How close are Colorado ski resorts to $300 lift tickets? |

How close are Colorado ski resorts to $300 lift tickets?

Resorts charge more at the ticket window to encourage advance purchases — and control crowds

Tiney Ricciardi
The Denver Post
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post
Skiers and snowboarders wait in line for tickets as they arrive for opening day on October 17, 2021 at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Colorado. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area becomes the second ski area to open in Colorado behind Wolf Creek Ski Area for the 2021-22 ski season.
Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

Vail Resorts recently announced prices for next ski season’s Epic Pass and Epic Pass Local, which are now on sale for $909 and $676, respectively. That’s an 8% increase compared to the season prior for unlimited access to some or all of Vail’s skiing destinations. But for folks who plan to ski five days or more at Colorado’s biggest resorts, that’s about as cheap as it gets.

According to the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), daily lift tickets in the Rocky Mountain region have increased from an average price of $97 in 2013 to $197 in 2022. That figure aggregates prices from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana.

In other words, skiers who don’t buy passes in advance pay significantly more than those who do, especially if they buy them on busy days. That’s because more resorts have embraced the idea of dynamic pricing on daily tickets, meaning the cost at the box office window fluctuates depending on consumer demand and other factors. While the practice isn’t new, it has become more widespread thanks, in part, to pandemic restrictions that forced resorts to limit crowds.

Advocates say dynamic pricing enables ski area operators to prepare for and provide guests with a better experience, but others see it as price gouging. One ski area in Arizona, for example, recently came under fire when the price for a daily pass exceeded $300 following a big storm.

So far, Colorado hasn’t hit that mark, but it may not be far away. Walk up to the ticket window at Vail Ski Resort the week of March 13 and you’ll be paying $275 for a day pass. Steamboat Springs Ski Resort is also charging $275 per day on select dates in March.

Read the full story on

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Summit Daily is embarking on a multiyear project to digitize its archives going back to 1989 and make them available to the public in partnership with the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection. The full project is expected to cost about $165,000. All donations made in 2023 will go directly toward this project.

Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.