Vail Mountain has yet to limit lift ticket sales this holiday season |

Vail Mountain has yet to limit lift ticket sales this holiday season

Guests approach the walk-up ticket window in the Lionshead area of Vail Mountain on Wednesday. The price of a same day lift ticket was $275. John LaConte/Vail Daily
John LaConte/Vail Daily

In August, Vail Resorts issued a widely publicized warning, telling skiers and snowboarders that daily walk-up lift tickets might not be available if the company’s resorts get too busy this season.

At Vail Mountain, that has not yet been the case, but lift ticket limitations are still “a lever that the resort has to preserve the guest experience,” spokesperson John Plack said on Wednesday.

The warnings of lift ticket limitations received national press, with The New York Times mentioning the policy earlier this month.

“To address overcrowding, Vail Resorts is limiting sales and raising prices of lift tickets,” The Times wrote.

While limitations have not yet been employed, lift ticket prices have definitely risen this season. During last season’s holiday break, Vail Mountain was charging $239 per day for those who purchased day-of lift tickets. On Wednesday, the cost of a same-day lift ticket was $275.

If there was a day that would appear to fit the hallmarks of a limited ski day from the valley floor, it might have been Wednesday in Vail. The resort reported 6 inches of fresh snow to start the morning, a day that fell right in the middle of the holiday break for kids in school. Cars had spilled out of the parking structures onto the town’s South Frontage Road — despite new measures aimed at reducing the number of overflow days — and the usual morning crowds were cued up at the gondolas in Vail and Lionshead.

But, on the mountain, it was a different story. The crowds dispersed quickly in the morning hours, and the queues moved fast. Less than 30 minutes after the resort opened, there was no line whatsoever at the Born Free Express loading portal in Lionshead.

Currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, Vail Mountain plans to unveil a new level of full service in 2023 with the completion of the new Sun Down Express line. Crews are now targeting January for the opening of that lift.

Vail Mountain as of Wednesday had 4,500 acres of in-bounds terrain, served by 29 lifts.

Plack said he skied “from One to 3 to 7 to 4 to 5” in the afternoon and found no waits whatsoever.

“Seeing that type of circulation and overall lack of waits for our lifts is amazing to see this time of year, and we still have the lift ticket limitations in place should the experience change,” he said.