Vail’s lift tickets surpass $90 |

Vail’s lift tickets surpass $90

VAIL ” This week, Vail and Beaver Creek quietly raised their single-day lift ticket price to $92, the most expensive in the nation.

The cost outpaces the price of Aspen’s top daily pass this year, which is $89.

“Outrageous,” said snowboarder Matt Teeter of San Diego. “That’s really expensive.”

Regardless, Teeter and friend Dan Doose walked away from the Vail Village ticket window on Thursday with their newly bought $92 lift tickets affixed to their coats.

“I remember being outraged at paying $45 for a lift ticket at Mammoth a few years ago. Now it’s double,” said Doose, of Oceanside, Calif.

However, with the different passes, packages and discounts that Vail Resorts offers, many skiers don’t pay the full $92 price.

But there’s cachet that comes with expensive lift tickets, said Nolan Rosall, a ski-industry analyst with RRC Associates in Boulder.

“The concept is the higher-priced lift tickets are indicative of higher quality,” he said. “The best quality, the best experience, priced in a way that reflects that.”

Vail Mountain was recently ranked as the second-best ski resort in North America, behind Deer Valley, in the annual SKI magazine poll. Deer Valley’s top lift ticket is $81.

The top price ” even if people aren’t paying it ” allows skiers to put their discounts in perspective, Rosall said.

“(The $92 price) sets a benchmark for people to evaluate the package they are getting,” Rosall said.

Last year, Vail Resorts got about $46 in lift-ticket revenue per skier day across its five resorts, even as peak daily lift tickets were $81 at Breckenridge, $82 at Keystone and $85 at Vail and Beaver Creek.

This year’s peak daily price is up 26 percent from 2003-04, when it was $73.

Tony Brettkelly, vacationing from San Francisco, said he got a slight discount because he bought a multi-day pass. The high price is worth it, he said, as he headed for the slopes Thursday in Vail Village.

“It is for us because it’s just once in a very blue moon,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Vail Resorts could not be reached for this story.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or

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