Vail skiing isn’t most expensive |

Vail skiing isn’t most expensive

Dustin Racioppi
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail DailyAnthony von Christierson found more than the inch of new snow under Chair 4 on Vail Mountain this week

VAIL, Colorado ” Of all the ski areas in the world, the United States has the dubious distinction of selling 19 of the 20 most expensive six-day lift tickets, according to the 2009 World Ski Lift Ticket Price Report published by Snow 24, a Scotland-based ski information management company.

Eight of the top 10 most expensive tickets are offered by resorts in Colorado, the report added.

And Vail is the second most expensive in the world to buy six-day lift tickets, right behind Deer Valley, Utah.

Does that really come as a surprise to anybody?

“No. Not at all,” said Cindy Tatum, a local. “Why would we be?”

For the last five years, Deer Valley and Vail have flip-flopped the top position on the list. This year, Vail surrendered its two-year position as the most expensive.

But the report warns readers not to be misled by the “most-expensive” reputation Vail may have. Very few people pay the high season, ticket window price, the report said. In fact, Vail Resorts “-and many U.S. resorts for that matter “-offer a lot of different flexible pricing packages, including advance and online sales.

Plus, as Vail Resorts pointed out in the report, lift tickets here are also good at Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin. And then there’s the new and popular Epic Pass for $579.

A comment from Vail Resorts in the report said, “At Christmas/New Year, you would need only to ski for seven days to make the Epic Pass the better option and then you can ski free for the rest of the season.”

There’s also the advantage that many locals like Tatum have. She said she doesn’t really pay for anything. Her ski pass is issued through her employer and she needs only to worry about parking costs.

“The locals have it made and we live off the visitors,” Tatum said.

For her, the cost to ski and ride in Vail would be worth it anyway.

“It’s the No. 1 resort in the world,” she said. “If skiing is your passion, you will pay.”

That’s the same thinking for Katie and Tim Byrne, who live in Cleveland, Ohio, but have skied almost exclusively in Vail for the last 30 years. They’ve been to ski areas all over the country and decided a long time ago that Vail is their first choice.

“It feels like home,” Katie Byrne said. “It is pricey. The mountain’s worth it.”

National Ski Area Association Spokesman Troy Hawks said there’s a reason why tickets are so expensive in Vail and the U.S.

“Certainly I think the resorts in the U.S. offer an exceptional experience,” Hawks said, but also touted the many deals the resorts have. “The ticket window is one thing, but you’ve also got to take a look at the variety of what’s being offered during the season.”

So whether Vail is one of the most expensive places in the world to ski and ride seems entirely up to the consumer.

Staff Writer Dustin Racioppi can be reached at 970-748-2936 or

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