Sean Beckwith: Fixing the glitch | AspenTimes.com
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Sean Beckwith: Fixing the glitch

You know that feeling when a deal is just too good? I remember when Little Debbies used to be 50 cents per package. I could walk into Convenient (literally the name of the convenient store) and walk out with a Star Crunch, Nutty Buddy, Oatmeal Pie and can of pop for $2.

I also remember when I could upgrade my cellphone for free every two years, then eventually it went to $200 every two years to “We no longer offer that contract, but you can buy a new phone for $800 or $25 per month until you have to upgrade again and sign another $25 per month deal, creating a vicious cycle of $120 per month bills.”

That “They’re not really going to crackdown on password sharing, are they?” feeling is creeping up after last year’s ski pass adjustments. So far, Aspen Skiing Co. has yet to release pass prices beyond the 2021-22 Premiere Pass. If you’re not aware, Skico got rid of the 2-day a week passes and offered a weekday pass as a way to reduce weekend traffic on the slopes to allegedly avoid a reservation system because of the rona.



The caveat is that you used to be able to upgrade the 2-day a week pass to a Premiere Pass for $150. This is the aforementioned “Too good to be true” deal. Not only could you ski seven days a week but you also got the half-off vouchers that come with the Premiere Pass, the very same vouchers that make a ski trip affordable to friends of working locals.

I don’t care about 2-day or weekday passes, just let me upgrade whatever pass I get through work to a Premiere Pass for $150 and we’re good. I have an inclination, though, that this focus on keeping the weekend skiing as unencumbered by locals as possible will continue past the pandemic.



Let me tell you why this matters: Most of the good stuff gets saved for or scheduled on the weekend.

Any and all terrain openings/rope drops seem to be reserved for Saturdays. Just this past week, I closed out my season on Aspen Mountain with a rum punch while sitting in the elements Friday because closing festivities take place Sundays. When people do visit — which they have to because getting time off during the winter is an unwritten no-no so we can’t go to them — they usually come over the, say it with me, weekend.

This may come off as a rant by yet anther entitled local, but what’s the point of living here if they fix the glitch and locals can’t even staycation?

And again, no announcement has been made yet. Also, it would be imprudent to reveal any prices until we know more about what next winter will look with COVID-19 and possible restrictions.

However, I just wanted to get a preemptive “This is bullshit” out there so when the options do get run back, Skico can’t say, “People loved the pass options last year, we’re keeping them.” I’m getting it on the record now: Give me a Premiere Pass or give me death.

There’s also the issue of the Ikon Pass. When Aspen was included free of upgrade, the resentment from regular clientele over the increased crowds Friday to Sunday was a storyline. Coronavirus gave Skico an in to fiddle with pass structure and how to manage weekend traffic, so this winter kind of doubled as a experiment on how to return Aspen to the regular Ikon Pass lineup.

Forgive me if I’m going galaxy brain on you, but I’m naturally skeptical of big corporations, big tech, big government, big pharma, big tobacco, basically anything people have put big in front of with that conspiracy connotation. If you could see a universe where said big entity could possibly be an offshoot of Hydra, I’m skeptical.

That’s the thing about Skico that I haven’t figured out yet. How do I weigh the kumbaya campaigns, the food drives, the political stands, the immaculate grooming against the environmental impacts of a Pandora expansion, taking over Gwyn’s, a future eyesore in place of Life 1A, the greed?

The truth is Skico is somewhere in the gray area, and even though they’ve done more positive things in the community than unfair things, people tend to remember the negative decisions far more than the favorable ones.

The very existence of a weekday pass implies that people who ski Saturday and Sunday — the Front Range visitors, the weekend warriors, but most importantly, the paying customers — take priority over the people staffing all-hands-on-deck Saturdays and Sunday fun days.

Just because we get a deal on a ski pass doesn’t mean we’re getting over on anyone. Maybe I’m being paranoid and all my fears will be allayed once Skico announces 2021-22 options. But often when a deal is so great it feels like stealing, there’s a correction made to save the company money/boost revenue.

The same guy who did away with 50-cent Nutty Buddys is most likely not the guy who got rid of the 50%-off vouchers but he might as well be.

Sean Beckwith would like to know what happened to the happy hour prices at Gwyn’s while we’re on the subject. Reach him at sbeckwith@aspentimes.com.


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