Skico varies pass prices |

Skico varies pass prices

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Setting prices for season passes is, like skiing, a balancing act. And the Aspen Skiing Co. has one ski up and one ski down for its 2002-03 season.

The company has raised prices on 31 of the 41 different season pass products it is offering this winter. Most of the increases are between $20 and $40.

On the other hand, the company’s cheapest full four-mountain season pass price is the same as last year at $999.

Similar unrestricted passes with “early buy” discounts this year are $1,495 at Jackson Hole, Wyo., $945 at Telluride and $899 at Snowbird, Utah.

A Skico four-mountain all-access Premiere pass this winter costs $999 for local chamber of commerce members and $1,399 for individuals – that is, if it’s bought by Aug. 30 during the “Super Early” buying period.

“We are happy to offer our Premier pass at the same price as last season for people purchasing by Aug. 30,” said Jodi Roy, the Skico’s ticketing director.

And the Premiere pass, if bought after Nov. 15 without a preseason discount, is also the same price as last season at either $1,399 for chamber members or $1,699 for individuals, which is the Skico’s top pass price.

But balancing the price freezes in the Super Early and regular periods is a $50 price hike on a Premiere pass in the “Early” buying period, which runs from Aug. 30 to Nov. 15. Those Premiere passes will cost $1,249 and $1,549.

The Premiere pass is good on all four Skico mountains, with no blackout days or daily validations. It’s also good for summer lift rides and for discounts at some Skico restaurants and retail stores.

The Skico’s wide variety of season pass products comes from the practice of selling at least 10 different types of passes in three price periods, about half of which are discounted for valley chamber of commerce members.

The Skico does not release specific pass sales figures, but spokesman Jeff Hanle said that the Premiere pass and the two-day-a-week pass are the most popular passes.

And, he said, most people now buy their season passes in the Super Early season, which, as you hopefully know by now, runs until Aug. 30.

Prices on all forms of one- and two-day-a-week passes are up over last year between $20 and $30. A chamber two-day-a-week pass will cost $879 until Aug. 30, while an individual two-day-a-week pass will cost $929 after Nov. 15.

The chamber discount is open to employees of local businesses that belong to a chamber in the Roaring Fork Valley. Also, seniors 65 to 69 get the same discount, which can be as much $300 on a full pass.

The 20-day pass and the College 20-day passes are priced up this season by $20 to $40. The 20-day pass now costs $840, or $42 a day. Procrastinate and buy in late November, and you’ll pay $920, or $46 a day. Chamber discounts do not extend to the 20-day passes, but more days can be added for $49 a day.

After being introduced last year, the Aspen Highlands/Buttermilk two-mountain passes are returning, with some prices held in check and others up $30.

The AH/BM full pass costs $619 Super Early and $729 without a discount. For those paying attention, that means if Highland Bowl is open 100 days this winter, it would cost $6.19 a day to ski it. Just pennies per vertical foot!

And the best-named pass this winter, the AH/BM “Validator,” will cost between $399 and $449. After 30 validations of $10 each, the pass morphs into a full unrestricted AH/BM pass.

Silver passes, for those over 70, are a flat $149 this season with no preseason discounts. Last year, the Super Early and Early price was $119, but the regular season price was $149.

Passes for kids 6 and under went up a buck across the board to $36.

And passes for local school kids, which are handled through a direct mail offer (the passes, not the kids), are up $4. Passes for kids in grades one through eight are now $119 while passes for grades nine through 12 are $219.

This year’s prices or sales dates for the popular Classic Passes have not been set. When the prices are set, however, they they can be purchased in advance if you buy one of the following types of passes: a one- or two-day-a-week, a 20-day, or a AH/BM Full or Validator pass.

The Skico’s top daily lift ticket price this season is $68, and discounts as low as $51.20 a day are available until Dec. 1. That might help you with the value-per-day equation, as in, if you pay $1,699 for a pass, you’ll need to get 25 days in to meet the $68 ticket-window price.

Please consult the chart on page A1 for more insight. If that doesn’t help much, the Skico’s phone number is 925-1220.

Good luck.

And have a good season.

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