Aspen drops price of ski pass |

Aspen drops price of ski pass

Scott Condon
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Skiing and riding will be less expensive at Aspen-Snowmass this winter compared to 2008-09, and cash-strapped customers of the Aspen Skiing Co. will have a new budget-friendly option, The Aspen Times has learned.

The premier pass, which provides unlimited skiing during the season, will drop in price to $1,099 for employees of businesses who belong to local chambers of commerce, according to a newsletter e-mailed by the Basalt Chamber of Commerce Tuesday. The pass must be purchased before Sept. 18 to get the best price, the newsletter says. Last year, the early bird price for the premier pass for chamber members was $1,299, or $200 more than for the coming season.

The Basalt chamber’s newsletter also says the Skico is creating a new offering called the Flex Pass. It provides one day of skiing or riding per week during the 20-week season, plus the flexibility to add days at any time for $49 per day. The Flex Pass will sell for $699 for chamber members if purchased before Sept. 18.

The Flex Pass offers obvious advantages. Buyers don’t have to lay out a lump sum amount before the season starts. In addition, buyers can adjust the amount of time they go skiing depending on how they are doing financially.

Last season, a one-day per week pass, with no option to purchase additional days, sold for $684 for chamber members.

The Basalt Chamber of Commerce sent its members the newsletter shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday. Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle wouldn’t confirm or deny the chamber’s information. He said the company intended to release its full menu of pass prices on Thursday. Passes will go on sale Monday, Aug. 24.

Information wasn’t available in the Basalt chamber newsletter about other Skico pass prices. The Skico typically offers a wide variety of passes, and there is no indication that will change for 2009-10.

The Basalt chamber apparently inadvertently alerted its members about the pricing before the Skico’s announcement. The chamber newsletter contains tidbits on several items, and alerts members to make sure their membership was up to date and to make plans to pick up vouchers for pass purchases.

The Skico has been tight-lipped about pass prices this summer. In an interview in late July, Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan said he realized some local skiers are hurting financially this year and will probably scrutinize their pass purchases harder than ever.

“They’re doing the math much more closely on what they paid, the number of days they skied and how many days they’ll ski next year,” Kaplan said last month. “We are assuming that.”

He said Skico Senior Vice President David Perry and a team looking at the ski pass program spent more time than ever considering various options for the pass program.

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