Vail Resorts is at it once again with today’s announcement that the Epic Ski Pass can now be used at some of the most icon ski resorts across Europe.
Last season Vail Mountain in Colorado (a member of the Epic Pass program) was charging $175/ day for lift tickets. This years Epic pass is selling for $809. Marketing wise this is brilliant, you can now sell “ski passes” to a bunch of tourist that most likely will now take a second ski trip during the season.
From a revenue standpoint this is smart however for the skier experience I would question putting more bodies on the mountain especially when Vail saw lift lines as shown below last season.
Clearly Vail Resorts has a large chunk of Colorado ski resorts gobbled up as that’s where the company is located, but did you know Vail is now also operating in Australia at Perisher Ski Resort? How about Niseko in Japan, and if you pay attention to ski industry news you’re probably aware of how Vail basically bullied Park City Mountain Resort out of Utah.
Along with the legit places to ski above Vail also for some reason (think more Epic Pass sales) setup resorts in Minnesota and Michigan. It’s highly doubtful anyone skiing out west will use a Vail Epic Pass in the midwest or east coast, however when you think about the people in those locals. They will surely come to Colorado, Utah or California to use their Epic Passes. And if Vail Resorts did their homework some of these familes will now be flying overseas to ski Vail too.
The 1% takes ski vacation, do you?
Should skiing and riding be available to everyone? You better believe it however a scary trend is happening across the industry, and it’s not just Vail’s fault. Last season lift tickets at some of the best places to ski and ride in the United States were far from affordable, especially if you have a family..
Aspen – $149 / day
Squaw Valley – $139 / day
Jackson Hole – $130 / day
I have actually been wanting to write this article for some time, and I can no longer bit my tongue on this issue. What’s next Vail buys Jackson Hole or Mt Baker? If that happens I would recommend avoiding those places like the plaque and for one main reason.
Vail cares more about uphill capacity and visits than it does the actually skier experience. How would you feel if you showed up to Vail to ski and saw a lift line like this:
If you have been tricked into thinking that waiting in lines to ski is a good thing, well then by all means please stay in Vail. For everyone else maybe it’s time to look at alternatives to Vail like ones we mentioned in this article on 5 Affordable Places to Ski * one thing to note. We wrote that article before Vail took over Park City..
What are your thoughts on this? Are you buying an Epic Pass? Have you ever waited in a line on a powder day, how did that make you feel….