High Points: Lift tix — A bargain

Paul E. Anna
High Points

So word came this week that a single-day lift ticket here in Aspen for the holiday season, from Monday December 21 to Sunday January 3rd, will sell for $199. You could hear the groans from locals resonate through the hills at the announcement. Never mind that most will have season passes or some other form of discounted ticket, it is just the mere thought of tickling the $200 mark that is cause for uproar.

Now I don’t want to be an apologist for the Aspen Skiing Company, but to me $199 to ski the crown jewel of American skiing during the height of what is traditionally the busiest time of year is a total bargain. It may seem on the face of it to be a lot of money, a pair of Benjamins for a six-hour day. But break it down. That’s $33 an hour, about the price of a yoga class. If you ski all day at, call it three runs an hour which would be eighteen runs, that is a little short of $12 a run.

Now that 18-run figure is a good one to compare to golf course greens fees. I like to say that skiing Aspen Mountain is the ski world’s equivalent of playing 18 holes of golf at Augusta National in Georgia, home of the famed Master’s golf tourney. Except, unless you know a member or have won the tournament, you can’t get on Augusta. So let’s use Pebble Beach as the golf course that would be most comparable to Aspen on the sports enthusiast bucket list.

As of this year, a round at Pebble would run you $575 for greens fees. Nearly three times what you would pay to ski a holiday Sunday at Aspen. Then there is a $95 caddie fee and, of course, the well-deserved tip. Figure you can count on close to $800 for your five or so hours seaside at Pebble on any given weekday. Just try getting a reservation. And our buck ninety-nine is still less than “That other resort” charged last year for a single-day walk up pass. $209 was the tariff to ski/ride Vail/Beaver Creek last year.

Of course, regardless of whether you feel that the price of lift tickets is a money grab or a comparative bargain, one thing we all can agree on is that this ski season will be unlike any before it. Just getting on the slopes will be a priceless experience and let’s all hope that the pandemic situation and mother nature agree to give us a few days of bliss.

No matter what you end up paying, it will be worth it.