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A-Basin cutting back on season pass sales

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
A-basin is not the only place that is cutting back or limiting pass sales. It makes me wonder whether we're headed back to season passes being $2K+.
Remember? Think in the mid 70's - 80's season passes were well over $1k.
Well you're younger than me so maybe not...........:smile:
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I do wonder about skier days going down when they are designing (a few) huge new resorts in Maine and Utah .Canada - Jasper and Vancouver. And the many resorts that have expanded.

However, there are all those small ski areas that have closed, or are just holding on. Some recently, and others a decade or longer. I don't know. It does feel crowded, much more than just five years ago when I started skiing.
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Remember? Think in the mid 70's - 80's season passes were well over $1k.
Well you're younger than me so maybe not...........:smile:

Heheh. I remember ski passes back east being over $1K and stunned at how cheap they were out west. But that was probably in the 90s. And when the age one needed to be to get the $10 senior ski pass was like 65. They keep increasing that age that so that I won't be eligible until I'm 80!
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Heheh. I remember ski passes back east being over $1K and stunned at how cheap they were out west. But that was probably in the 90s. And when the age one needed to be to get the $10 senior ski pass was like 65. They keep increasing that age that so that I won't be eligible until I'm 80!
More like 90. Watch out for the baby boomers...they’re living longer!
 

Pequenita

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Who else?
Sugarbowl. They are offering passes to current and 19/20 passholders, and if any remain after a certain date, they go on sale to the general public. Right now, non-blackout passes and weekday passes are nearly 90% sold; blackout passes are over 90% sold. I write this as someone who will be a member of the general public trying to snag a pass for next year.
 
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marzNC

Angel Diva
However, there are all those small ski areas that have closed, or are just holding on. Some recently, and others a decade or longer. I don't know. It does feel crowded, much more than just five years ago when I started skiing.
Supply and demand has shifted the landscape of the ski industry dramatically more than once in the last 90 years. The number of new lifts being planned at smaller ski areas is pretty interesting. There was a slow down after the 2008 recession. Obviously the pandemic in 2020 stalled out some projects in some regions. But others moved forward. Timberline in WV has two new lifts put in during the summer of 2020 by a new owner . . . for $10 million. They are clearly investing for the future. If the interest this season is any indication, it will be very successful.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Where I ski, passes got too cheap. When Crystal went on Ikon a couple years ago, before covid, the ikon pass was significantly cheaper than the old Crystal season pass, and that's when issues with parking and crowds started. You really didn't have those problems before. What good is a cheaper pass if it means less skiing (no parking and longer lines) and a worse experience? Hike it back up. I'm fine with that. Also remember that day tickets were cheaper when passes were more, so I don't think I need to feel badly for anyone if passes cost more. The old model was more fair imo.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I do wonder about skier days going down when they are designing (a few) huge new resorts in Maine and Utah .Canada - Jasper and Vancouver. And the many resorts that have expanded.

However, there are all those small ski areas that have closed, or are just holding on. Some recently, and others a decade or longer. I don't know. It does feel crowded, much more than just five years ago when I started skiing.

Like Saddleback in Maine? I’ve wondered that, but it’s so far away for most folks from the big population centers (just like Sugarloaf) that I don’t think it will have a big impact on regular skiers elsewhere in the state. As in people might go on a trip there during the season, but not regularly. For example from a Sunday River skier like myself that lives in MA (which it seems are the majority of Sunday River skiers) it would turn my 4 hour drive into a 5.5 hour drive. As much as I liked Saddleback I’d never do that regularly. It’s much nicer as an excursion from Sunday River though because then it’s only 1 hr 45 mins on back roads.. They do need to also address lodging as I’ve heard there isn't much in the area so that’s a big issue if they want to become a destination type of resort with people having to come so far to ski there.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Like Saddleback in Maine? I’ve wondered that, but it’s so far away for most folks from the big population centers (just like Sugarloaf) that I don’t think it will have a big impact on regular skiers elsewhere in the state.
Fair to say that the situation in the northeast within driving distance of Boston and NYC is quite different for assorted reasons than what happens around Denver, SLC, or even Bozeman. There are "local" ski areas in CO like Cooper, Monarch, Wolf Creek, or Howlsen Hill that seem to be doing pretty well without being overcrowded. Driving distances are also very different in the Mountain West than in New England. The town of Steamboat Springs even figured out how to fund replacing an old double lift with a triple for a couple million dollars.

Bridger and Big Sky are clearly more crowded than 5-10 years ago. Boyne Resorts has been slowly but surely installing new state-of-the-art lifts and other destination resort infrastructure. For Bridger (non-profit, 20 min from the city limits), more people on the slopes is much more related to the growth of Bozeman than Epic/Ikon/MCP. Note that Bridger and Wolf Creek are not small hills since they have over 1500 acres of skiable terrain from beginner to expert (requires in-bounds hiking).

ABasin has no lodging at the base and never will. Dillon and Frisco are a 20-30 min with good road conditions. From the Denver area, it's 70-90 min with clear roads and Loveland Pass is open. Otherwise it's 90 min driving by Dillon and Keystone. Obviously people who buy an ABasin season pass are more likely to be local. However, there are probably also locals who used to buy an Epic pass (had unlimited access to ABasin) and now are willing to pay for Ikon Base so that they can also ski at the CO Ikon resorts like Eldora, Winter Park or Copper. The driving distances from the city aren't that much different.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
The success of the Indy Pass is one way that small hills and resorts are trying to attract the people who ski less than 10 days a season. For that matter for $200 it's a very deal if someone can only ski 5-6 days locally. It's only $129 combined with a 1-location season pass for an Indy location.

Indy is going into it's third season. Ironically the pandemic was good for Indy locations in all regions because there were people who discovered there was pretty good fun to be had on slopes within driving distance of their house. I know that was true for people in the DC/NoVA region. Never had so many questions about Massanutten on DCSki before. The Indy Pass Facebook group is very active for all regions.

However, Colorado is the one region with no GM interested in considering Indy. Instead there are long standing reciprocal arrangements between individual ski areas. A Loveland pass comes with a few days at a pretty long list of other ski areas scattered around the west in addition to Powder Alliance locations. Loveland and ABasin are a few miles apart. However, the terrain is quite different and they cater to different markets as a result. You don't hear about too many people who fly to Denver just to ski at Loveland. ABasin is popular for people with Ikon who travel to CO, as it was when it was on Epic.

Loveland reciprocal locations for 2020-21

3 Free Days at Purgatory
3 Free Days at Monarch Mountain (3 days TOTAL. Powder Alliance benefits do not apply)
3 Free Days at Powderhorn Mountain Resort
3 Free Days at Powder Mountain
3 Free Days at Schweitzer Mountain Resort (M-F) 25% off weekends & holidays. Blackout dayes 12/26/20-1/3/21
3 Free Days at Whitefish Mountain Resort
3 Free Days at Snow King Resort
3 Free Days at Red Lodge Mountain
3 Free Days at Ski Cooper
3 Free Days at Sunlight Mountain Resort
3 Free Days at Brundage Mountain
3 Free Days at Brianhead Resort
3 Free Days at Nordic Valley Resort
3 Free Days at Grand Targhee Resort (See restrictions below)
3 Free Days at each (Sipapu, Pajarito Mountain, Ski Hesperus and Arizona Snowbowl)
 

newboots

Angel Diva
I was thinking of Saddleback. Not that they will draw so many skiers away from other resorts, but that they have opened (back) up, so they expect to be able to make a go of it. If skier numbers are dwindling so much, would they invest in re-opening?
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I was thinking of Saddleback. Not that they will draw so many skiers away from other resorts, but that they have opened (back) up, so they expect to be able to make a go of it. If skier numbers are dwindling so much, would they invest in re-opening?

Good point, hopefully that IS a good indicator! I'm also told that the Balsams project in NH isn't dead, and that's also a head scratcher because it too is in the middle of nowhere so you'd really need to draw people as a "destination" type of resort which isn't the usual in New England. I have been wondering myself what things look like to Saddleback for future plans. Having been there on a weekday I was blown away by how empty it was. There are only 2 lifts if you don't count the one that just gets people up to the lodge area, and there was never any line whatsoever. I know it was a Tuesday, but I haven't heard grumblings of insane weekend lines there either which would seem likely with the setup.. I sure hope they can make a go of it and stay open forever, it's such a wonderful place! Perhaps with people being able to work from home more places like this will get a boost too if it brings more folks to the local area to live where they couldn't before due to work. Would be a really cool positive of this whole pandemic mess once we're on the other side of things..
 

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
A-Basin is the primary place where I ski and I think I am overall pretty neutral on this. Without knowing the mix of A-Basin / day ticket / Ikon skiers overall it's hard to know how much of a difference we're talking about. I'd prefer if they limited Ikon passholders (hehe), but there are probably contractual obligations that prevent that? Also, I guess being a 5/7 day Ikon destination vs an unlimited Ikon destination already does that to some extent.

The tricky thing with A-Basin is that it's SUCH a spring destination that I think many Ikon passholders don't use days in the early season. Before A-Basin really figured out how to try to spread out Ikon passholders a bit, Covid hit. Al had just started posting about this in early March 2020 before everything fell apart. Will be interesting to see how they deal with this once we have a "normal" season.

Nice blog post with more context here: http://arapahoebasin.blogspot.com/2021/03/2021-22-season-what-to-expect.html

It's been a crazy few years leaving the Epic pass and then dealing with Covid, so honestly it's hard to even know how A-Basin really feels in a post-Epic pass season. It's also hard to find much bad to say about "we're focusing on the skier experience and keeping crowds in check." A-Basin remains my favorite place to ski and I don't see myself not buying a full A-Basin pass anytime soon.
 

floatingyardsale

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.

Same. I almost pulled the trigger on a Powder pass for next year (but Snowbasin is still getting my money for now because December is my main skiing month.) This year seemed to be an unholy combination of lots of people working from home/flexible jobs (I include myself in this crowd), Snowbasin's lack of reservations meaning we got a lot of overflow from other resorts, and nearly every powder day hitting perfectly on Friday. The lack of snow also meant that terrain opened up later, so the parts that were open were more crowded.

I haven't minded too much except for the day I was stuck in the Strawberry line for an hour. Midweek has been empty lately with the warming weather.
 

just jane

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Hmmmm.... with the Epic bargain basement prices announces today, it almost makes sense to buy Epic Local + Season ABasin, since getting ABasin days is one of the main reasons we were thinking of switching to Ikon, but you don’t get very many days on Ikon. Must ponder and talk to the hubster...
 

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