Expect Skico pass prices to increase | AspenTimes.com

Expect Skico pass prices to increase

Working on that off-season budget and wondering how much to set aside for a season ski pass?

Well, use last year’s pass lineup as a guide and plan on spending slightly more.

“We don’t have anything new and the price increases will be modest,” said Aspen Skiing Co. Chief Operating Officer John Norton. That’s all the hint he would give on what to expect.

The definition of modest remains open for interpretation, at least for a few more days. Norton said last week that the company was within seven to 10 days of making an announcement.

It’s a safe bet that the Skico will keep the same philosophy reflected in pass prices the last few seasons – that is, skiers and riders who can get out the most are rewarded with the most economical deals.

The premier pass – good at all four local ski areas anytime – went up between 3 and 9 percent last season, depending on when in the fall it was purchased.

The popular two-day per week pass went up 8.5 percent in price last season.

The big question for the 1999-2000 season is whether the premier pass will remain under $1,000 during the early-bird purchase period.

Last season, the pass was priced at $949 for employees of businesses that belonged to the resort associations of Aspen and Snowmass Village. That was the early-bird price.

The Skico shows little inclination to enter the cheap-pass competition being waged among several Colorado resorts. Ski areas that depend on Front Range residents – such as Winter Park, Breckenridge, Keystone and Copper Mountain – are offering discounts again, but not as low as the $200-per-person deal seen last season.

The bargains have forced resorts that aren’t quite as dependent on Front Rangers, such as Steamboat and Monarch, to offer similar packages to try to make a splash.

The Aspen Skiing Co. is making a different pitch with cheap tickets. It’s trying to lure customers from major markets around the country with prices that are as low as $39 per day when six-day lift tickets are bought before Dec. 1.

When they announced the discounted lift-ticket program last spring, Skico executives vowed that locals wouldn’t be forced to pay higher prices for season passes to make up for the company’s lower prices on lift tickets.

Instead, the Skico is banking on greater volume of business from out-of-town tourists due to the lower prices.

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