Ikon Pass early purchase period extended; renewal discounts doubled following shortened season due to COVID-19
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As a way to brighten the outlook for skiers and riders, the deadline to purchase a reduced-price Ikon Pass has been extended, and renewal discounts have been doubled.
The deadline to purchase an early-bird pass at a lower price has been extended from April 22 to May 26, according to a news release from Alterra Mountain Co., owner of Steamboat Resort and the Ikon Pass.
For those renewing their passes, the base pass, which has certain blackout dates and fewer resort options, now starts at $599 each, a $100 discount. More expensive pass options, which offer fewer blackout dates and more destination options, start at $799 for renewing buyers, a $200 discount.
This comes as the country continues to grapple with a public health pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, which has resulted in widespread economic turmoil and a statewide stay-at-home order. As a way to prevent the spread of the virus, Gov. Jared Polis enacted an executive order on March 14, which effectively shut down all downhill skiing operations in the state for the rest of the winter season. Hours before the governor’s order, Alterra said it would close 14 of its North America destinations, including Steamboat and Winter Park, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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In light of that disappointing news, Alterra officials said they wanted to give skiers and riders something to look forward to for next season.
“These are the days when we are particularly grateful for all those in the Ikon Pass community who share our passion and enthusiasm for winter, and we want to acknowledge our appreciation and gratitude,” Chief Marketing Officer Erik Forsell said in the news release that announced the expanded discounts.
The pandemic and its resulting cuts to revenue have caused Alterra to reduce planned developments and improvements across its conglomeration of resorts. The company originally planned to make $223 million in capital improvement projects, according to Kristin Rust, director of public relations. While officials are still reviewing budgets, it looks as though about half of those projects will be cut, Rust said.
Improvements planned for Steamboat Resort include a terrain expansion, sprucing up Hazie’s Restaurant in Thunderhead Lodge and renovating the ski area’s employee housing at The Ponds. The expansion into the Pioneer Ridge area, which has become a popular destination for backcountry skiers, would grow the resort from being the fifth-largest in Colorado to the third-largest, behind Vail Mountain and Snowmass.
The resort is working with Alterra to determine if these projects will continue as planned, according to Loryn Duke, director of communications for Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp.
The resort has been working with guests who had to cancel their trips to Steamboat due to the ski area closure, Duke added. This includes people who had purchased lift tickets, rentals and ski school lessons. The resort also is working with guests who made lodging reservations with its associated properties.
Refunds do not apply to the Ikon Pass, according to Duke.
While the fresh snow on the resort may look enticing, the resort remains closed, which includes uphill access. The uphill closure came after the governor issued the stay-at-home order and regulations that prohibit gatherings of more than five people.
WIth these dampers to the ski season, Rust said Alterra has been working on other ways to spread positive messages. The company recently released a video titled “Back to the Good Times,” which looks ahead to the 2020-21 winter season. It features panoramic shots of its various resorts and skiers carving through knee-deep powder.
The narrator alludes to the bleakness of the current crisis but emphasizes its effects are temporary and better days are on the horizon.
As he says, “Grey skies bring fresh powder, and the sun will find us again.”
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