Aspen Skiing Co. single-day ticket prices aim to push skiers to off-peak times

Cheryl Hubbell skis down Knowlton’s run on Aspen Mountain on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Hubbell was visiting with friends from Seattle. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Much like with the season passes, Aspen Skiing Co. is pushing people to get on the hill on the weekdays and outside the peak times and that is reflected again in the cost of single-day lift tickets, which was released Tuesday.

Skico will sell its single-day ticket for $149 per day on the week days and $164 for a weekend in the early season (Nov. 26 through Dec. 20) and late season (April 5 to April 18).

For the regular season (Jan. 4 to Feb. 11) the prices are $174 and $189 for a weekend and the peak season (Feb. 12 to April 4) the prices are $179 and $194.

For those who plan ahead, all of those ticket prices will have a 15% discount if purchased by Dec. 4.

“This ticketing strategy is similar to season passes, incentivize people to look at non-peak periods,” Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said Tuesday. “That’s a market-driven incentive to manage capacity.”

The holiday season will be $199 per day from Dec. 21 to Jan. 3, according to the website. Last season, that price was $184 if purchased in advance.

Ticket offices will be open with all the precautions in place and there will be walk-up sales, but Hanle said if there are caps put in place during the season by the public health officials on the number of people allowed on the hill, those who wait might not get a ticket.

While some resorts in the state are implementing reservations systems, Skico is not going that route at this time. However, reservations may be required “based on prevailing state and local COVID-19 metrics as determined by health and government agencies. Should these metrics show an increased rate of community spread that initiates additional restrictions and regulations, we may implement a reservations system across all products,” Skico says on its website.

CEO and president Mike Kaplan said last month that a reservation system would a logistical challenge but they are ready if needed.

“We’ve developed the capability to do it, but we’re not going to implement it,” Kaplan told The Aspen Times on the day the season pass prices and plans were announced. “We’re going to implement all the other social-distancing protocols and the balancing of visitations. We modeled that out carefully and we think that will prevent us from having to roll out a reservation system, which logistically is the hardest.”

Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are scheduled to open Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving Day), with Aspen Highlands opening Dec. 12 and Buttermilk on Dec. 18.

Skico is using the discount by Dec. 4 to have skiers plan ahead. Hanle said Tuesday that if the state or Pitkin County Public Health Department puts restrictions on numbers in the future, those who might want to come could get squeezed out. For those who buy early but something comes up, all purchases are fully refundable, Hanle said.

“Your best shot to getting on the hill is buy as far in advance as you can,” Hanle said, adding, “the key message to people is when you book, get everything taken care of because it’s fully refundable. The longer the wait the bigger chance you take at not getting a ticket.”