Aspen Skiing Co. says ‘thanks’ to pass holders with bonus day, discounted lift tickets

Roy Coats butters through some powder at Snowmass on Tuesday.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

Most people who bought season passes from Aspen Skiing Co. received an unexpected bonus this year as a sort of thank-you during a tough season.

Flex and Double Flex passholders received one free extra day of skiing this season. Premier passholders already have unlimited access to the slopes, so Skico gave them discounted lift tickets for friends and other goodies.

“It’s to reach out to people and say, ‘Yeah, we know it’s been a tough year, thanks for sticking with us,’” said Jeff Hanle, Skico vice president of communications.

The Aspen area snowpack is about two-thirds of normal. Precipitation has been below average in November, December and January. The long-range weather forecast for February by the National Weather Service indicates more of the same.

Skico was down 20 percent in skier visits from the start of the season through Dec. 31 compared with last season. Colorado Ski Country USA, a state trade association, said its 23 members were down 13 percent cumulatively at the end of December.

Auden Schendler, Skico’s senior vice president of sustainability and community engagement, said last month the ski industry had already lost “easily in the multiple tens of millions” (of dollars) in business by early January due to the lack of snow.

So it’s understandable that ski resorts and Colorado Ski Country USA have been quick to alert potential customers about new snowfall whenever it falls.

Aspen Skiing Co. passholders were informed by email Tuesday of the bonuses. It was timed to coincide with a little surge of snow. Snowmass received 8 inches of snow Monday night and into Tuesday.

“We wanted to give people another reason to be excited,” Hanle said of the bonuses.

Flex and Double Flex passholders can use their day any week of this season. The bonus day will automatically be in effect when they walk the lift line after using their purchased days for any given week.

In addition, those passholders received a voucher for 50 percent off one lift ticket. The lift ticket is transferable, so it can be given to a friend.

Premier passholders received two vouchers for lift tickets at 50 percent off. They are transferrable to anyone at any time this season. They also received two discounted ski school vouchers, dining discounts and 30 percent off purchases of skis, boots and poles at Four Mountain Sports through April 15.

The bonuses for pass holders was discussed by Skico executives more than a month ago when they brainstormed on what they could do to satisfy customers in a low-snow year. They added Ullr Night parties at Elk Camp Restaurant at Snowmass and scheduled apres ski parties at the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain.

Skico also has altered some of its special packages aimed at destination guests who come for an overnight stay. A kids-ski-free package used to require longer lead times when the reservation was required prior to a trip. Now it can be booked closer to arrival, Hanle said.

The deadline for another prime promotion, the Perfect Storm Package, also was extended. It is now valid through March 31. The ad copy is a bit misleading on the reason.

“Thanks to all of the fresh powder we’ve received, on-mountain conditions are shaping up to be pretty spectacular at Aspen Snowmass — so — we are giving you another chance to book lodging packages,” says the ad on Skico’s website.

Hanle said season passholders probably wouldn’t receive additional bonuses this season.

“I think at this point it’s just a one-shot deal,” he said.