Skico explains price strategy |

Skico explains price strategy

Only rarely do I feel compelled to respond to letters in the paper, especially those that are not written in a respectful way. As a matter of principle, I prefer to talk to people face to face.

Nonetheless, I do believe it would be helpful for the business community in Aspen/Snowmass to further understand our current price strategies and why we believe that they are going to work well to improve business for all of us.

This year, the Aspen Skiing Co. has made a number of changes to our ticket price and product offerings, as well as how we market and sell those products. All changes are very carefully researched, and are done with extensive competitive analysis, and even soul-searching. Ultimately, we strongly believe that these efforts will be positive for all businesses and will reward our guests accordingly.

We are working hard to expand our sales network by building better working relationships with our top tour operators, hotel properties and travel agents. In order to support these distribution channels, we provide some of our best prices to these channels so that they, in turn, can sell Aspen/Snowmass more strongly than they do our competitors.

To achieve this we provide discounted net rates on our tickets through a wide variety of offers for people to book packages through hotels and tour operators. For example, one of the top properties in Snowmass commented last week that the discounted ticket package offers we made available (and marketed) for Thanksgiving helped immensely in filling their rooms with Front Range guests.

Our pre-Dec. 1 offer, which sold very strongly, featured a savings of $50 on a six-day ticket. Our package offerings in the market both domestically and around the world are very competitive and better than our most direct competitors. These types of offers and policies are making Aspen/Snowmass more competitive than ever before, and business will improve as a result.

One change in ticket price policy that has drawn comment from some guests is no longer offering our lowest prices at Christmas ” our highest demand period. Whenever we make a change like this, it is sure to make some guests unhappy.

We strive to ensure that we provide excellent value for every dollar spent on our mountains, and are confident that the families visiting at Christmas this year will be satisfied with their decision to come to Aspen/Snowmass because of the fantastic experience they have, thanks to the service all of you provide.

The truth is that other ski resorts do not discount at Christmas either, and the attempts in past years to increase business by discounting during high season have been woefully unsuccessful. We believe it is fair for us to charge full price at Christmas, when airlines, hotels and restaurants are all at full rate.

One of the other items modified this year is that we consistently provide the best prices to those who book in advance. Currently, we have attractively priced seven-day advance discounted tickets available (discounted when purchased one week before arrival).

In addition to getting this discount directly through the Skico, guests can get this rate from their accommodation property (the tickets are also commissionable to the properties). Other discounted multiday tickets are available through our tour operator partners, in packages, throughout the season including Christmas.

When it comes to season passes and Classic passes, we believe that our prices are fair and enable many families in the Roaring Fork Valley to be able to ski. From school season passes (from only $124 for school kids) to Classic passes that offer six days of skiing ($89-$119, less than $20 per day) there are a multitude of offerings that enable skiing and snowboarding to be accessible to local families.

The most popular season pass, the Chamber Pass, has increased in price the equivalent of only 1 percent per year over the past three years, far less than inflation.

Unfortunately, some of the conclusions written in Monday’s letters to the editor and a recent Snowmass Sun were not based on knowledge of the actual facts. My intent in writing this letter is to openly share with you our rationale behind our pricing policies.

I am more than happy to discuss these issues with anyone ” resident, guest or business operator ” in an open-minded and respectful way.

David Perry ,

Senior Vice President ,

Aspen Skiing Co.

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