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Alterra to Acquire A-Basin

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
I am moderately emotionally devastated by this news:

No changes to pass access for this season, which is good -- A-Basin currently gets 5 or 7 Ikon pass days. I can't imagine it won't be unlimited access next year, though. I really can't overstate what a respite from the general Summit County resort craziness A-Basin has been for the last few years, and I would really hate to see that change too much. I am trying not to panic until it's warranted.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I just texted this to you because I hadn’t seen this post yet. Ugh I’m so sorry. This is my nightmare scenario for Sunday River.

However, I noticed at Steamboat that base passes only had 5 days while full passes had unlimited.. That could help if it’s the case there. Some owned ones are unlimited to all passes though.
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Oh, no. I am really, really sorry.

As a former Crystal skier who can't make it work anymore under Alterra, I really do sympathize. It's not as bad as if it were Epic--Crystal/Alterra really has tried, and been somewhat successful, with responding to complaints, mitigating crowds, etc. This year they took Crystal down to 7 days with Ikon after finally realizing its just too crowded otherwise. But a season pass went up more than $1000 (so I can't make it pay off, so I don't ski there anymore...) and they are in the middle of transforming the place with a hotel/convention center and all sorts of other development, which is not something we'd had to deal with here in WA.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Oh, no. I am really, really sorry.

As a former Crystal skier who can't make it work anymore under Alterra, I really do sympathize. It's not as bad as if it were Epic--Crystal/Alterra really has tried, and been somewhat successful, with responding to complaints, mitigating crowds, etc. This year they took Crystal down to 7 days with Ikon after finally realizing its just too crowded otherwise. But a season pass went up more than $1000 (so I can't make it pay off, so I don't ski there anymore...) and they are in the middle of transforming the place with a hotel/convention center and all sorts of other development, which is not something we'd had to deal with here in WA.
Interesting.. so Crystal is owned by Alterra but now has a separate pass for those who want to ski there unlimited outside of Ikon?? Which is more expensive? That sounds so odd, and like an admission that their own model doesn’t work??
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I saw this news and it made me sick to my stomach, as I feel like this is the next step for Snowbasin and Sun Valley. IKON has already made Snowbasin into something I no longer recognize. I'm really sorry to hear the conglomerate has now bought one of the shining beacon holdouts of A-Basin. I share in your frustrations.
 

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
A coworker pointed out that Alterra owns Deer Valley and Ikon Pass skiing is quite limited there (7 days only, reservations required). That, combined with the fact that the COO Al Henceroth is staying on board, does give me some optimism here.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Here are my thoughts on reservations: They are only effective if they actually do limit the number allowed based on CCC, and the CCC is a real crapshoot. Everyone at Snowbasin is calling for IKON reservations, but it is my somewhat knowledgeable understanding that Snowbasin has YET to hit their CCC. :eek: It has so altered weekdays there, yet I doubt they'll ever sell out on weekdays except maybe an occasional holiday.

Until (and when) the IKON pass prices increase enough to have an impact, which will decrease demand and therefore decrease strain on the areas that are affected, I am skeptical that a reservation system really helps much. Talking to folks who ski Deer Valley, the reservations don't mitigate ridiculous crowding on the busier days. The resorts get to set the number, and I am pretty skeptical that that number is something that most would truly consider "comfortable" and provide for a positive overall experience.

The other option is of course to decrease the number of days allowed per resort. (3, please!)

I really, really loathe what these conglomerates have done to skiing.
 

Sheena

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I really, really loathe what these conglomerates have done to skiing.

I remember when I lived on the east coast, and when I first moved to Utah, I jealously looked at Colorado and their inexpensive multi-resort pass (I don't remember what it was called), and thinking Utah really needed to do something similar. How naïve I was.

Hopefully this does not ruin from what I hear from others is a great vibe at A-basin. In general though I don't think it is good for any industry to have only 1-2 major players
 

RachelV

Administrator
Staff member
Here are my thoughts on reservations: They are only effective if they actually do limit the number allowed based on CCC, and the CCC is a real crapshoot. Everyone at Snowbasin is calling for IKON reservations, but it is my somewhat knowledgeable understanding that Snowbasin has YET to hit their CCC. :eek: ....

This is a very good point. A-Basin has thus far been very transparent about their CCC, which is a very reasonable 4140 -- they hit it on big weekend days and the skiing experience is still fine. Full, but fine. The thing that's got me nervous is that their CCC is currently primarily defined by parking capacity, and there was a line in one of the press releases about adding parking. :-|
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Interesting.. so Crystal is owned by Alterra but now has a separate pass for those who want to ski there unlimited outside of Ikon?? Which is more expensive? That sounds so odd, and like an admission that their own model doesn’t work??

Correct, and I do think it WAS an acknowledgement that the Ikon model does not work here, with a ski area that is so close to so many millions of people, and that has limited geography for parking (it's in a steep valley without a ton of flat space--though it was enough pre-Ikon). As soon as Crystal went on the Ikon pass, way more people showed up than the parking lots could accommodate, and they really had to do something. New bus service wasn't enough. Parking reservations are required Fri-Sun, too.

The regular season pass this year was $1800+ 10.1% tax. It was about $800 pre-Alterra. Was Ikon $949? So the Crystal pass is almost twice as much. You do get Ikon included in that. There was also the Premier Pass which included the closest parking and other perks for $3799. To be fair there were also a couple midweek/holiday blackout type passes for less.
 

contesstant

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I remember when I lived on the east coast, and when I first moved to Utah, I jealously looked at Colorado and their inexpensive multi-resort pass (I don't remember what it was called), and thinking Utah really needed to do something similar. How naïve I was.

Hopefully this does not ruin from what I hear from others is a great vibe at A-basin. In general though I don't think it is good for any industry to have only 1-2 major players
Definitely not good when there is in many ways a monopoly. I wish there was more competition from the likes of Indy and Mountain Collective.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Interesting.. so Crystal is owned by Alterra but now has a separate pass for those who want to ski there unlimited outside of Ikon?? Which is more expensive? That sounds so odd, and like an admission that their own model doesn’t work??
Having a 1-location season pass is not new for Alterra. That's the way Snowshoe in WV has worked from the start of Ikon even though Snowshoe is unlimited for Ikon holders. Deer Valley also retained a 1-location pass that is much more expensive than Full Ikon, which has always been limited to 5/7 days.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Stuart noted in his Feb. 6 article about the ABasin acquisition by Alterra that:

". . .
All of Alterra’s owned resorts, with the exceptions of Mammoth, Palisades Tahoe, Steamboat, Solitude, Stratton, and Sugarbush have continued to offer discounted single-mountain season passes that are not Ikon Passes. Winter Park’s unlimited pass was just $659, early-bird, for the 2023-24 ski season. June’s pass debuted at $559, Big Bear’s at $569, and Snow Valley’s at just $329. It seems more likely than not that Alterra will allow A-Basin, small and local as it is, to hang onto its own pass.

The future of A-Basin’s killer early- and late-season passes is less certain, as is the super-discounted midweek pass. Mountain Collective is certainly gone, but that won’t matter to locals.
. . ."
 

Christy

Angel Diva
Winter Park’s unlimited pass was just $659, early-bird, for the 2023-24 ski season. June’s pass debuted at $559, Big Bear’s at $569, and Snow Valley’s at just $329. It seems more likely than not that Alterra will allow A-Basin, small and local as it is, to hang onto its own pass.

OTOH Crystal's went up by $1000.
 

TiffAlt

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
OTOH Crystal's went up by $1000.
Well, it does include full IKON, to be fair. I'm unsure if the others include full IKON too.

But you're right that there was no other option for full week access without blackouts than to buy the $$$ pass. I think the less expensive Crystal only pass was only midweek, so you were very much constrained if you wanted full access
 

PollySid

Certified Ski Diva
I am moderately emotionally devastated by this news:

No changes to pass access for this season, which is good -- A-Basin currently gets 5 or 7 Ikon pass days. I can't imagine it won't be unlimited access next year, though. I really can't overstate what a respite from the general Summit County resort craziness A-Basin has been for the last few years, and I would really hate to see that change too much. I am trying not to panic until it's warranted.
In my view, the Ikon Pass has encouraged skiers to enjoy many resorts they’d have otherwise not experienced.
I do sympathize with the Crystal Mtn (WA) skier’s comments on how crowded the weekends have become. It’s due to Ikon, sure, but it’s also the result of Seattle’s strong economy and lots of young tech workers who have become skiers. Is that a bad thing? The ski industry relies on new skiers as much as us lifetime skiers.
And yes, sigh, skiing continues to be incredibly expensive.
 

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