Skico renews $39 discount ticket |

Skico renews $39 discount ticket

The Aspen Skiing Co. has decided to build off the success of one of the few things that worked well this ski season.

The Skico has already decided it will renew a discounted lift ticket program that reduced the price to as low as $39 per day. That program – one of the most aggressive in the Skico’s history – started this season. The same offer for next season was posted last weekend at the Skico’s ticket offices.

“Based on the success of this year’s $39 ticket, we decided to ride that horse again,” said Skico Chief Operating Officer John Norton, who oversees the company’s marketing campaign.

Norton wouldn’t disclose how many of the discounted tickets were sold this season. That is a figure he doesn’t want the competition to know.

“We sold enough to do it again,” he said with a chuckle. “If we wouldn’t have sold many tickets we wouldn’t have done it again – if it would have been a flop.”

Norton acknowledged that more than 100,000 skier days were generated through the sales of the discounted tickets. Substantial discounts were offered on six-, five- and four-day tickets if they were purchased by Dec. 1. The Skico was flooded with calls right before the deadline.

The same prices will be offered next season for tickets purchased before the same Dec. 1 deadline.

The six-day ticket will be sold for $234, or $39 per day. The five-day ticket will be sold for $225, or $45 per day. The four-day ticket will be sold for $192 or $48 per day.

Even with the success of that program, the Skico is experiencing a lousy season. Skico President and CEO Pat O’Donnell disclosed last week that business is running behind last season’s level through February.

And last season was nothing to brag about. Skier visits were down more than 8 percent.

Below-average snow in the early season and the so-called millennium bust hurt business this season.

Norton said the Skico hasn’t analyzed yet whether the discounted lift tickets were bought by new customers or people who would have skied Aspen-Snowmass anyway.

Even if the tickets were purchased by repeat customers, the program is worth it. It gets people to commit to a trip here and it “gets them to ski more days,” said Norton.

The program also provides good public relations value because it proves that there is affordable skiing in Aspen and helps offset the image that results from having the country’s highest single-day walk-up rate. The Skico’s single-day price topped out at $65 this season.

Norton said the success of the $39 program this season proves that people respond to price.

“I think price is, to some degree, a motivator,” he said.

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