Holiday lift ticket prices will hit $219 in Vail, $184 in Aspen
As the holidays are nearing, lift ticket prices at some ski areas are soaring.
Vail and Beaver Creek will charge $219 for a single-day lift ticket at the walk-up window at the peak period between Christmas and New Year’s Day, their websites showed. The price is only $189 if purchased in advance online.
Deer Valley will charge $209 during the holidays.
Aspen Skiing Co. will sell its single-day ticket for $184 per day from Dec. 21 through Jan. 3 if purchased in advance. The window price wasn’t published on the website. If the buyer doesn’t possess a prior lift ticket that can be loaded with the new purchase, there is an extra $5 charge for the card.
Vail and Beaver Creek were the first resorts in the U.S. to crack the $200 ticket barrier last season. They charged $209 at the window. Aspen charged $179 with an extra $5 if the buyer didn’t have a card that the new ticket could be loaded onto.
It would be an understatement to say that ski areas under the Vail Resorts and Aspen-Alterra Mountain Co. umbrella are pushing consumers toward season passes.
“I think you’ll see a lot of people moving from multi-day tickets (to passes),” said Jeff Hanle, Aspen Skiing Co. vice president of communications.
In Aspen, a consumer could get on the slopes for one day for $184 or currently pay $2,479 with unlimited access and get a free Ikon Base Pass, good at more than 40 other resorts. The discount for an employee of a chamber of commerce in the Roaring Fork Valley knocks the price of the premier pass down to $2,009.
The full Ikon Pass, which includes a collective seven days at the Aspen-Snowmass resorts, peaked at a price of $1,099.
Vail’s Epic Pass most recently sold for $989 compared with the $219 peak window price.
Hanle said he suspects that pass sales are reducing lift ticket sales, though he said he hasn’t seen recent numbers to verify that.
A spokeswoman for Vail said the figures on percentage of sales from lift tickets couldn’t be shared because it is a publicly traded company.
“While we cannot share specific numbers, we can share that we reward guests for their loyalty and for committing to a winter vacation with us well in advance through programs like our season passes, advance lift ticket purchase and lodging specials,” Vail Resorts said in a statement. “Much like buying an airline ticket, most guests purchase EpicDay Lift Tickets in advance, which provides them with the best available rate.”
Crested Butte, one of the resorts under Vail Resort’s umbrella, is charging significantly less during the holidays than Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek. Crested Butte’s website shows the window price for a single-day lift ticket will be $136 for the holidays or $119 in advance online.
Sales of single- and multi-day lift tickets accounted for 55.5% of ski areas business in 2009-10. That slumped to 43.5% in 2018-19, according to the Kottke End of Season Survey commissioned by the National Ski Areas Association.
Pass visits have increased over that period to 43.4% from 34.7%, the survey showed.
Pass prominence is expected to grow as Vail and Alterra duel to lure pass purchasers, according to employees in the ski industry.
For downvalley humans, it’s pretty cool when elk decide to hunker down around Eagle for the winter. For the elk, it’s more of a lesser-of-two-evils situation.