Lift ticket price up to $78 |

Lift ticket price up to $78

The Aspen Skiing Co. on Thursday boosted the single-day lift ticket price to a record $78 but will offer substantial savings on multiday tickets.The Skico will increase the single-day price from last season’s $74 to $78, which apparently will be the highest ever charged by a U.S. ski resort, at least temporarily. Vail charged $77 last season and hasn’t disclosed its price for the coming campaign.David Perry, Skico senior vice president, said he expects Vail to be higher. “We’re happy to give them that dubious distinction,” Perry said.The Skico hopes customers and the ski industry concentrate on two new components of its pricing plan that are designed to attract more destination skiers and riders – customers who come from out of state.Different prices will be charged for multiday tickets depending on the time of season. Prices will be different during early and late season (Dec. 1-21 and March 26-April 16); value season (Jan. 2-Feb. 8); and peak season (Feb. 9-March 25). No discounts will be offered over Christmas and New Year’s.A lift ticket good for five days will cost $345 during early and late season, $355 during value season and $365 during peak season. Customers will save between $25 and $45 off the walk-up price they would pay at a ticket window.In addition, the Skico is offering the discounts on multiday tickets throughout the season, as long as they are purchased at least seven days in advance. Usually the Skico had a deadline for purchasing the discounted tickets.”We educated guests to expect some sort of tantalizing offer before Dec. 1,” Perry said.The new pricing is meant to make Aspen and Snowmass more attractive to the hordes of skiers who plan a trip close to the last moment. An increasing number of vacationers are booking later and taking frequent, shorter trips rather than planning a one-week ski trip months in advance, according to Perry.The discounts for tickets bought one week in advance might make more of those folks consider Aspen. The seasonal pricing might also boost sales during slower times.Perry said the single-day ticket price people pay at the window is inevitably the “benchmark” the industry is measured by, justified or not. Just as many people don’t pay the top price for airline tickets, many skiers and riders don’t pay the highest walk-up price.Single-day lift ticket sales at the window account for about 20 to 24 percent of the Skico’s total lift ticket sales, Perry said.Nevertheless, Perry, a longtime veteran of the industry, says he doesn’t let the scrutiny of that single-day ticket price bug him.”For many, many years I’ve been transparent in our pricing,” he said, adding he doesn’t try to “fool” anybody with tricky strategies.Also Thursday, the Skico announced the opening and closing dates for the season. Snowmass and Aspen Mountain will operate from Nov. 24 to April 16, 2006. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk will operate Nov. 24 to April 2.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is

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