And Other Ticket Pricing Ideas.

Station de ski du Semnoz offers hourly ski tickets. Huh?
Station de ski du Semnoz with a  view of Mont Blanc offers by-the-hour lift tickets. That’s different.

Pre-season cocktail hour among veteran skiers often leads to talk of the new season’s pass prices. In 2001 or 2002, when Park City Mountain Resort changed its senior pass from free to $300, a flurry of letters to the editor registered collective outrage. Not to mention that even at $300, it was a great deal for a season’s pass. Now, under Vail’s ownership, it doesn’t matter if you’re 19 or 89, the cost is $599 for locals and $789 for everyone else. To be fair, they throw in the rest of the Vail-owned resorts with the purchase, but not The Canyons, the area next door under Vail’s management.

A short drive away is smaller, more intimate Sundance. Vertical and skiable acreage are smaller, but on weekdays it is less inhabited. On powder days, it is vacant, providing one untracked run after another, some on steep, continuously pitched terrain. Sundance’s food is equivalent to that of a well-reviewed restaurant. And maybe because he’s an older dude, Robert Redford cuts a great deal for seniors (65+). This year, a day pass is $21, up from $15 last season and $12 a few years before that. The season pass is $125.

We’ll be publishing an updated list of where and when the mature set can ski free. Last year, those privileges started at 63 (McCauley Mountain Ski Center, Old Forge, NY) and clustered around 70.

SSAWS (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter Skiing) Indoor Ski Dome outside Tokyo.
SSAWS (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter Skiing) Indoor Ski Dome outside Tokyo had three-hour day passes.

Throughout the industry, ticket-pricing models tend to follow the same ideas: Age, full day, half day, night, multi-day passes, 10 packs, etc. When it was in business, Lalaporte Ski Dome SSAWS, the indoor ski center outside of Tokyo, sold three-hour tickets. The monotony of the place made three-hours seem especially long.

We’ve just learned of an area not far from Chamonix that offers tickets based on the number of hours you choose to ski. Semnoz, is a short drive from Annecy, with a direct view of Mont Blanc. It is 5575′ above sea level, a midget compared to Mont Blanc’s 15,778′. Semnoz is a local’s place, which like Sundance, is reported to deliver endless untracked following big powder dumps.

We mention Semnoz because paying to ski by the hour is an idea that might deserve some attention here in the States.


One Comment

  1. Sam Dispenza says:

    Jon, I kept thinking that I’d get free passes but– as soon as I got there they raised the standards as have other areas too.

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