Aspen boosts lift ticket price to $129, Vail at $145 | AspenTimes.com

Aspen boosts lift ticket price to $129, Vail at $145

Aspen Skiing Co. boosted its window price for a single-day lift ticket to $5 beyond last season's peak. That still falls well short of Vail's walk-up window rate.

The walk-up lift-ticket price is akin to an airfare without an advance purchase. It's the highest possible rate, and one that many consumers can avoid with advance planning.

Skico raised its price to $129 for a ticket good at Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk.

Vail and Beaver Creek are currently charging $145 for a walk-up, single-day ticket. The price increases to $150 Friday, according to information on the resorts' websites and confirmed by a member of the public relations staff.

Aspen topped out at $124 last season and $117 in 2012-13.

Skico also charges a one-time fee of $5 for a radio-frequency card, which is a scannable lift ticket. The card can be reused, and customers who possess theirs from prior seasons can use them when they return this season.

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Vail's peak walk-up price for a single-day ticket was $129 last season. The price typically falls after the holidays.

Aspen and Vail, like much of the ski industry, contend that the single-day lift ticket-price gets an unfair amount of scrutiny. Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the ticket generally accounts for less than 10 percent of sales, yet the price is frequently quoted.

Hanle said Skico customers who plan ahead and purchase multi-day tickets can save substantial dollars. If purchased seven days in advance, for example, Skico is charging $218 for a two-day ticket and $495 for a five-day ticket. The five-day ticket knocks the per-day price down to $99.

Hanle said buying packages reduces the lift ticket price even further. The purchase of the Perfect Storm package, for example, provides one day of free lift tickets, equipment and lodging when at least a four-day package is purchased.

The four- and seven-day Classic Passes reduce skiing to as low as $60 per day, Hanle noted.

A customer would be hard-pressed to complain about conditions after the latest storm deposited more than a foot of snow on the slopes. Snowmass had 86 percent of its intermediate terrain and 70 percent of its advanced terrain open Monday. Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands had all their intermediate terrain and most of the advanced terrain open.

Vail Resorts also promotes options that drastically reduce the price of skiing. In addition, a ticket agent said the price of a single-day ticket is reduced to $120 per day if purchased through a person who has a season pass.

Elsewhere in Colorado ski country, Breckenridge is charging $140 for its single-day lift ticket. The price increases to $145 Friday. Telluride is charging $118 over the holiday period. Copper Mountain is selling its tickets at $128 for the walk-up rate but reduces it to as low as $89 over the holidays with a prepurchase.

Winter Park had a unique pricing strategy: A limited number of tickets are available each day over the holidays that offer significant savings from the $129 walk-up rate.

Most resorts are dropping their prices after the holiday rush.

scondon@aspentimes.com

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