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A-Basin cutting back on season pass sales

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Now this is interesting.....A-Basin will reduce the number of season pass sales next season by 10% in hopes of creating a more "comfortable level" of skiers and riders each day.

Katherine Fuller, Communications Manager at A-Basin, had this to say about their decision to limit pass sales:

“A-Basin is bucking the traditional ski resort sales model of “sell as much access product as possible” and is reducing the number of unrestricted A-Basin passes by 10 percent. When they are sold out, they are sold out. Lift tickets will also continue to be limited and will only be sold online and in advance.

For us, it’s not complicated. We believe great skiing and riding should be about great skiing and riding. It should not be about standing in long lift lines all the time or struggling to find parking. It should not be about new snow getting completely skied off by noon. We are doing what we feel we need to do to protect the A-Basin experience.

Simply put, we recognize that keeping crowd sizes down and spreading people out will make the experience on our 1,428 acres better for everyone. Limiting pass and ticket sales this season for COVID-19 health and safety reasons showed us that we can be successful and have happier guests when we do that.”


Your thoughts?
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I wish...I'd buy a Powder Mountain pass in a heartbeat if they were able to open earlier, because they limit pass sales and daily ticket sales in the same fashion.

Snowbasin just 4 years ago was known for having untracked powder for days following a storm. Now, it's skied out in two hours max. The experience has made me not enjoy skiing nearly as much. Having to arrive at the mountain earlier and earlier to find parking, lift lines, crowded groomers especially when off piste is less than desirable, the "get away to some solitude" experience feels more like the rush for general admission at a great concert.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Snowbasin just 4 years ago was known for having untracked powder for days following a storm. Now, it's skied out in two hours max. The experience has made me not enjoy skiing nearly as much. Having to arrive at the mountain earlier and earlier to find parking, lift lines, crowded groomers especially when off piste is less than desirable, the "get away to some solitude" experience feels more like the rush for general admission at a great concert.

I'm not sure what's led to this problem, but I'd sure love to find out. The National Ski Areas Association has said for years that participation in skiing is down, but I don't see it. I'd really like to see what the numbers are for this year, once the data is collected.
 
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MissySki

Angel Diva
I'm not sure what's led to this problem, but I'd sure love to find out. The National Ski Areas Association has said for years that participation in skiing is down, but I don't see it. I'd really like to see what the numbers are for this year, once the data is collected.

Right??? We are always bombarded with messaging that we need more new skiers to keep the sport alive. Yet everything seems extra crowded in recent years and we’d all rather there were less skiers at our ski areas..
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
I'm not sure what's led to this problem, but I'd sure love to find out. The National Ski Areas Association has said for years that participation in skiing is down, but I don't see it. I'd really like to see what the numbers are for this year, once the data is collected.
The sharp increase in population in the Denver area in the last decade or so is far more of a factor than ABasin being on Ikon. Or Epic before that. Plenty of ABasin skiers were buying Epic instead of an ABasin season pass. Of course, some locals think dropping Ikon would solve the crowding problem. The population increase just for Denver is on the order of 20% since 2010.

Participating in skiing in the southeast has also increased in recent years. Population shifts to the sun belt from the northeast and other parts of the country are a factor. Along with snow making improvements that have actually extended the season a few years when Mother Nature cooperated. That includes this season in spite of, or because of, pandemic restrictions.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
I'm not sure what's led to this problem, but I'd sure love to find out. The National Ski Areas Association has said for years that participation in skiing is down, but I don't see it. I'd really like to see what the numbers are for this year, once the data is collected.

This is what I've been saying for years. My best guess is that the people that are saying this are just thinking about the NE or east, though I don't know if skier numbers are actually declining there. I can't imagine this (declining numbers) is true anywhere in the West which continues to grow grow grow.

I have a similar reaction to all the messaging that tells us kids are too glued to their screens and need to get out in nature, or that people need to #optoutside (I know that was started for Black Friday but seems to mean all the time now). Clearly this people have not been hiking or visiting national parks in the West in recent years.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
This is what I've been saying for years. My best guess is that the people that are saying this are just thinking about the NE or east, though I don't know if skier numbers are actually declining there. I can't imagine this (declining numbers) is true anywhere in the West which continues to grow grow grow.

I have a similar reaction to all the messaging that tells us kids are too glued to their screens and need to get out in nature, or that people need to #optoutside (I know that was started for Black Friday but seems to mean all the time now). Clearly this people have not been hiking or visiting national parks in the West in recent years.

Our resorts are packed in the East.. Smaller mountains and large population centers nearby.
 

Scribble

Angel Diva
I suspect that the number of people who self-identify as skiers has dropped overall but the number of days skied by those who participate has gone up. When you combine die-hard skier + flexible remote work + freedom to relocate to cities and beautiful places within driving distance of a resort, the crowding seems inevitable even before you take cheap Ikon and Epic ski days into account. I think the pandemic has created the perfect storm. Or stampede, if you will.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
My guess is that Colorado’s growth has also created a whole new pool of snow lovers. I wonder if “skiers are declining” isn’t also being offset by growth in snowboarding as a more mainstream and all ages activity.
 

BackCountryGirl

Angel Diva
If I recall the statistics, Snowboarding isn't increasing. I don't think people who ski are skiing more days and people are returning to the sport. I don't believe we are creating new skiers and conversion numbers still are down.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Here are the NSAA statistics for the last 30 years or so. They look at regional numbers as well as overall numbers. Skiers and boarders are counted equally as people doing "snowsports" at lift served ski areas/resorts. Of course, like all statistics the numbers are incomplete in some ways. It's been a while since I read the methodology used. Doesn't make too much difference if the idea is to just look at the recent trends.

https://nsaa.org/webdocs/Media_Public/IndustryStats/Historical_Skier_Days_1979_1920.pdf

https://nsaa.org/webdocs/Media_Public/IndustryStats/active_US_participants_1996-97_2019-20.pdf

https://www.nsaa.org/NSAA/Industry_Stats/NSAA/Media/Industry_Stats.aspx
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
I would be curious to know if non-US participation had increased at US sites, and/or how demographic changes can be expected to show up in these numbers.

Boomers may be declining in terms of ski activity (regardless of the awesome ones in this arena) ... the Millenials (the children of boomers) are now of an age where their kids may/should/will start skiing? Is it just a timing thing?

One thing I found super interesting was the number of ski days in 2010/11. At that time, still kind of in recession but the highest ski days year of the last 30?
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
One thing I found super interesting was the number of ski days in 2010/11. At that time, still kind of in recession but the highest ski days year of the last 30?
Snow, or lack of snow, has a major impact on the number of people on slopes.

Even with the pandemic restrictions, the ski resorts in the southeast have had a banner season. Meaning more interest to the point of doing better than average financially. The reason is that it's been very cold so plenty of snowmaking, and then there were snowstorms that made people away from the mountains think about skiing/boarding even if they normally don't.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Here's what is being sent out to people on the ABasin elist about season passes for 2020-21.

Hi there,
Arapahoe Basin 2021-22 season passes are now on sale at their lowest price of the season but with a twist: We have made a very conscious decision to buck the traditional ski resort sales model of “sell as much access product as possible.” We are, instead, limiting quantity to focus on providing and preserving a quality experience.
We are reducing the number of unrestricted A-Basin passes by 10 percent. When they are sold out, they are sold out. Lift tickets will also continue to be limited and will only be sold online and in advance. We will not return to selling lift tickets at the window. Simply put, we recognize that keeping crowd sizes down and spreading people out will make the experience on our 1,428 acres better for everyone.
Limiting product sales is part of a multi-year phased approach to improve the guest experience by focusing on quality over quantity.
(1) We have significantly reduced skier visit numbers since leaving the Epic Pass in 2019. That was step one and improved everything from parking access to lift lines to getting a seat at an indoor table.
(2) Step two was joining the Ikon Pass on a limited basis. Only an A-Basin pass gets you unlimited, unrestricted access.
(3) Replacing the Pallavicini Lift in summer 2020 with another fixed-grip double so as to not over-stress that steep terrain was another step.
A-Basin is offering an opportunity to ski and ride phenomenal high-elevation terrain over the course of Colorado’s longest winter season (usually October – June) with the throwback vibe of easy access and fewer crowds, plus the benefit of modern amenities and excellent food.
Come home to A-Basin next winter. It’s our 75th anniversary and we’re going to be throwing a party that lasts the whole season. You don’t want to miss it.
 

Iwannaski

Angel Diva
The marketer in me loves this.
It looks like they’ve done a great job identifying their most attractive customers and focused on addressing their needs.
 

Susan L

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I wouldn’t mind if Taos does the same thing and keep the price at $1600.
This season was so crowded even at 25% capacity, I cannot imagine what it will be like when we go back to 100%.
 
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altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
Demand is Up ... Supply is going Down

I wonder what will happen to Price.
Just the other day DH was saying how Alta is campaigning to get more parking lot space from the USFS. I think that's the last thing they need. It's too crowded and the roads and traffic are a disaster already. He said he'd gladly pay more if there were fewer people. I mean I also get that pricing people out is not cool, but sitting in hours of traffic to travel 12 miles isn't cool either. For skiers, for our air and environment, or for people to enjoy skiing. I know I'd pay more if I knew it wouldn't be an overcrowded mess.

What if they offered some kind of.... even/odd day pass or something? Ski less but it's a better experience?
 

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