Letter: Goodbye, Aussie skiers | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Goodbye, Aussie skiers

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

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

Then if they have teenage kids, Skico does not sell teenager snowboard packages, i.e. lift pass plus gear rental plus lessons. Each item has to be purchased separately.

It gets worse. Last season, one Australian dollar — when our resort’s Australian skier numbers declined from previous years — 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.

Ian Sanderson

Snowmass Village and Australia

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