Why Colorado’s ski industry wants you to buy lift tickets like you do airplane tickets, but who’s being left out? | SummitDaily.com

Why Colorado’s ski industry wants you to buy lift tickets like you do airplane tickets, but who’s being left out?

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

Tiney Ricciardi
The Denver Post
Skiers and snowboarders ride the Montezuma chairlift during opening day at Keystone Resort on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022.
Jason Connolly/Summit Daily News

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 DenverPost.com.

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