Holy smokes, Batman! More like, holy Benjamins actually. Vail’s day lift pass for 2007-2008 will cost you $92. With that kind of pricing, fewer and fewer kids will be learning to ski unless they have a trust fund and last names like Hilton, Gates, Buffet or Moneybags. The next most expensive resorts are Aspen ($87) and Deer Valley ($81).
I have a hard time believing that the majority of skeirs can realistically afford to ski at those prices. Yeah, fixed resort costs increase every year like the price of gas, but at some point you end up hurting the locals who just want to get out on the slopes and bring their families along. I guess the majority of Vail’s tickets are sold to destination skiers with bundled lodging and lift tickets, so they don’t end up paying full price. But, what do locals do with their families? Maybe there are no “locals” at Aspen? I dunno…
I hear from lots of Utah locals that it simply isn’t financially feasible to be a skiing family. I’m beginning to feel the reality of that with a growing family and the possibility of having to pay for 5 lift tickets just to ski together. It’s a tough realization and one that has certainly driven my passion for backcountry skiing.
Still, as lift tickets continue their rise in prices, there are a few bargains to be had–even in Utah.
The Elusive $38 Lift Ticket?
For the lowest lift ticket prices in the state, you’ll have to head north to Cache Valley–home of Beaver Mountain where you’ll find an astounding $38 lift ticket! I haven’t paid $38 to ski anywhere in a LONG time. On top of that, their full-price adult season pass is just $490. I guess living in Logan does have its privileges. Both Sundance and Brian Head are the next least expensive at $45. Sundance also has great midweek pricing and a sweet $15 twilight (2:30 – 4:30 pm weekdays) lift ticket.
I’ll admit, you do get what you pay for with high-speed lifts, fancy lodges, impeccable grooming, etc. However, I’d give that all up for the reality of taking my entire family skiing every weekend. And, Beaver Mountain is one of those places that reminds me of the type of skiing I did growing up skiing in Washington State at Alpental.
I want to know what you all think about the ever-rising lift prices? Anyone turned off by them? Anyone change their skiing habits (like going backcountry skiing more often)? Chime in below…
I think it is ridiculous. I skied the Beav today and could barely afford the $38 hit to my account. Granted, I am a college student, but at this rate, by the time I graduate I will need to either strike gold or stay in Logan for my entire life to afford skiing.
For me, the true fun of skiing is slowly becoming lost at resorts. I can only afford to ski at other resorts on special days like Brighton’s Quad Wednesdays or 2-1 Night Skiing deals. Unfortunately, I am only one of 10,000 other people who are in the same boat and my skiing experience for the day is full of dodging flocks of beginner snowboarders and waiting in never-ending lift lines.
I have been doing more backcountry skiing because of it, but because my skiing friends don’t share the pleasure or earning your turns that gets a bit lonesome (and dangerous) when done solo. I hope lift ticket prices level off soon, or at least stop rising at this rate. Otherwise, it feels like resort skiing will become an elitist sport for kids with rich parents.
I agree that it’s a little crazy to see lift tickets heading that direction, but that’s for the real high-end resorts like Deer Valley and Vail. And when you compare those lift ticket prices to the cost of 18 holes of golf at a world-class golf resort, skiing at Vail for $92 for a WHOLE DAY looks CHEEEEEAAP. And golf is a growing sport, even at those prices. But the difference with golf is that there are still tons of public courses all over the place — you don’t have to play the expensive resorts if you don’t want to. And golf is a sport that most of the U.S. can practice right in their back yard…you don’t need mountains & snow.
So I think there could be a market for little local ski resorts that see themselves as the “public golf courses” of the ski world. A quaint little ski resort with cheap tickets and family cabins & condos everywhere, where the masses learn to ski & fall in love with the place for nostalgic reasons. Those little resorts shouldn’t see themselves as competing with the high-end places — they should just notice that there is a widening stratification in the market and make a name for themselves as a great family spot with weekend public races & competitions & just a fun place for families to go….where they can actually AFFORD it, too. Alpental, WA is definitely one of those places…along with its sisters, Snoqualmie Summit and Ski Acres. Contrast that with Whistler, BC. We grew up skiing Alpental, but every year we would do 1 or 2 trips to Whistler for the high-end experience, too. But Alpental is my “home mountain.”
Very true, Brig… I agree with you. The high-end resorts are there for the experience and truly target destination skiers. I just don’t want all the “local’s favorite” resorts to follow suit and price everyone out of the market.
We all need resorts like Beaver Mountain, Alpental, Mt. Baker, Anthony Lakes, Pomerelle and others that cater to the locals in both atmosphere and price.
I just hope that both types of hills can survive in peace and financial harmony.
I have to agree. Lift passes has been outragious. Skiing and snowboarding has become a sport for the rich. I saw a family at Park City with 7 teenage kids. I can’t even imagine paying full price for a family of 10. The resorts need to lower their prices especially with the economy the way it is. Anyway, I have 7 Deer Valley Ski Passes good for January of 2009. I won’t be able to use them this month so I will sell them for $65 dollars per ski pass. If you are interested email me at [email protected] I live in the Salt Lake Valley. Have a great day, Paul
Used to ski 150 days a year while working at Killington. Corporate greed rules the industry today so I say…no more. I’ve been reduced to skiing once a year and only when the central reservations office realizes I won’t come at all unless they make a good deal. Telluride succumbed to my concerns this year, but I don’t think I’m supposed to let others know. Anyway, I just bought a new motorcycle using cash from the money I saved not throwing it away on the ski industry. Snowboarders won’t save the industry this time around….
I hear ya man! I’m in the same boat… primarily ski in the backcountry now. But, with my kids getting to skiing age, I’m looking for cheap alternatives to paying for a lift ticket when most of the time is currently spent schusshing around the bunny hill.
Alta’s Ski Free after 3 program is awesome for this!