Ski passes won’t work this summer | VailDaily.com

Ski passes won’t work this summer

VAIL – Last winter’s ski pass will not get you on the lifts this summer at Vail and Beaver Creek, Vail Resorts says.

You’ll need to buy your 2011-12 season pass to ride the gondola, or buy a $24 lift ticket.

“The change was made last year, but this is the first year it has been in full effect,” said Liz Biebl, communications director for Vail Mountain.

Some customers don’t like it.

“That doesn’t seem right,” said Devon Murray via the Vail Daily’s Facebook page.

Merchant passes still work for summer access because people do not yet have the opportunity to buy next year’s merchant pass, Biebl said.

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Those who have already put a deposit down for a 2011-12 season pass will automatically have access via their 2010-11 pass. Those who have put down deposits but did not have a 2010-11 pass will need to go to the lift ticket office to pick up their 2011-12 pass.

“We essentially treat it as though they paid in full since they have committed to paying the remaining balance in the fall,” Biebl said.

The new policy is part of Vail Resorts’ corporate plan to drive advance ticket and season pass purchases.

“Season pass business generates consistent and predictable revenue,” the ski company said in its latest report to investors.

Vail Resorts made the announcement in a Wednesday news release outlining its summer activities.

On Thursday, the ski company reminded skiers and snowboarders that its $20 pre-season discount on 2011-12 season ski passes would expire May 30.

“The goal is to use the season pass program to drive overall mountain revenue,” Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Jones told investors in April.

Driving additional summer revenue is one of the company’s stated goals.

“More than one-third of lift ticket revenue [is] received before the vast majority of our season has occurred,” the investors report says.

The ski company’s report says it wants to “create a completely new summer experience and revenue opportunity.”

The ski company is trying to grow the pie, and is also after a bigger share of the money spent in and around its resorts, a “vertically integrated strategy.”

For example, season pass holders are eligible for special deals on lodging, dining, ski rentals, equipment, ski school and special events, the company said in Thursday’s announcement reminder about the May 30 deadline for discounted season pass rates.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.