Ski pass announcement earns praise from Aspen locals
August 20, 2009
ASPEN – News that the price of an Aspen-Snowmass ski pass will drop this season produced the sort of grins normally reserved for a powder day from a handful of locals basking in Thursday afternoon’s sunshine.
“This is my reaction,” said Alex Rebeiz, giving a thumbs-up at Durrance Sports. He’s a partner and CEO at the downtown shop, which buys a Premier Pass for six full-time employees. This season, the most discounted price for the pass is $1,099 – down $200 from last winter.
“It’s a nice break. In essence, that break pays for one of those passes,” he said. “Every little bit helps in these tough times.”
“It’s the first time I think I’ve ever see the ski company lower the price,” said local businessman Don Sheeley, a member of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association board of directors and an avid skier. “I’m just happy to see they’re recognizing the times and doing something about it.”
Gone this season is the two-day pass of old, which offered two days of skiing or riding per week. This year’s Premier Pass, which offers unlimited skiing and riding at local ski areas, costs $180 more than last season’s most discounted price for the two-day pass. The Skico’s new Flex Pass, for $819 if purchased by the early deadline, is much like the old one-day pass, allowing someone to ski or ride one day a week throughout the season, but also purchase additional days for $49 per day.
Many locals purchase the Premier Pass as a matter of course, and few voiced concern about the loss of the two-day option.
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“My employees usually buy a two-day pass, but only ski one day,” Sheeley said. “I think people need to sit down and do the math and figure out what works for them.”
“That’s a no-brainer – for a hundred more bucks you can ski every day,” said Steve “Hank” Doris of Aspen.
“A lot of people think the Aspen Skiing Co. doesn’t care about the locals and this and that,” Doris said. “It will be a positive P.R. move more than anything. I don’t think any more people will buy a pass.”
But Greg Ernst thought the Premier Pass price might entice some locals to spring for the full pass.
“A thousand bucks is a pretty good deal – I think that’s a good value,” he said.
Charlie Tarver, owner of the Hub of Aspen bike shop, contends an Aspen ski pass would be worth the price even if it went up. That said, the Skico has made a “kind gesture,” he said. Tarver buys passes for his employees.
“It’s great that they’re being sensitive to the needs of the community, and they’re a member of the community,” Tarver said. “I think they realize that many people in the community, even though they are still employed, they’re making less.
“In return, I hope people remember this,” Tarver added. “The ski company is always an easy target for the sharp tongues among the locals.”