With the Aspen KSL Capital Partners acquisition of Stratton VT and Mt. Tremblant, PQ, and Vail buying the iconic Stowe VT resort, it appears the ski industry has passed a tipping point. The trend is now toward nation-wide reach, corporate management and marketing, multi-resort passes that can be used from coast to coast, and certainly more choices. These multi-resort passes are formed through acquisition and merger of resorts or through collaboration between individual independent resorts.
The good news is that the ubiquitous pass idea—Epic, Mountain Collective and others—gives the skier lots of opportunities for variation and actually brings the price of skiing down if you ski a lot. These passes give you, for example, two days skiing at designation resorts and half-price tickets if you want to ski more. Passes are on sale now for next season and, if you’re interested, now is the time to buy.
On the other hand, what about senior discounts for the less active skier? Stowe currently has a Super Senior Card (70+) that reduces lift ticket prices to as little as $44 a day. The question is will new management sustain these in the future? Vail gives seniors a five percent discount for day lift tickets at the home base resort in Colorado. For example, a regular adult ticket in late April is priced at $123; seniors 65+ pay $113. Granted it’s Vail, but that’s not much of a discount. What’s the point, Vail?
We know from reader surveys that seniors like discounts and deals. Perhaps we will see second tier areas who do encourage seniors with nice discounts and amenities benefiting from new traffic, especially from those who ski less than 10-20 days a season. Perhaps seniors will gravitate to where the lift prices are always reasonable. Perhaps local, mom-and-pop areas will get a boost from seniors re-discovering the benefits of smallness.
We will be watching.