Friday, December 09, 2005

Big ticket or big savings? It depends how you buy.

The Gazette and many other news outlets ran a story yesterday about how Vail had raised its ticket price to $81 a day, making it the most expensive resort in North America. Vail smugly says it charges that much because it can -- it's the best.
Sounds ridiculous right? Who can afford that much cash and also be foolish enough to pay full price? Well, not many.
Vail estimates only 15% of skiers pay full ticket window price.
The rest either get "ski and stay" deals that can knock a daily price down below $50 or get in on early season four-pack and season pass deals that can knock it down to $30 or less.
Smart Front Rangers tend to snap up these last two items. How can you pass up a season pass for $350 or less? Just use it 12 times and you're skiing at about $30 a day! Ski 100 days (ah, to dream) and you're skiing for less than the price of a grande mocha. But can you get in that many days?
There's the rub: The average season pass holder in Colorado, according to Vail, only skis seven days. That works out to $50 a day. Big savings over the $81 price at the ticket window, but not nearly as good a deal as a four-pack.
I'm on my sixth day so far this year. I'm aiming for 40. That will get my daily price down to about $9 a day. Not bad for skiing at the most expensive resort in North America.


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