VR, Intrawest spar over pass prices | VailDaily.com

VR, Intrawest spar over pass prices

Cliff Thompson
Jimmy DeLong takes flight off a rock Friday December 14, 2001 in the Blue Sky Basin area on Vail Mountain. Blue Sky Basin openned for the season Saturday with above average snow for this time of year.

Ski giants Vail Resorts and Intrawest engaged in a competitive pas de deux Tuesday when, announcing their discount pass prices for the coming season.

Earlier in the day, Vail announced the price for its popular Colorado Pass at five resorts would be $329 – but quickly down-shifted to $319 to meet the price of Intrawest’s Super Pass, announced only hours later.

It’s the opening salvo in a fierce battle for the hearts, minds and wallets of the 500,000-strong Front Range skier market.

Multi-resort packaging

Early season discount pass sales provide the resort companies with some guaranteed early-season money in what over the last two seasons has been an unpredictable market

Intrawest is packaging lift tickets for Copper Mountain and Winter Park while Vail Resorts is promoting sales of passes that can be used at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin. Vail’s Colorado Pass will cost $10 more than last year, but the Buddy Pass remains at the same $299 price.

Vail Resorts this season has introduced a $259 Keystone Pass, possibly aimed at spurring use by Front Rangers by offering unlimited skiing and riding at Keystone Resort – with no restrictions. Last season and the season before, Keystone’s skier numbers were stagnant or declined.

Pass sales typically are aimed at non-destination skiers, who last season made up an increasing share of Vail Resorts’ skier total as the combined forces of a recession, war and travel worries depressed the lucrative destination travel market.

Last season Vail Resorts sold 121,000 passes – nearly 25 percent of its user total of 500,000 skiers, said Bill Jensen, Vail Mountain Chief Operating Officer. Nearly 80 percent of those were Colorado Passes.

“Keeping skiing and riding affordable’

The Colorado Pass offers unlimited skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, and 10 days of skiing at Vail and Beaver Creek. The Colorado Pass is restricted at Vail and Beaver Creek Nov. 28-29, 2003 and Dec. 27, 2003-Jan. 3, 2004 and Feb. 14-15, 2004.

The Buddy Pass offers unlimited skiing and riding at Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, with no restricted dates during the 2003-2004 winter season.

“Vail Resorts is continuing the tradition of keeping skiing and riding affordable for Coloradans with the return of the Colorado Pass, the most popular season pass in the industry. Along with the Buddy Pass, we’ve added a third product, the Keystone Pass, giving Colorado skiers and snowboarders greater variety in their season pass choices at our resorts this winter. Vail Resorts is proud to be a leader in offering value to Colorado’s skiers and snowboarders. We look forward to seeing you, and serving you, on our slopes this winter,” said Adam Aron, chief executive officer for Vail Resorts.

Statistics kept by the ski company show the average pass-holder skis nine days per year, giving the ski company revenue averaging nearly $40 per day.

The ski company benefits by having the money from discount pass sales in hand before the ski season starts.

At the Resorts

Current pass-holders can renew their Colorado and Buddy Passes at the following resorts:

– Breckenridge Peak 8 Pass Office on Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 30-Oct. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Keystone River Run Pass Office on Saturdays and Sundays, Aug. 30-Sept. 21 and again Oct. 18-Nov. 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Vail’s Lionshead Activities Desk daily, Aug. 29-Nov.9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

– Passes are not available for purchase or renewal at Arapahoe Basin.

– Existing Colorado and Buddy Pass-holders can purchase the $319 Colorado Pass, the $299 Buddy Pass and the $259 Keystone Pass online at http://www.snow.com.

– New purchases of any of these three passes can be made, at the same price level, in person starting Aug. 29 at specific Front Range locations.

– A child’s pass (for ages 5-12) is $119 and includes 10 days of skiing at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 970-949-0555 x450 or cthompson@vaildaily.com

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