
Spencer, MA
Well they now added info to the FAQ section on the Ikon 19/20 announcement page that lists the resorts included with each pass and how many days. Full 7 (or 5) even at JH.

There goes the theory they would adjust for next year.

They could always change things but I'd hope they wouldnt be low enough to make negative changes.
 

skitheeast45

New member
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
Messages
19
Points
0
Ikon just wants to start selling the passes at the beginning of March and did a rough check with all of the partners to make sure the existing deals were working out well. Like last year, they will continue to tinker with the destinations and days over the course of the offseason.

ah, my mistake.

just caught up on the thread.

i haven't really experienced any insane crowding at ikon resorts this year, and i've skied all holiday times.

copper and winter park over x-mas week. no problems really.

copper and a-basin over mlk weekend. really bad traffic up i-70, and we knew enough to get to a-basin early to avoid a parking nightmare, but lift lines were never really bad

revelstoke, lake louise, and sunshine last week. no lines. maybe a few at louise on the snowy saturday. nothing bad.

I was at Stratton for MLK/President's Day and Tremblant over New Year's. For Stratton, MLK had shorter lines than President's Day and they were both crazy long. However, not the longest I have seen in my 100+ times skiing there even though the base lodge was possibly the most crowded(I attribute this to Snow Bowl Express spreading people out). I haven't been to Tremblant quite enough times to adequately judge what ridiculously busy meant, but it was an absolute mess in terms of lines when I was there and employees were saying it was the most crowded they had ever seen it. A-Basin has mentioned that lift lines are not their choking point, rather parking is, so your assessment makes sense. Winter Park and Copper (especially) are both on pace for record years in terms of skier visits, so maybe you are skiing the mountain well or "crowded" for them is different than "crowded" for you.

I do not believe so.

My prediction is that this entire thing falls apart within 10 years, and Robert Katz's name will become something of a joke or a "remember when" in ski circle conversation much the way Les Otten is today.

Why? Because while the pass sales data may look great today, I do not believe this is a financially sustainable model long-term.

The difference between Les Otten and Robert Katz is that Otten was able to boost revenue but the profits never kept up with the mounting debt while Katz has boosted revenue and profits with manageable debt. As of October 2018, Vail had a debt to equity ratio of 1.15, which puts it in the 39th percentile for large companies (almost middle of the pack). Companies with D/E ratios below 1.5 are generally considered solid.

The part that I do believe is unsustainable is partnership mountains. Either A) Ikon or Epic is paying a non-Vail/Alterra mountain (ie Telluride or Jackson Hole) too much per ski day ($70? $80?) where they will lose more revenue from the partnership than they would gain otherwise (ie they will pay maybe $150k to the resort but only gain $130k more in additional revenue as a result of the partnership), or B) The partner mountains are getting paid too little or nothing at all per skier day and are losing more revenue in potential ticket/pass sales without the partnership than they are gaining in total revenue from the partnership (ie Snowbasin or Sugarbush get only $20 per skier day plus an average of $30 in ancillary spending from 100k Epic/Ikon skiers for $5m in revenue while 50k of those skiers would have purchased passes directly from the mountain anyway for $80 per skier day plus the same $30 in ancillary spending for $5.5m in revenue). Before Vail purchased Triple Peaks, they had recently started a partnership for the Epic Pass similar to what Telluride has but both sides realized it made more sense for Triple Peaks to sell.

A pass that I think could work in the future for independent mountains is something like the Mountain Collective of Max Pass where no one resort conglomerate is the anchor, meaning money can be split more easily. Alternatively, a season pass at one mountain that comes with a couple 2 days or so at a few other mountains could work (this is the Power Pass). For example, the Arizona Snowbowl season pass comes with 3 days at Copper, Marmot, and a number of other mountains. If that was my home mountain/pass, I would spend a week at one of those mountains for a ski trip because I get a few days free but would still have to buy a few days worth of lift tickets. Basically gives me a discount but still gives the mountains additional revenue.
 

abc

Active member
Joined
Mar 2, 2008
Messages
3,848
Points
38
Location
Lower Hudson Valley
Debate as much as you like. Don’t buy Ikon because some unnamed internet dude pin some pictures on the web. It’ll be even shorter lift line for me!

Ive put in 20+ days in various Ikon mountains. I didn’t see anything like in the picture. But to keep proper perspective, Jackson at opening had always shocked me with their lines. I’ve gone to Jackson quite a few times BEFORE Ikon was a “thing”. That said, I had pretty good luch with snow in Jackson. So the lines may have something to do with that!
 

cdskier

Active member
Joined
Mar 26, 2015
Messages
3,734
Points
38
Location
NJ
Ikon just wants to start selling the passes at the beginning of March and did a rough check with all of the partners to make sure the existing deals were working out well. Like last year, they will continue to tinker with the destinations and days over the course of the offseason.

Tinker with destinations by possibly adding someone else, sure. Tinkering with number of days by offering less days than already stated at some resorts, not a chance once it goes on sale. You can't advertise as one thing and then take things away once you start selling them. Last year the only tinkering they did with days was adding some (i.e. allowing 7 at each of SR, SL, Loon instead of 7 combined as originally announced).
 

drjeff

Active member
Joined
Jan 18, 2006
Messages
17,150
Points
38
Location
Brooklyn, CT
Not once they start selling passes. Any negative changes would result in lawsuits.

Tinker with destinations by possibly adding someone else, sure. Tinkering with number of days by offering less days than already stated at some resorts, not a chance once it goes on sale. You can't advertise as one thing and then take things away once you start selling them. Last year the only tinkering they did with days was adding some (i.e. allowing 7 at each of SR, SL, Loon instead of 7 combined as originally announced).

Bingo.... Short of a resort listed on the pass closing, taking anything away from what is listed at the start of sales is just asking for a major problem (even if it only affects a few people), whereas adding extras on top of an already specified list of benefits will 99.99% of the time never create a problem
 

KustyTheKlown

Active member
Joined
Mar 1, 2013
Messages
2,351
Points
38
Location
Brooklyn
Ikon just wants to start selling the passes at the beginning of March and did a rough check with all of the partners to make sure the existing deals were working out well. Like last year, they will continue to tinker with the destinations and days over the course of the offseason.



I was at Stratton for MLK/President's Day and Tremblant over New Year's. For Stratton, MLK had shorter lines than President's Day and they were both crazy long. However, not the longest I have seen in my 100+ times skiing there even though the base lodge was possibly the most crowded(I attribute this to Snow Bowl Express spreading people out). I haven't been to Tremblant quite enough times to adequately judge what ridiculously busy meant, but it was an absolute mess in terms of lines when I was there and employees were saying it was the most crowded they had ever seen it. A-Basin has mentioned that lift lines are not their choking point, rather parking is, so your assessment makes sense. Winter Park and Copper (especially) are both on pace for record years in terms of skier visits, so maybe you are skiing the mountain well or "crowded" for them is different than "crowded" for you.



The difference between Les Otten and Robert Katz is that Otten was able to boost revenue but the profits never kept up with the mounting debt while Katz has boosted revenue and profits with manageable debt. As of October 2018, Vail had a debt to equity ratio of 1.15, which puts it in the 39th percentile for large companies (almost middle of the pack). Companies with D/E ratios below 1.5 are generally considered solid.

The part that I do believe is unsustainable is partnership mountains. Either A) Ikon or Epic is paying a non-Vail/Alterra mountain (ie Telluride or Jackson Hole) too much per ski day ($70? $80?) where they will lose more revenue from the partnership than they would gain otherwise (ie they will pay maybe $150k to the resort but only gain $130k more in additional revenue as a result of the partnership), or B) The partner mountains are getting paid too little or nothing at all per skier day and are losing more revenue in potential ticket/pass sales without the partnership than they are gaining in total revenue from the partnership (ie Snowbasin or Sugarbush get only $20 per skier day plus an average of $30 in ancillary spending from 100k Epic/Ikon skiers for $5m in revenue while 50k of those skiers would have purchased passes directly from the mountain anyway for $80 per skier day plus the same $30 in ancillary spending for $5.5m in revenue). Before Vail purchased Triple Peaks, they had recently started a partnership for the Epic Pass similar to what Telluride has but both sides realized it made more sense for Triple Peaks to sell.

A pass that I think could work in the future for independent mountains is something like the Mountain Collective of Max Pass where no one resort conglomerate is the anchor, meaning money can be split more easily. Alternatively, a season pass at one mountain that comes with a couple 2 days or so at a few other mountains could work (this is the Power Pass). For example, the Arizona Snowbowl season pass comes with 3 days at Copper, Marmot, and a number of other mountains. If that was my home mountain/pass, I would spend a week at one of those mountains for a ski trip because I get a few days free but would still have to buy a few days worth of lift tickets. Basically gives me a discount but still gives the mountains additional revenue.

I would never ski those ikon places in the east on a holiday. That is asking for trouble. Tremblant on a holiday weekend is a unique hell. Magic, Burke, Bolton, Platty, etc are where you ski the east on a holiday.

And BG, I have the base level pass, I’ve just visited the resorts out west that aren’t blacked out for holidays
 

skitheeast45

New member
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
Messages
19
Points
0
I would never ski those ikon places in the east on a holiday. That is asking for trouble. Tremblant on a holiday weekend is a unique hell. Magic, Burke, Bolton, Platty, etc are where you ski the east on a holiday.

And BG, I have the base level pass, I’ve just visited the resorts out west that aren’t blacked out for holidays

I love Magic and have skied there before when they have reached their lift ticket cap... it can be worse than any other mountain! Last year I skied Magic when only Red was operating (as Black was down as usual) when they reached peak and stopped selling day passes and they had a 45 min wait for the lift. Perhaps the opening of the Green Chair has helped with this problem, as I have never been there at peak this season. If I wanted to avoid the crowds skiing a normal weekend, I would go to one of the mountains you mentioned. If I wanted to avoid the crowds skiing a holiday weekend, I wouldn't go skiing.
 

NY DirtBag

Member
Joined
Jan 13, 2016
Messages
650
Points
18
Location
Mecox, NY / Winhall, VT
I love Magic and have skied there before when they have reached their lift ticket cap... it can be worse than any other mountain! Last year I skied Magic when only Red was operating (as Black was down as usual) when they reached peak and stopped selling day passes and they had a 45 min wait for the lift. Perhaps the opening of the Green Chair has helped with this problem, as I have never been there at peak this season. If I wanted to avoid the crowds skiing a normal weekend, I would go to one of the mountains you mentioned. If I wanted to avoid the crowds skiing a holiday weekend, I wouldn't go skiing.

Re: Magic - Once the new black is running there will be no more lines. I actually think they could run Black (as a quad) and green (and skip red) and be good on a holiday weekend in the future.
 

skitheeast45

New member
Joined
Nov 28, 2018
Messages
19
Points
0
Re: Magic - Once the new black is running there will be no more lines. I actually think they could run Black (as a quad) and green (and skip red) and be good on a holiday weekend in the future.

That is true. However, I think I read that they will be increasing their daily ticket sales cap once the Black 2.0 opens next year, so maybe not as big of an impact as it would otherwise be. Still, that lift will be a game changer for the mountain.
 

thetrailboss

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 4, 2004
Messages
28,129
Points
48
Location
NEK by Birth; Alta/Snowbird by Choice
Was 7 and 5 this year too. Wouldn't be shocking if access was reduced at places this next year though.

It's interesting how we're talking about Ikon/Alterra (and I personally believe they might) cares about crowds and/or the partner resorts on the pass might have the leverage to force a change. We don't have those conversations for Epic/Vail. I haven't heard how Telluride and other Epic partners crowds were, but I can't imagine they're substantially better than JHMR or LCC experienced this year.

Well....Telluride is nowhere near a major city. LCC is in the SLC metro area. Telluride is a destination area.


Sent from my iPhone using AlpineZone
 

nycskier

New member
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
481
Points
0
Location
New York, NY
19/20 Ikon details are out. My gamble that it would be god for the end of 18/19 has paid off. No I can start planning next years spring trip. We're going some place warm, where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano, I'm talking about a little place called Aspen!

Unfortunately the free spring skiing at most Ikon resorts doesnt start until April 8th so my gamble that I could use it in March turned up snake eyes! If it was valid from 3/5 when they go on sale I probably could have put 4 to 10 days on the pass before next season even began.
 

BenedictGomez

Active member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
10,655
Points
38
Location
PRNJ
And let me just say, it's not just LCC in SLC. BCC is pretty bad too on the weekend.

And with both Solitude & Brighton now on the pass, I assume this is solely the IKON effect?

I recall many posters on here loving Brighton & Solitude partially because of how "empty" they always are.
 
Top