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Pay more, get faster access at 4 Powdr resorts.

SarahXC

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I feel like I saw a pass upgrade you could buy at Cooper to get priority line access even pre-covid. It was if you had a Cooper pass but not available to add on to Ikon. I wish I could remember the full details.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Sounds like people are making a LOT of noise about this on social media, and not in a good way. I wonder if enough bad publicity will have them rethink this..
The reactions seem to be somewhat different depending on the resort and region. The four resorts have very different markets, in particular the split between locals and travelers feels like it's different.

I feel like I saw a pass upgrade you could buy at Cooper to get priority line access even pre-covid. It was if you had a Cooper pass but not available to add on to Ikon. I wish I could remember the full details.
I think you mean Copper, not Ski Cooper. I also remember that Copper had something like Fast Tracks. The competition that Copper has to deal with by being in Summit County near Denver is very different from Killington, Snowbird, and Bachelor.

I rather doubt the entire program will get scrapped before the season even starts. What could happen is that the number of lifts included will change at some point. Supposedly it will be possible to add Fast Tracks in advance for any day of the season until the max is reached for a given day. Like parking reservations that Powdr used last season, it will become obvious by mid-Dec what days are selling out.

Occurs to me that having RFID probably makes implementation fairly easy.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
The reactions seem to be somewhat different depending on the resort and region. The four resorts have very different markets, in particular the split between locals and travelers feels like it's different.


I think you mean Copper, not Ski Cooper. I also remember that Copper had something like Fast Tracks. The competition that Copper has to deal with by being in Summit County near Denver is very different from Killington, Snowbird, and Bachelor.

I rather doubt the entire program will get scrapped before the season even starts. What could happen is that the number of lifts included will change at some point. Supposedly it will be possible to add Fast Tracks in advance for any day of the season until the max is reached for a given day. Like parking reservations that Powdr used last season, it will become obvious by mid-Dec what days are selling out.

Occurs to me that having RFID probably makes implementation fairly easy.
True, I’m mostly paying attention to Killington since it’s in the East. Perhaps more colorful opinions here than a destination resort.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
True, I’m mostly paying attention to Killington since it’s in the East. Perhaps more colorful opinions here than a destination resort.
I think of Killington as a "destination resort" for the northeast. There are plenty of locals who consider K'ton as their home mountain, as well as regulars from big cities who act like locals, plus "tourists" who only go to for one ski vacation. For me, that's true of any resort on Ikon or Epic in the northeast.

I've skied all four of these Powdr resorts for at least a couple days. I have the least experience at Killington because I went during early December when very little was open yet. Have skied a couple days at Copper, a few days at Bachelor, and quite a bit at Snowbird. They are very different resorts. K'ton and Copper have multiple peaks. Snowbird has five distinct sections and it can take 15-20 min to get between them. The front side and Mineral Basin have completely different terrain. Bachelor is one huge volcanic mountain with 360 degrees skiable terrain and very long runs.

Looking at the stats for the four mountains shows the contrast between them a bit. Snowbird is a favorite with locals and travelers from both coasts. Perhaps the same for Copper. Bachelor probably has a smaller percentage of out-of-state travelers who fly to Oregon for a ski vacation during holidays or mid-season. Killington draws from New England and NY/NJ/PA, which means a much higher population who live within driving distance for ski vacations.

RESORT STATS for 2021-22
Killington, VT: 1000-1500, 14 chairlifts and 3 gondolas
Copper, CO: 2500 acres, 14 chairlifts and a gondola
Snowbird, UT: 2500 acres, 11 chairlifts and Tram (100 people max)
Bachelor, OR: 4300 acres, 12 chairlifts

While all the resorts have detachable high-speed chairlifts, the average chairlift lengths and percentage of fixed-grip lifts is noticeably different.

When Powdr used parking reservations for 2020-21, it was possible to tell by early January which days were popular during mid-season and sold out well in advance. The same will be true for Fast Tracks. The blurbs I've seen say Fast Tracks will be available every day of the season.

Nov. 1 is when people will be able at add Fast Tracks.
 

CarverJill

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I feel like this is the same as the fast pass at all the theme parks, they all have an option to skip the line if you pay. All those things make me mad because it list is another way of making life easier for people who make more money.
 

Peppermint

Angel Diva
So here's a question: Is Fast Track something you would pay for?
No way. Look, nobody likes to wait in line, especially on really cold days. But think the ski industry as a whole needs to be careful. Many people are already priced out due to the cost of passes, parking, gas and equipment. I understand that this is optional but I just don't think this is a good look and may scare away non-skiers from trying this wonderful sport.
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
I was kind of surprised - I told DH about this last night and he said he'd probably pay it IF it was still $49 or close to that for a powder day. I think it also depends on how easy it is to add it on for a day and all of that. He usually gets an Alta/Bird combo pass and rarely goes to Snowbird, but said he'd sometimes be willing to pay that. Honestly, I might do it too - I didn't get a pass at all this year because I'm just way too frustrated with traffic and crowds, and my skiing is now basically limited to days where I take off work mid-week. And knowing you're not spending the day freezing in line - that is a draw. I do think the major drawback is the hostility you're likely to encounter passing lines, but... in a sense that has always been there. There is a Seven Summits Pass at Snowbird (which I've always heard referred to as a "Black Pass") that gets you and your guests line cutting on the tram, first tracks, and membership in their private club with a locker room and work area, etc. So in a sense you could look at it as being a more accessible version of something that's been in place for decades and is so expensive they don't list prices for it.... The only people I know of with them are extremely, extremely wealthy.

That said - I do agree this isn't resolving any issues. Sure, it gets a better experience for your big spenders, but the problem is overcrowding and traffic. And if traffic is still a nightmare, it's only alleviating part of the problem and angering the folks who are just buying a regular ticket/pass. Personally I'd like to see them limit the number of users into the canyon each day and come up with some system for that, but that's a whole other can of worms and I'm sure the resorts would be fighting to make that another money making opportunity and you'd see the same issues. I don't know what a good solution is, really...
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Fast Tracks by Powdr is quite a contrast to the approach that Arapahoe Basin is taking. ABasin limited the number of season passes. Will probably limit day tickets as well as needed. The major constraint is lack of parking. But keeping the slopes from getting too crowded is a priority.

Taos and Alta are independent destination resorts that seem intent on keeping the number of people at a sensible level. Locals who get a season pass won't end up at a disadvantage when it comes to lift access compared to the out-of-state travelers who shell out big bucks to stay slopeside.

Wonder what Boyne Resorts is thinking about the idea of express access for lifts?
 

altagirl

Moderator
Staff member
Fast Tracks by Powdr is quite a contrast to the approach that Arapahoe Basin is taking. ABasin limited the number of season passes. Will probably limit day tickets as well as needed. The major constraint is lack of parking. But keeping the slopes from getting too crowded is a priority.

Taos and Alta are independent destination resorts that seem intent on keeping the number of people at a sensible level. Locals who get a season pass won't end up at a disadvantage when it comes to lift access compared to the out-of-state travelers who shell out big bucks to stay slopeside.

Wonder what Boyne Resorts is thinking about the idea of express access for lifts?

I don't know any locals who think that Alta is keeping the number of people at a sensible level on Fridays-Sundays...

It will be interesting to see what happens with the parking reservations this year, and maybe that will actually have an impact, but I guess I'm not very optimistic.

Hah - so I remember talking to a friend of mine who was like what? Lines/traffic aren't that bad. She is retired and only skis Mon-Thurs and was like OH - yeah, you wouldn't catch me trying to get up there on a weekend. That's basically where it's at.
 
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fgor

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I hate the idea but I do already pay for first tracks which is being able to ski the slopes an hour before opening, on weekends only (always really busy days). The carparking situation is kind of insane at my usual skifield so I'm there super early on weekends anyway, and I could add first tracks to my season pass so it's not a per-day thing, and it works out pretty cheap on a per-day basis. (To be fair, I spent like a season thinking that this was a ridiculous money grab as well, and I wouldn't have even considered it except that I was already there so early for the parking anyway, and I get a small kick out of skiing fresh cord.) If I was able to ski weekdays, I obviously wouldn't bother, but when your work schedule means you're a weekend warrior along with everyone else - it's nice to have one hour of the ski day when it's not crazy busy...

I have heard of people with money who just get a private lesson when they want to skip lines, since that gives you line priority. That's an even more expensive way of getting faster lift access but at least you might get a lesson out of it, I guess.

Anyway I still hate the idea but can't articulate why all that well.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
Here's the Fast Tracks list of lifts for Copper, though it may not be complete: American Eagle, American Flyer, Super Bee, Timberline Express, Storm King, Excelerator and Woodward Express.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
Here's the Fast Tracks list of lifts for Copper, though it may not be complete: American Eagle, American Flyer, Super Bee, Timberline Express, Storm King, Excelerator and Woodward Express.
That list makes sense I think.

Super Bee, American Eagle, American Flyer, Woodward Express are the big high speed lifts out of the three bases. Timberline starts at an on-mountain lodge and serves the nice tree terrain on that side. Storm King (double) and Excelerator (quad) are for advanced/experts who want to get to the terrain on the backside or to other peaks. There are several other fixed-grip lifts that are not included.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
Here’s a scathing opinion piece on this topic. Be warned that there are plenty of profanities used if you don’t like that sort of thing. What I especially like about the article is comment from Kircher at Boyne pretty much saying good luck.. been there, done that, had the customer blow back. We’re going another way. And I for one hope it stays this way! I also hope this little experiment fails overall and that people who are unhappy with it let their voices be heard.

 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
From the ColoradoSun https://coloradosun.com/2021/10/15/...r-revolt/?mc_cid=89ac6e8dd6&mc_eid=493fcd6395

Copper has been doing this for years. We have not bothered getting this pass. We ski on weekdays, avoid weekends and holidays so we have not needed it. If there is a line we use the singles line. What does seem to mess up the lines with this pass is skiers who don't understand how to move in or pair up into the main line. This can slow down the singles line which comes after the Bee Line pass lane.
 

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