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The "Sugarbush Thread"

cdskier

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Look, I have a season pass and have for many years. I haven't bought a window price day ticket at Sugarbush in at least a decade. The whole window rate discussion is related to its relative expense as related to other ways of acquiring a day's (or a season's) access to the mountain. It is not helpful for pass holders to wave around that they are only paying $10 a day because they ski so much, etc. It comes across as a little smug and self-serving; it is a bit like saying "hey, I've got mine, so I don't give a crap about the casual skier". Well, $10 or $25 as an average source of revenue all the skier days would put SB out of business fast, so you are getting a subsidy if your costs are that low. So have some tolerance for those that might not like the idea of anyone paying $129 for a day.

I get it too that SB is aligned with the greater industry in charging much increased window rates. I am not asking for SB to atone for the industry trend. I just lament that the trend is a little ugly for the casual skier.

I know a number of casual skiers that only go to sb a few days a year. They don’t pay anywhere near the window price either. You just have to be a smart consumer and pay attention. No one should ever pay a window rate (even day of from the parking lot you can save something just ordering from your phone)


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Orca

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I know a number of casual skiers that only go to sb a few days a year. They don’t pay anywhere near the window price either. You just have to be a smart consumer and pay attention. No one should ever pay a window rate (even day of from the parking lot you can save something just ordering from your phone)

We agree. No one should pay that rate.
 

bdfreetuna

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smaller feeder hills are incredibly important for all of us and many of them are doing well. In our back yard Cochran’s and Bolton are great example

lol Win.. Bolton Valley is not a "feeder hill". It's a destination for skiers who enjoy tree skiing, powder conditions, low crowds, and good deals.

I drive up from Western MA and day trip Bolton Valley usually a few times a season because the terrain/value/conditions is a winning combination.

You might as well call Mad River Glen a feeder hill :lol:

I haven't read all the recent posts in this thread but as long as (any ski area) charges $139 walk up rate in Vermont, it's going to be a topic that comes up.

10 years ago Stowe went triple digits and everyone wigged out like it was breaking a sacred oath. I guess if it keeps increasing well beyond the rate of inflation now, that's OK though.
 

KustyTheKlown

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its also closest to burlington, has inexpensive lift tix, even less expensive night ski tix. its a large feeder hill, but its still a feeder hill in that it serves as an inexpensive option for noobies and is closest to the biggest town in the state.
 

bdfreetuna

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its also closest to burlington, has inexpensive lift tix, even less expensive night ski tix. its a large feeder hill, but its still a feeder hill in that it serves as an inexpensive option for noobies and is closest to the biggest town in the state.

I guess Sugarbush is now a feeder hill for Winter Park, Deer Valley and Stratton then
 

KustyTheKlown

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well, we're using feeder hill in two different ways. both make sense for the term

1) a place for beginners to learn inexpensively before graduating to bigger/better places. bolton fits in here, tho i agree its a lot bigger and better than the typical northeastern/midatlantic feeder hill

2) a place owned by or affiliated with one of the conglomerates where the major purpose of the affiliation or acquisition was to get locals to visit the far off destination resorts. sugarbush does fit this definition. tho i dont think sugarbush is feeding stratton. stratton and sugarbush are both feeding winter park tho for sure.
 

bdfreetuna

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Totally agree. Just seemed odd to lump in Bolton Valley -- a hill I ski more often than Sugarbush for a few reasons -- with Cochran's (what is that like 200 vertical feet or less?)

A feeder hill is not a hill that expert skiers will travel to ski their quality terrain. If you call Bolton a feeder hill, Mad River Glen and Pico fall into the same category. Burke too, right?

So at that point it's basically just calling every ski resort that's not quite as big and expensive a feeder hill. A few "feeder hills" do exist in Vermont, but they are almost never discussed here.

Massachusetts and New York have a lot more actual feeder hills, such as Blanford Ski Area, West Mountain, Butternut, Nashoba Valley, Titus Mountain, etc

To call a 1,700 vert mountain on I-89 with first rate tree skiing, 3 mountains, legit technical terrain and > 300" snowfall a feeder hill just sounds like someone speaking from a radically different perspective.

By the way the Bolton/Burlington locals and regular skiers don't consider it a feeder hill either, and an extra half hour to Sugarbush doesn't exactly make it out of range. It's the ticket price!

But if Bolton is a feeder thank God feeder hills such as this do exist
 

tumbler

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Win- snow report says “lifts start turning at 8am”. Does that mean everything or just the usual bravo HG and GMX? If all opening at 8, I likey.
 

HowieT2

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My first day of skiing was at The Concord December 1962. It was my father's first day too.

My mom was already an avid skier.

I first skied at grossingers around 1971.

kind of silly to use the nevelle as an example of a failed ski resort.

i dont know if this is a factor in the lack of growth in skiers, but, and please don’t take this the wrong way, isn’t population growth in the United States mostly among people from warm climates, like central/South America, Southeast Asia, and Africa? Cold weather activities are just totally foreign to people from these cultures, which is totally understandable.
 

Los

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kind of silly to use the nevelle as an example of a failed ski resort.

YES - totally bizarre! Of ALL the closed ski areas, they pick the NEVELE as the example of a changing/declining ski industry?!? The Nevele was one of the classic Catskill resorts, all of which are now gone (and have mostly been for some time now). The ski area was a minor accessory to the hotel (by contrast, the Monster golf course at the Concord was it's own attraction and survived even after the resort closed). The closing of Nevele's ski area was a byproduct of the closing of the Nevele hotel, which itself was a byproduct of a the overall death of the Catskill resorts. I would guess that whatever changes occurred in the ski industry up until the time the Nevele closed had ALMOST NOTHING TO DO with the Nevele closing or the closing of its accessory ski area!
 

crazy

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lol Win.. Bolton Valley is not a "feeder hill". It's a destination for skiers who enjoy tree skiing, powder conditions, low crowds, and good deals.

There's no reason why Bolton Valley can't be both a feeder hill, and a legitimate destination. If we define a feeder hill as somewhere near a metropolitan area with affordable lessons where lots of people have learned how to ski, then yes, Bolton Valley is a feeder hill. Talk to skiers who grew up in the Burlington area, and a lot of them will say that they learned how to ski at Bolton Valley.

What's tripping you up is that most feeder hills are not also destinations with good vertical, terrain, and snowfall. Bolton Valley checks both boxes. Now, to be sure, I bet that if you polled people at Bolton Valley on a weekend, you would see fewer out-of-state skiers than a place like Sugarbush or Stowe or even MRG. It's more of a locals mountain. But I agree with you completely that Bolton Valley is worth traveling from far away to check out. It's truly a gem.
 
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crazy

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This whole argument about the price of walk up day tickets is getting old. I really do not care at all. I have been buying a season pass for the better part of 33 years and have never had my daily cost go over $25 a day. If you are not savvy enough to find a deal that suits you then tough. Personally I hope skier visits go down so the crowds will go away. But what irks me the most is people think is it some kind of right or responsibility of the business owners to provide an inexpensive ticket to people. it is not and guess what, skiing is a very expensive operation for these people. I have zero issues with the pricing structure right now. It is is actually cheaper for me to ski right now then in the past. Well except for when I did college passes.

I completely agree.

All of the talk of high walk-up rates killing the industry is way overblown. People for the most part are savvy in finding deals, I just don't buy this argument that casual skiers are ignorant and don't know to look for deals before showing up. I'm sure that some people get burned once paying walk-up rates, but then you learn and it doesn't happen again. There are so many apps and websites these days for finding deals, there just isn't really an excuse for paying walk-up rates.

For some reason people are stuck in the mindset that the cost of skiing is the cost of a walk-up ticket. That's certainly not the case in other industries like hotels, where you would be laughed at for complaining about the cost of a hotel that you didn't book in advance.

It doesn't seem genuine to me to complain about the cost of a walk-up Sugarbush lift ticket without also discussing the many ways that Sugarbush helps customers realize a lot of value through pass products, four packs, advanced sales, and more.
 

Orca

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It doesn't seem genuine to me to complain about the cost of a walk-up Sugarbush lift ticket without also discussing the many ways that Sugarbush helps customers realize a lot of value through pass products, four packs, advanced sales, and more.

Well it is genuine. It is the large and growing disparity between the window rate and the other products that is the crux of the discussion. The question isn't why not use clever means to reduce your ski day cost; the question is why that has become so necessary. Why does the window rate have to be so punishing?
 

mikec142

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Well it is genuine. It is the large and growing disparity between the window rate and the other products that is the crux of the discussion. The question isn't why not use clever means to reduce your ski day cost; the question is why that has become so necessary. Why does the window rate have to be so punishing?

A couple of thoughts. First, it's a business. And if it's to be an ongoing successful business it needs cashflow. So the earlier they can obtain cash, the healthier the business will be. Second, because businesses require healthy cashflow, it behooves them to incentivize their customers to pay up front. How do you do that? By giving upfront discounts and making late decisions more painful. Last, I think that Win and crew are exceptional business people. But other than the kindness of their hearts, they should be combining their best interests with the best interests of their customers to find the ideal mix. It's not the customer first. It's the customer and the business at the same time to find the optimal situation.

And, my final point...the whole discussion of the high cost of day passes is tiring.
 

bdfreetuna

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And, my final point...the whole discussion of the high cost of day passes is tiring.

This is becoming a trend on this forum: Participate in discussing a topic wherein some disagreement exists and at the same time complain about the fact that it's being discussed.

Blame whoever decided to charge $139 walk up rate in Vermont, reducing that window rate would eliminate the entire discussion.
 

Greg

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I don't see why so many here are now consumed with complaining about this stuff. High window ticket prices, megapass hate, more crowds, blah blah, blah. Newsflash - skiing has always been relatively expensive and midwinter Saturdays at major reports have always been crowded. Just friggin' ski. Or don't.
 

bdfreetuna

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I don't see why so many here are now consumed with complaining about this stuff. High window ticket prices, megapass hate, more crowds, blah blah, blah. Newsflash - skiing has always been relatively expensive and midwinter Saturdays at major reports have always been crowded. Just friggin' ski. Or don't.

Why are people complaining about the biggest problems in the sport of skiing on a ski forum? C'mon.

How is Bretton Woods able to charge $104/$88 when they do more grooming and snowmaking and just installed a new summit gondola? Maybe not apples to apples ... but I'm curious why not, and why such a large price difference?

The ski areas that decide to charge the "new highest rates" are a problem for everyone even if you don't want to ski there; it causes prices to go up everywhere in a proportional sense. We're way beyond the rate of inflation on these price hikes. Why wouldn't you complain unless you have unlimited funds to play with?
 

crazy

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Why are people complaining about the biggest problems in the sport of skiing on a ski forum? C'mon.

How is Bretton Woods able to charge $104/$88 when they do more grooming and snowmaking and just installed a new summit gondola? Maybe not apples to apples ... but I'm curious why not, and why such a large price difference?

The ski areas that decide to charge the "new highest rates" are a problem for everyone even if you don't want to ski there; it causes prices to go up everywhere in a proportional sense. We're way beyond the rate of inflation on these price hikes. Why wouldn't you complain unless you have unlimited funds to play with?

To your first point about Bretton Woods: pricing is generally dictated by supply and demand. If Sugarbush is charging $139 as their walk-up price, that probably means that either 1) there are people willing to pay that price, or 2) that price encourages people to buy tickets or passes in advance. If nobody was willing to pay $139, or transition to another pass product, Sugarbush would be forced to lower their prices to compete. It's not like Sugarbush is a monopoly, MRG is right next door, and there are plenty of other high-quality resorts in the area, including Bolton Valley, Cochran's, the Middlebury Snow Bowl, Stowe, Killington, Pico, etc.

To your second point saying that unless we all have unlimited funds we should all be complaining...have you been reading the rest of the thread? There are tons of examples of people here who have passes who are skiing for as little as $10/day. The reason that I am not complaining isn't that I have unlimited funds, far from it, it's that I do my research and make smart decisions. I have the Ikon Pass along with some other early season discounts. My per-day cost of skiing is pretty low. I'm getting the best value that I've ever gotten as far as ski passes are concerned.

Due to price discrimination, most people are NOT paying the walk-up rates! Win, if you have data on what percentage of skier visits are from people who paid walk-up rates, or even what the average yield is per customer as you were alluding to earlier, that would be helpful. I wouldn't be surprised if you aren't allowed to disclose that data, but it would be informative for these discussions.
 

bdfreetuna

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To your first point about Bretton Woods: pricing is generally dictated by supply and demand. If Sugarbush is charging $139 as their walk-up price, that probably means that either 1) there are people willing to pay that price, or 2) that price encourages people to buy tickets or passes in advance. If nobody was willing to pay $139, or transition to another pass product, Sugarbush would be forced to lower their prices to compete. It's not like Sugarbush is a monopoly, MRG is right next door, and there are plenty of other high-quality resorts in the area, including Bolton Valley, Cochran's, the Middlebury Snow Bowl, Stowe, Killington, Pico, etc.

I think the expectation is Bretton Woods prices will rise pretty soon. Right now it's practically a bargain among top-tier Eastern ski resorts. On the topic of MRG they've raised their prices quite a bit in the last couple years, which I blame partially on Sugarbush raising the prices next door so drastically... good for them I guess, I still get to ski there 3 times a year on various promo passes.

To your second point saying that unless we all have unlimited funds we should all be complaining...have you been reading the rest of the thread? There are tons of examples of people here who have passes who are skiing for as little as $10/day. The reason that I am not complaining isn't that I have unlimited funds, far from it, it's that I do my research and make smart decisions. I have the Ikon Pass along with some other early season discounts. My per-day cost of skiing is pretty low. I'm getting the best value that I've ever gotten as far as ski passes are concerned.

I hear that for sure. However I'm going to go the other direction and support/use the Indy Pass (starting next year, I have enough passes for this year already). I'm not able to drive to a place like Sugarbush often enough, and I'd get bored if I skied any place more than a few times a season. That's my issue and my "problem" I guess.

Due to price discrimination, most people are NOT paying the walk-up rates! Win, if you have data on what percentage of skier visits are from people who paid walk-up rates, or even what the average yield is per customer as you were alluding to earlier, that would be helpful. I wouldn't be surprised if you aren't allowed to disclose that data, but it would be informative for these discussions.

"Price discrimination" sure is an interesting term. I think it mostly discriminates against new skiers and/or recent immigrants who have various hurdles acquainting themselves with not only a new (expensive) sport but also the topographical and social learning curve involved. Learning how to get tickets without paying window rate is certainly a learning curve as well.

Appreciate the nuanced & productive reply.
 
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