Ski resorts nudge lift tickets toward $100
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY – Single-day lift ticket prices are inching upward in the High Country as the holidays approach, with some nearing the $100 mark.
Copper Mountain began charging its single-day holiday rate of $89 Saturday. A week ago, adult one-day tickets jumped to $89 at the Aspen Skiing Co., Beaver Creek and Vail; Aspen raised the price again Saturday to $96, unchanged from last year’s holiday price. Breckenridge and Keystone have each charged $85 for single-day tickets during the past week.
Last season, Vail came in at $97 once the holidays were in full swing. Vail Resorts spokeswoman Kelly Ladyga said peak-season pricing is still under consideration and will likely be announced this week for its four resorts in Summit and Eagle counties.
Arapahoe Basin decided not to raise lift ticket prices this season, relative to last year. The ski area will begin charging its regular-season rate of $65 on Thursday. Until then, one-day lift tickets purchased at the window will remain $49 for adults.
“With the economy, we wanted to let people know we’re keeping prices the same, and hopefully that allows more people to ski,” Arapahoe Basin spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer said.
A customer service representative in Steamboat’s reservations office said the walk-up single-day lift ticket price during the holidays would be at least $97 – up $6 from last season. The ski area’s website said three-day tickets will be sold for $95 per day through Christmas and for $97 per day Dec. 26 through Jan. 3.
Telluride has already announced it will charge $95 at Christmas, the same as last season.
The Utah luxury resort of Deer Valley will charge $90 during the holidays, up $4 from last season. Stowe, Vt., is holding the line at $89.
The ticket prices are for a full day of skiing for adults, ages 18 through 64.
Aspen and Vail urge their short-term customers to buy multi-day tickets for the best rate. The Aspen Skiing Co.’s website promotes four-day adult tickets at $348, or $87 per day during the holidays. Aspen spokesman Jeff Hanle said multi-day discounts will actually start with two-day tickets.
Ski industry officials insist the single-day lift ticket price is over-scrutinized. Sales of single-day tickets are a small part of the overall market, yet they always garner a lot of media attention. Hanle said single-day ticket sales consistently account for only about 10 percent of Skico’s ticket sale revenues.
Discounted tickets are available at grocery stores, vacation reservations companies and ski rental shops. For many resorts, visitors can receive discounts on lift tickets when they purchase online a few days in advance of their arrival. Visitors can also find deals on tickets when their purchase is combined with lodging reservations.
Saturday, Safeway and the Mountains Activities Booking Center in Frisco both offered single-day Copper tickets for $4 less than the window price. The savings are greater for multi-day tickets.
Consultant Jerry Jones of Avon, a former ski industry executive, said the media tends to cover the ski industry differently than it does, say, the airline industry. Media stories typically quote the lowest fares available rather than first-class fares for commercial airline flights, but the media is fixed on the single-day lift ticket price.
He said it’s just a matter of time until the $100 barrier is broken for a lift ticket, if it doesn’t happen this season. He doesn’t believe it will cause a problem for the resort or the industry to top that level.
“I think it’s a non-event,” Jones said. “The press will go after it for a little while. It will just be an item of interest.”
Julie Sutor be reached at (970) 668-4630 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Aspen Times’ Scott Condon contributed to this story.
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