Vail lift ticket price tops $90

Edward Stoner
Vail correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado

VAIL ” This week, Vail and Beaver Creek quietly raised their single-day lift ticket price to $92, the most expensive in the nation.

The price outpaces the cost of Aspen’s top daily ticket rate this winter ” $87.

“Outrageous,” said snowboarder Matt Teeter of San Diego as he headed toward Vail’s slopes. “That’s really expensive.”

Regardless, Teeter and friend Dan Doose walked away from the Vail Village ticket window on Thursday with their newly bought $92 lift tickets affixed to their coats.

“I remember being outraged at paying $45 for a lift ticket at Mammoth a few years ago. Now it’s double,” said Doose, of Oceanside, Calif.

However, with the different passes, packages and discounts that Vail Resorts offers, many skiers don’t pay the full $92 price.

But there’s cachet that comes with expensive lift tickets, said Nolan Rosall, a ski-industry analyst with RRC Associates in Boulder.

“The concept is the higher-priced lift tickets are indicative of higher quality,” he said. “The best quality, the best experience, priced in a way that reflects that.”

Vail Mountain was recently ranked as the second-best ski resort in North America, behind Deer Valley, in the annual SKI magazine poll. Deer Valley’s top lift ticket is $81.

The top price ” even if people aren’t paying it ” allows skiers to put their discounts in perspective, Rosall said.

“(The $92 price) sets a benchmark for people to evaluate the package they are getting,” Rosall said.

Last year, Vail Resorts got about $46 in lift-ticket revenue per skier day across its five resorts, even as peak daily lift tickets were $81 at Breckenridge, $82 at Keystone and $85 at Vail and Beaver Creek.

This year’s peak daily price is up 26 percent from 2003-04, when it was $73.

Tony Brettkelly, vacationing from San Francisco, said he got a slight discount because he bought a multi-day pass. The high price is worth it, he said, as he headed for the slopes Thursday in Vail Village.

“It is for us because it’s just once in a very blue moon,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Vail Resorts could not be reached for comment.