I just read this article posted on the Ski Area Management Web site. Holy smokes… I knew that US lift ticket prices were borderline outrageous, but 19 of the top 20 most expensive lift tickets are in the United States! Lets all reminisce on the $10-$15 lift tickets of our youth just a little… those were the days.
Well, they were the days of old, rickety double lifts, poor grooming and mediocre services, but it was still skiing and isn’t that the point? I realize (as the article points out) that most resorts do offer discounts above and beyond the listed price, but it’s that very listed price that turns so many people off in a hurry because not everyone knows the loopholes.
So, can families afford to ski anymore? I’m wondering that very thing right now as I think about my kids and our ability to get them on the hill without breaking the bank.
One program that I absolutely applaud is the “Ski Free after 3” program that Alta Ski Resort offers. This is a perfect way to get the kids and families turning for free and eventually they will be paying customers. Why don’t other resorts have similar programs?
Anyway, here’s the article:
Recession, what recession? U.S. ski areas are selling 19 of the 20 most expensive six-day lift tickets on the planet, according to the World Ski Lift Ticket Price Report (2009). This annual study compares six-day, peak-season prices from more than 600 ski areas in 40 countries worldwide.
The report cautions, however, that a simple price comparison is misleading, for several reasons. First, U.S. resorts offer countless discounts off the top rate, while resorts elsewhere offer fewer, if any, deals. Second, U.S. resorts generally offer higher levels of service. And third, the results reflect currency exchange rate fluctuations that have altered international cost comparisons; last year, only 12 of the top 20 resorts were American. The report converts ticket prices published in 20 different currencies in to U.S. dollars, euros and British pounds to allow for international comparison.
With those provisos, it is still worth noting that:
- Eight of the world’s 10 most expensive six-day lift tickets are in Colorado.
- Deer Valley, Utah, sold the world’s first $600+ six-day ticket ($602), for the Xmas/New Year’s week.
- The lowest-priced six-day pass was $51, at Iran’s Tochal ski area near Tehran.
- An average six-day U.S. resort peak-season lift ticket cost $408, exactly double the average in France, $204.
- Smaller U.S. ski areas have six-day pricing more in line with ski areas in other parts of the world.
- The only major ski nation to match the U.S. for currency strength over the past six months has been Switzerland.
There is an upside to the strong U.S. dollar and weak Australian and New Zealand dollars: skiing overseas this summer is a real bargain for Americans. Currency fluctuations mean Australia is 2 percent cheaper and New Zealand 40 percent cheaper than last year. New Zealand prices are down from an average of just over $302 (U.S.) for six days in 2008 to $190 today.
The World Ski Lift Ticket Price Report 2009 ($195) is compiled by Snow24 Ltd, an independent ski resort research company based in Scotland. It is available in digital format by email ([email protected]).