Letter: Pricing out Australian guests | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Pricing out Australian guests

Yesterday I received an email from United Airlines offering Melbourne-to-Los Angeles flights for $1,287 Australian, and that of course does not include Los Angeles to Aspen.

However, in the school holidays — and Australian school kids have their long summer holidays from around mid-December to the end of January — the Melbourne-to-Los Angeles fare increases around 250 percent to about $3,500 Australian. Thus, a family of four traveling coach would need to spend more than $15,000 U.S. just to get here.

Then, if they have teenage kids, Aspen Skiing Co. does not sell teenager snowboard packages with lift passes, gear rental and lessons — each item has to be purchased separately.

It gets worse. Last season, when our resort's Australian skier numbers declined from previous years, one Australian dollar bought approximately one U.S. dollar. Now one Aussie dollar buys around 86 cents.

Fortunately, Australian skiers do have an alternative to North America, and that is Japan. Same time zone, so no jet lag, and much more family-friendly vacation pricing.

Sorry to be a Jeremiah, but taking on his prophetic mantle, I suspect another decline in Australian skier numbers this year. Not many families I know can afford to spend $30,000-plus on a two-week ski vacation. My wife and I, who normally have a daughter and two teenage grandchildren visit from Australia to ski with us each year in January, must at these prices now ration visits to one person only per year.

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Ian Sanderson

Snowmass Village