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Epic Pass just got more Epic

skitheeast45

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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.

I would not be surprised to see Alterra invest in a new lift at Solitude this summer to combat the Ikon effect. It's traffic is way up due to it being the only unlimited resort in the area, although the 7 days at Brighton, Deer Valley, and Alta/Snowbird have helped. Solitude's hourly lift capacity is only 16,600 and Brighton's is 13,200. For comparison, Alta's is 16,840 and Snowbird's is 18,500, so LCC has an hourly capacity 5,540 (~18%) above BCC, which was fine when BCC had less traffic, but creates problems when the canyons start having similar amounts of traffic. A new Sunrise detachable at Solitude and new lift either in between Milly and Crest or east of Great Western at Brighton could be game changers.
 

crazy

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I would not be surprised to see Alterra invest in a new lift at Solitude this summer to combat the Ikon effect. It's traffic is way up due to it being the only unlimited resort in the area, although the 7 days at Brighton, Deer Valley, and Alta/Snowbird have helped. Solitude's hourly lift capacity is only 16,600 and Brighton's is 13,200. For comparison, Alta's is 16,840 and Snowbird's is 18,500, so LCC has an hourly capacity 5,540 (~18%) above BCC, which was fine when BCC had less traffic, but creates problems when the canyons start having similar amounts of traffic. A new Sunrise detachable at Solitude and new lift either in between Milly and Crest or east of Great Western at Brighton could be game changers.

Does Brighton own the backcountry between Milly and Crest? If it's Forest Service land they would have to go through a long process to make it part of their resort lease, and Save Our Canyons would fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. Save Our Canyons wants the current resort boundaries to stay in place forever, and for mountains like Alta with private land holdings outside of their current skiable acreage to give up those private land holdings to backcountry skiers.
 

BenedictGomez

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Save Our Canyons would fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. Save Our Canyons wants the current resort boundaries to stay in place forever, and for mountains like Alta with private land holdings outside of their current skiable acreage to give up those private land holdings to backcountry skiers.


Reading between the lines, I'm pretty sure Save Our Canyons wants the ski areas to close forever and have bicycles, solar powered buses, and non-farting unicorns, as the only LCC/BCC access.

Reviewing their stuff, they seem to be a mixed-bag of 50:50 eco-extremists & selfish backcountry hogs cobbled together for the same goal. It's really a shame, because OneWasatch would lead to massive economic expansion for the entire area.
 

slatham

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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.

That would be a good problem for them to have. IMHO a fully functioning Black quad added to Red and Green will add more capacity than the resulting increase in skier visits, at least initially. Possible (and obvious) exception is a full on Powder Day over a holiday weekend. I was there on such a day this year - MLK Sunday - and even with that crowd the addition of a Quad would have all but eliminated the lines. Now what none of us know is, how many people stayed away that day knowing that with Black not running lines would be long? And how many people were turned away after reaching cap (someone here does know this).

On the pass discussion, I would hope that Mountain Collective and Freedom pass might form some viable third option that might include Magic and other independents.

I stand by my prediction that overcrowding on holiday weekends (or even normal weekends) will force a radical change to these passes, and in the process probably turn off a bunch of people to the skiing experience. Lose lose.
 

machski

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I would not be surprised to see Alterra invest in a new lift at Solitude this summer to combat the Ikon effect. It's traffic is way up due to it being the only unlimited resort in the area, although the 7 days at Brighton, Deer Valley, and Alta/Snowbird have helped. Solitude's hourly lift capacity is only 16,600 and Brighton's is 13,200. For comparison, Alta's is 16,840 and Snowbird's is 18,500, so LCC has an hourly capacity 5,540 (~18%) above BCC, which was fine when BCC had less traffic, but creates problems when the canyons start having similar amounts of traffic. A new Sunrise detachable at Solitude and new lift either in between Milly and Crest or east of Great Western at Brighton could be game changers.
From what I saw on Sunday, Brighton seemed like they were getting packed in early but Solitude was no problem getting in or parking. They did have cars outside on the road at the end of the day, but the place really quieted down after noon time, hardly a line anywhere after that. I felt lines at Solitude were fine for a weekend, not bad at all. They could use a better flow into the lift and RFID gates, but the lift capacity seemed more than adequate. Perhaps a 6 on the summit and then move that quad to replace Eagle which has to be one of the oldest Dopp HSQ's still in full service.

As to Brighton, a transfer lift over the parking lot between Millie and main Lodge would be nice. The problem there is all the choice terrain you see is mostly OB, kind of sad. My guess is they don't own any of it nor have access rights to it. So it is likely what it is.

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BenedictGomez

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I stand by my prediction that overcrowding on holiday weekends (or even normal weekends) will force a radical change to these passes, and in the process probably turn off a bunch of people to the skiing experience. Lose lose.

The far greater threat to the industry is that people never start skiing & snowboarding in the first place due to the artificially high single-day ticket rates. And you cannot model this.

Here's my allegory for what I believe is currently in the early days of taking shape in the US ski industry.

Imagine you find an enormously large lake, and there is a very tasty species of fish in that lake. The lake is positively teeming with fish. So instead of fishing poles, one day you decide to start using very large nets to harvest as many fish as possible at once, and suddenly you're making money hand-over-fist selling fish. This lake is so vast and with so many disconnected regions where the fish come from, that it is initially difficult, if not nearly impossible to realize that after 10 or 12 years, you're starting to see fewer & fewer small fish. In fact, you may not even notice this harmful phenomena for a while given the number of medium to big fish in the lake still seem relatively plentiful. Eventually this "over-harvesting" catches up to the entire fishing industry and harms everyone connected to the lake.

I've seen this before in other industries, which is a big part of why I genuinely believe Katz is going to ultimately fail, and I also genuinely believe it will look to nearly all observers as if he's wildly successful, right up until the point that he isnt.
 

AdironRider

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The far greater threat to the industry is that people never start skiing & snowboarding in the first place due to the artificially high single-day ticket rates. And you cannot model this.

Here's my allegory for what I believe is currently in the early days of taking shape in the US ski industry.

Imagine you find an enormously large lake, and there is a very tasty species of fish in that lake. The lake is positively teeming with fish. So instead of fishing poles, one day you decide to start using very large nets to harvest as many fish as possible at once, and suddenly you're making money hand-over-fist selling fish. This lake is so vast and with so many disconnected regions where the fish come from, that it is initially difficult, if not nearly impossible to realize that after 10 or 12 years, you're starting to see fewer & fewer small fish. In fact, you may not even notice this harmful phenomena for a while given the number of medium to big fish in the lake still seem relatively plentiful. Eventually this "over-harvesting" catches up to the entire fishing industry and harms everyone connected to the lake.

I've seen this before in other industries, which is a big part of why I genuinely believe Katz is going to ultimately fail, and I also genuinely believe it will look to nearly all observers as if he's wildly successful, right up until the point that he isnt.

I don't know man, I think the ski industry went away from the affordable mom and pop places a long time ago. Sure there are a few holdouts like McIntyre or Suicide Six, but the vast majority of kids and adults who get into skiing are already relatively well off. This was the case even back in the day.

Even if lift tickets are 20 bucks, you still need to drive a substantial distance, have a full kit of winter gear, rentals, food. The sport has never been THAT affordable and while they are basically holding steady overall with skier visits, I don't think you are going to see the industry completely die off in 10 years.
 

FBGM

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Vail is such a cancer to the ski community. Just drove past that truck stop off I-70 last week and almost puked.
 

abc

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Even if lift tickets are 20 bucks, you still need to drive a substantial distance, have a full kit of winter gear, rentals, food. The sport has never been THAT affordable and while they are basically holding steady overall with skier visits, I don't think you are going to see the industry completely die off in 10 years.
somehow, the Europeans managed to get to the Alps, rent/buy ski gear & winter clothing, feed themselves during the ski days!

either them Europeans are a lot wealthier than Americans, or this “skiing being a rich man’s sport” aren’t really true.
 

mbedle

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Reading between the lines, I'm pretty sure Save Our Canyons wants the ski areas to close forever and have bicycles, solar powered buses, and non-farting unicorns, as the only LCC/BCC access.

Reviewing their stuff, they seem to be a mixed-bag of 50:50 eco-extremists & selfish backcountry hogs cobbled together for the same goal. It's really a shame, because OneWasatch would lead to massive economic expansion for the entire area.

That might just be one of your best responses. non-farting unicorns... lol BG you just made my morning.
 

mbedle

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The far greater threat to the industry is that people never start skiing & snowboarding in the first place due to the artificially high single-day ticket rates. And you cannot model this.

Here's my allegory for what I believe is currently in the early days of taking shape in the US ski industry.

Imagine you find an enormously large lake, and there is a very tasty species of fish in that lake. The lake is positively teeming with fish. So instead of fishing poles, one day you decide to start using very large nets to harvest as many fish as possible at once, and suddenly you're making money hand-over-fist selling fish. This lake is so vast and with so many disconnected regions where the fish come from, that it is initially difficult, if not nearly impossible to realize that after 10 or 12 years, you're starting to see fewer & fewer small fish. In fact, you may not even notice this harmful phenomena for a while given the number of medium to big fish in the lake still seem relatively plentiful. Eventually this "over-harvesting" catches up to the entire fishing industry and harms everyone connected to the lake.

I've seen this before in other industries, which is a big part of why I genuinely believe Katz is going to ultimately fail, and I also genuinely believe it will look to nearly all observers as if he's wildly successful, right up until the point that he isnt.

I wonder how many people actually learn to ski or ride at the major resorts compared to the smaller and mid size resorts. Day pass prices at the smaller to mid-size resorts are still pretty low and affordable. Even Vails feeder hill resorts have pretty reasonable day passes. I just don't see the buying up of the major resorts and increasing their day pass prices being a major deterrent to the majority of people that want to learn to ski or ride.
 

urungus

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I don't know man, I think the ski industry went away from the affordable mom and pop places a long time ago. Sure there are a few holdouts like McIntyre or Suicide Six, but the vast majority of kids and adults who get into skiing are already relatively well off. This was the case even back in the day.

Weekend ticket to Suicide Six is $75 which is pretty expensive for a hill of its size.
 

tumbler

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I wonder how many people actually learn to ski or ride at the major resorts compared to the smaller and mid size resorts. Day pass prices at the smaller to mid-size resorts are still pretty low and affordable. Even Vails feeder hill resorts have pretty reasonable day passes. I just don't see the buying up of the major resorts and increasing their day pass prices being a major deterrent to the majority of people that want to learn to ski or ride.

I think a great number of people buy packages of lessons, groups, etc that are all inclusive with equipment and lift ticket at the big resorts. All resorts offer deals and everyone nowadays is looking for deals.
 

BenedictGomez

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I wonder how many people actually learn to ski or ride at the major resorts compared to the smaller and mid size resorts. Day pass prices at the smaller to mid-size resorts are still pretty low and affordable. Even Vails feeder hill resorts have pretty reasonable day passes. I just don't see the buying up of the major resorts and increasing their day pass prices being a major deterrent to the majority of people that want to learn to ski or ride.

Even some of these smaller hills are being bought as Vail & Alterra have grown increasingly acquisitive. But frankly, regardless of who owns the small hills, the more important thing is that Vail & Alterra have massively boosted their lift ticket prices, and as a consequence price inflation is already bleeding through to the smaller hills. As a "non-pass person" I have definitely noticed this over the last 5'ish years, single day tix at non-IKON, non-Vail resorts are on the rise. Jay Peak is ~$90 now. Little Smuggs is ~$80, etc....
 

BenedictGomez

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I think a great number of people buy packages of lessons, groups, etc that are all inclusive with equipment and lift ticket at the big resorts. All resorts offer deals and everyone nowadays is looking for deals.

Everyone should, but my belief is that it's a far smaller percentage of people than you might think. I worked at Stowe's Ski School for 6 seasons, and admittedly with no sort of study or way to prove this, it is my belief from my experience that more people either show up with ski shop rentals and buy a lift ticket, or get ski rentals at the mountain but forego the beginner lesson.
 

skitheeast45

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Lift ticket prices are up across the board because costs have simply increased drastically. Making snow instead of relying on natural snow is a significant cost increase in terms of electricity usage, creating a water pipe network, etc. Additionally, ski lifts are more expensive to install than ever before (even fixed grips) because of less competition and more regulation. The government agreements with resorts on federal/state land are also often lopsided and, unfortunately, create another fixed cost variable, as resorts have to pay a fee per skier day (instead of a flat rate which could lower costs with higher traffic).

Does Brighton own the backcountry between Milly and Crest? If it's Forest Service land they would have to go through a long process to make it part of their resort lease, and Save Our Canyons would fight tooth and nail to prevent that from happening. Save Our Canyons wants the current resort boundaries to stay in place forever, and for mountains like Alta with private land holdings outside of their current skiable acreage to give up those private land holdings to backcountry skiers.


I am not sure who the owner is, but I do know at least some of it is within Brighton's SUP. And yes, Save Our Canyons will put up a fight, but they have time and time again and yet Snowbird built out Mineral Basin and has plans to do the same in Mary Ellen Gulch. It's such a shame Save Our Canyons, a group with the intention of protecting the environment, attacks the one industry that relies on the environment so much that it is trying as hard as it can to prevent climate change, keep as much of the natural beauty as possible, etc. They would be better off going after polluters in SLC, trying to build a train or gondola in BCC/LCC to replace car traffic, etc.
 

ss20

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Word on the gondi today at Killington was over President's week they sold out of rentals and started putting bindings on entry-level skis for sale from their shops...:dontknow:

I'm finishing my 5th season teaching at my local hill...can't say I've noticed an increase or decrease in lessons from my eye-ball view. More foreign nationalities though. I've also noticed this at other resorts I visit in the northeast.
 

mrvpilgrim

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some mountains are making the effort to make learning more affordable with first time programs and low cost tickets to the learning slopes
My home mountain is Sugarbush
Last weekend my daughter had a non skier friend up for the weekend
2 hour first timer group lesson(which turned out to be a private as she was the only one signed up), rentals for the day,plus a beginners lift ticket for the day came to about $115
not listed at the ticket window but always available is a $30 ticket good on the magic carpet and the village lift
while I am not familiar with other mountains offering I believe most must offer similar opportunities
 

crazy

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some mountains are making the effort to make learning more affordable with first time programs and low cost tickets to the learning slopes
My home mountain is Sugarbush
Last weekend my daughter had a non skier friend up for the weekend
2 hour first timer group lesson(which turned out to be a private as she was the only one signed up), rentals for the day,plus a beginners lift ticket for the day came to about $115
not listed at the ticket window but always available is a $30 ticket good on the magic carpet and the village lift
while I am not familiar with other mountains offering I believe most must offer similar opportunities

Sunday River offers a beginner ticket for $40 good on the Sundance Carpet, South Ridge Express Quad and Little White Cap Quad. With LWC thrown in, that accesses so nice terrain including a couple decent glades off LWC.

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Many beginners don't realize that this is all the terrain that they need to learn on. Sugarbush and Sunday River are awesome mountains with loads of terrain, but for someone who is just starting to learn how to ski, all of that terrain is overkill and most of it inaccessible. The package deals for true beginners of lift ticket + rentals + group lessons are often a really good deal. Even though their skiing friends might be talking about big mountains like Sugarbush, Sunday River, Killington, Stowe, etc. true beginners are much better off sticking to smaller, independent resorts to learn. Near Boston, I would direct beginners to Ski Bradford, Nashoba Valley, Ski Ward. Yes, they're small and don't have a lot of terrain, but they're cheap and great to learn on.

When people talk about the cost of day tickets at the most expensive mountains in the country discouraging people to get into skiing in the first place, I think they're forgetting the bigger picture. Lift ticket + rentals + group lesson combos for true beginners are relatively affordable, even at big resorts. More than that, true beginners should be learning at small, regional mountains (or even hills) that have much lower day ticket prices. Plus, let's not forget that day tickets are merely one piece of a large puzzle: look at how much transportation and equipment costs just to be able to get to the hill and ski when you get there!
 
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