Oh boy! It’s time to take a look at another one of the most commonly written items in our guest surveys and social media comments: lift ticket pricing. Pricing is something every resort always hears about, year in and year out, but I’ve noticed that this year in particular there has been a lot of feedback on our lift ticket prices. Considering the uniqueness of this winter and the decisions we made to adjust to it, I can understand why.
I want to start off by giving some quick background on how the industry has been handling capacities this winter because it’s quite connected to ticketing strategies. Resorts have typically created self-imposed capacities. In Vermont for example, we don’t have capacity requirements for skier visits. What we do have, however, are capacity restrictions for our indoor spaces like base lodges and restaurants. It’s these indoor capacities, whether a state is requiring them or whether a resort is simply determining their own, that is dictating visitor capacity. We don’t want our indoor facilities overrun, and so have adjusted overall visitation to help with that.
I won’t speak for all ski areas, but generally, resorts have been limiting skier visits two different ways. The first is to use a reservation system for season pass holders. By limiting season pass visits, a resort can then sell more day tickets within its capacity. The second strategy, and one we’ve been using, is to not restrict our pass holders and instead sell fewer day tickets. To look at this another way, we essentially have a reservation system in place for day ticket sales, when others have a reservation system in place through season pass holders or even parking reservations.
So what does this all have to do with lift ticket pricing? Well it essentially comes down to supply and demand. Since we’re selling so few day tickets, we’re offering them at a premium price, which is also another way to help limit visitation. We’ve reduced lift ticket sales differently for different days depending on what we forecast for season pass demand, but as an example, most days saw their lift ticket quantity reduced by as much as 75% this season. In fact, if you read Amber’s blog post from earlier this month, this has been quite noticeable to us, with paid visits (those from day tickets) down about 60% this season.
Knowing that, you can still find good value in our lift ticket prices this season. The way we structured tickets this year is to sell them dynamically. What this means is we have different prices for different days, based on our forecasted demand. Most days we sell a limited number of tickets at a certain price and then when those tickets sell out we sell another batch at a higher price. That keeps tiering up in pricing until eventually the day sells out. So just like in years past, the sooner you purchase, the likely lower the price will be. Or another way to think of it is as inventory for a day gets low, prices go up.
Most of the feedback we hear on ticket pricing hones in on the highest price we have: $169. Yes, that’s the price we set for All-Mtn holidays, and a number of weekends, but there are lower prices be found if you get flexible. You can take a look at March and see some days are priced as low as $100 for an All-Mtn ticket. As a reminder, it’s best to grab these prices early before demand drives them up.
At Mt. Ellen it’s even a little better. There are a couple $99 days still on the calendar, but the majority of Mt. Ellen tickets are available for $89 right now. Not bad for 2600′ of vert!
And of course there are still some discounts around. Unused Quad Packs from last season, IKON Friends and Family tickets, and Ski With Me Tickets among others all still exist. You can view all of our special ticket redemption info here.
So that’s all well and good, but I imagine many of you are wondering what the future holds. Well, naturally that’s hard to say. I would think it’s a pretty safe bet that once the pandemic is fully in the rearview mirror and capacities are less of a concern, we will take a long hard look at our ticketing again. It also wouldn’t be wild to assume that we would start revisiting some of our previous promotions, events, and discounted tickets that we have had in the past. Nothing’s guaranteed, but nothing’s off the table either. At this point, we’re doing what we can to help create a safe and fun guest experience at the resort by not overwhelming our facilities or the slopes. Until circumstances change, we hope you understand, and look forward to welcoming you back this season or in a future one.