Aspen and Vail lift ticket prices start their climb to peak holiday rate | AspenTimes.com

Aspen and Vail lift ticket prices start their climb to peak holiday rate

Skiers check out the tree skiing at Aspen Highlands on Saturday. The opening of more terrain boosted Aspen Skiing Co.'s walk-up window price to $129 although discounts are available for advanced purchases.

Lift ticket prices at Aspen and Vail are increasing with snowfall totals.

Aspen Skiing Co.'s prices increased by $30 Saturday from $99 for adults to $129 for a walk-up ticket at the window. The price jumped because the amount of terrain increased so significantly, said Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk opened for the season, as scheduled, Saturday. Additional terrain opened on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass.

More snow is expected over the next week, and lift ticket prices will continue to rise until they reach the peak between Christmas and New Year's.

"Dec. 17 we're scheduled for another bump," Hanle said. He was uncertain Friday what the peak price will be.

Vail and Beaver Creek charged $161 for the walk-up window price for a ticket Saturday.

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As always, Aspen and Vail reduce the per ticket price through advanced sales and multi-day tickets. Most ski resorts set the price of a single-day lift ticket high so there is an incentive for customers to buy bigger packages.

"You want to purchase in advance for the biggest savings," said Sally Gunter, senior manager of communications at Vail Mountain.

Aspen Snowmass reached a peak price of $139 for a walk-up, single-day lift ticket last season. Vail and Beaver Creek maxed out at $175 for their walk-up, single-day ticket price last season.

As of Friday, the price for an advanced purchase of a single-day lift ticket at Vail for Dec. 30, in the heart of the busiest week of the year, was $159. Guntler said she didn't know Friday what the walk-up window price will be during the holidays.

Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs had fun this week with the pricing of its neighbors.

"If you were expecting the ritzy resorts of Deer Valley or Vail to boast the most expensive lift ticket in the ski industry this season, you'd be wrong," Sunlight said in a statement.

The resort is offering a $700 lift ticket called the Sunny 700. It not only gets the buyer on the slopes for a full day, it also gets them a limited edition Sunlight 50th anniversary pair of Meier skis and a ticket to Iron Mountain Hot Springs. A $600 version of the package comes with a limited edition snowboard.

Sunlight, which boasts 680 acres of terrain, raised its regular lift ticket price by $3 to $63 for the season for adults. It held the line at $45 for kids. The prices won't be climbing for the holidays, said Troy Hawks, marketing and sales director. The resort charges one price for the season.

Sunlight is celebrating its 50th birthday in style this season and is ready to take on the bigger, more famous resorts.

"Sunlight might not have any fur shops or an influx of celebrities, but we do have big skiing and riding in the heart of the Colorado Rocky Mountains," Hawks said. "And now we can boast that we have one of the most affordable skiing experiences in the industry as well as the most expensive special one-day lift ticket offering in the country, if not the world."

scondon@aspentimes.com

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