Skico isn’t the problem |

Skico isn’t the problem

Harry Peisach
Aspen Ski Tours

After reading the past two issues of the Snowmass Sun, I have noted that some are critical of Aspen Skiing Co.’s current ticket pricing policies. Criticism of the Aspen Skiing Co.’s current ticket pricing policies is misplaced.

As president of and Aspen Ski Tours, I study and understand the ski resort competitive environment. Our company is the largest ski tour operator in Colorado and is responsible for booking more business into Aspen/Snowmass than any other company. We also book 28 other resorts in western North America, many of which compete directly with Snowmass.

Over the past 33 years, our success here and elsewhere has depended partly on ski area operators like the Aspen Skiing Co. These companies provide us with aggressive and competitive rates on lift tickets and other package elements (ski school, ski rentals), which we then market and sell to our skier clients in conjunction with lodging and air packages.

As a business person and Snowmass resident, I would like to say that the current ticket offers and other strategies in place from Aspen/Snowmass are very competitive and very well thought out. We deal with thousands of Aspen/Snowmass-bound guests and have not had a single complaint about the value of lift tickets for this resort.

A lift ticket is a small component of many that make a ski vacation. Should we ask the lodging community to discount their rates at Christmastime? How about the airlines or local restaurants? Why should a business discount its most valuable product or service during peak periods or to last-minute buyers?

In fact, the Skiing Co. makes discounted tickets available to the public if they are purchased in advance and/or purchased through tour operators like us. This is a sound strategy that encourages advance reservations and is similar to those of all other destination ski resorts. All efforts to encourage guests to book in advance ” whether it be airline seats, hotel rooms or even lift tickets ” is beneficial to host businesses.

If a company can accurately forecast need, it can plan for and provide the highest-level of service to its clients and can maximize its yield on a limited resource. The new strategies that Aspen Skiing Co. has in place are already proving to be very effective in attracting increased bookings for this winter, with Christmas showing stronger than it has in five years.

It’s important that we all work together with a spirit of cooperation to build on these recent gains. This includes working toward the approval of the much-needed new Base Village project, on-mountain improvements and the new amenities that will revitalize the Snowmass resort. In my opinion Base Village is what is going to keep our resort at the forefront of ski destinations and stabilize our economic base, not the discounting of lift tickets.

Our problems don’t stem from the pricing policies of the Aspen Skiing Co., they stem from the fact that we are an aging resort in a highly competitive environment. Without a new Base Village, competing with other resorts that are making massive investments in their infrastructures will become more and more difficult. Not addressing quickly the need for the approval of Base Village is the real mistake.

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