Skico targets Front Range skiers | AspenTimes.com

Skico targets Front Range skiers

The Aspen Skiing Co. has quietly come up with a cost-effective way to compete with Vail for Front Range skiers.Aspen Skiing Co. officials acknowledge they will never attract as many customers from Denver because it takes an extra 90 minutes to drive here from Vail, which is an even farther drive than the Summit County resorts.”It’s very, very difficult to pull people past those other resorts,” said David Perry, Skico’s senior vice president of marketing.But at least price isn’t a hurdle.Vail Resorts has milked loads of publicity from its Colorado Passport, which allows buyers to ski unlimited times at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin along with 10 times at Vail or Beaver Creek. That pass is $349 for the 2005-06 season for people who possessed the same pass last season. The price hasn’t been announced yet for new passholders.The cheap pass is aimed at capturing more of the Front Range market.Aspen Skiing Co. has countered with its seven-day Classic Pass. Last year the company charged $179. The price is up to $219 this year.”Our Classic Pass was very successful in the Front Range, as well as in the valley,” Perry said.He won’t say just how successful because he doesn’t want competitors to know. But Perry clearly feels there are more customers to tap from the Front Range.The Skico used to offer a four-day classic pass. He figured an attractively priced seven-day pass would get attention, so he introduced it last season. On-mountain surveys and purchasers’ addresses showed it increased the business from the Front Range, he said.So it was brought back this season. The Classic Pass is available at limited times in the Front Range, the Roaring Fork Valley and other locations in Colorado. At $219, it translates into about $31 per outing. Perry said he has learned that the average times that Vail Resorts’ attractive pass is used is nine times per year. That translates into about $39 per outing.The average Denver skier and rider who is willing to drive farther could be getting a better value in Aspen, Perry said. The extra time spent on the road can be offset by less time in chairlift lines.”We do market with messages like that,” Perry said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com