Aspen pass price tops Vail’s | AspenTimes.com

Aspen pass price tops Vail’s

Scott CondonAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN Some Vail-area merchants are grumbling about a season ski pass (see related story) that is $370 cheaper than the Aspen Skiing Co.’s best-priced pass this season.In Vail and Beaver Creek, the price of a merchant pass increased to $869 this season for Eagle County businesses affiliated with a chamber of commerce. In Aspen and Snowmass, the premier pass for businesses that belong to a chamber resort association in the Roaring Fork Valley was $1,239 by Sept. 7. The price since has increased to $1,529.There are some catches with the Vail and Beaver Creek pass: In order for a business’s employees to qualify for the discounted price, at least one owner or manager of the business must attend a customer-service training class through the Vail Chamber and Business Association. The fee is $50 per person or $150 for 10 people for that class, according to the business association’s website.If a business cannot attend a training session or refuses to, the merchant’s pass price is $1,049 for its employees.The Skico’s premier pass through the chamber resort associations has no strings attached. “No brainwashing required,” quipped Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.In addition, the merchant pass for Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek is not valid Nov. 23-24 during Thanksgiving week, Dec. 27-31, during Christmas week and Feb. 16-17 during President’s weekend.The Skico’s premier pass doesn’t have any restrictions.The Skico believes its premier pass offers a good value regardless of how the price stacks up to other resorts, Hanle said: “The per-day cost is phenomenal here,” he said.The ski season is 144 days at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. The cost would be $8.60 per day for a person who can escape for at least one run.The Skico’s premier pass provides access to 5,285 acres at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. The Vail and Beaver Creek merchant pass provides access to about 11,000 acres of terrain at those resorts, as well as Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com.