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Seeking comments from Mid-Atlantic skiers on new Peak Resorts passes
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Updated 3 months ago
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Scott - DCSki Editor
6 months ago

Starting next winter, Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail resorts will no longer offer a Liberty/Roundtop/Whitetail season pass, economical night passes, or the previously popular Advantage Cards.  This change is a consequence of the resorts being purchased by Peak Resorts in 2018.  The only season passes available will be valid at all Peak Resorts properties, which are outside of the Washington, DC region.  You can view details of the available passes here, which have just gone on sale.  This change will likely significantly increase the cost of skiing at these local resorts for many individuals and families in exchange for benefits that many Mid-Atlantic skiers may not find compelling.

I’m working on a news story on these changes and would like to solicit input from area skiers who are willing to be quoted by name in this story.  What are your thoughts on these changes?  Do you find the new pass options compelling?  What impact will this have on your decision to visit Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail next season?  Are you excited about being able to visit additional ski areas in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Vermont?  If you have purchased season passes at the former Snow Time resorts in the past, will you continue to do so?  Are you more or less likely to visit Liberty, Roundtop, and Whitetail as a consequence of these season pass changes?

If you’d like to share your thoughts (positive or negative) for inclusion in this story, please send me an e-mail.  (You’re welcome to share thoughts in this thread, too, but I’m looking for people willing to go on the record for the story.)  You can find my e-mail address here.

6 months ago

I did like the NCC (night passes) card - what a loss.

6 months ago

No way I pay over $600 for a pass to ski WT, RT or Liberty when they are generally open at best 13/14 weekends  And Boooo on elimination of the Advantage Card Program.

I’m not driving 10 hrs.to NE when I can hop on a plane and be in SLC in 5 hours and Denver in 4 hours.  Might as well buy Epic or Ikon.

My guess revenue will go down at the former Snowtime Mtns. until they realize their southern PA pricing is a mistake.

Remember when Snowtime passes were $599 and they got smart and dropped them to $399 and revenue increased?? 

Massanutten is $450 and 10% off if you buy early.  Canaan early prices are likely to be $250-$300   

 

 

6 months ago

Scott,

I’ll throw my two cents in on this.

I am very disappointed with the passes Peak now offers for the former SnowTime resorts.  I think it shows a strong lack of understanding this market and that a “one size fits all” approach as Peak is doing does not work here.  The former ST resorts have been popular daytrips for locals for years.  They have offered great values and have done an excellent job of keeping skiing affordable.  Season pass prices were fair with multiple options, family discounts, advantage cards, and the famous Night Club Card.  There was something to fit virtually any budget, and provided excellent value.

Peak’s multi-area pass works well for the New England area where there are multiple resorts with a radius of a few hours’ drive. If I lived up there, the value wouldn’t be questioned.  However, the closest resort worth visiting for anyone down here, Hunter Mountain, is about 6 hours away.  Jack Frost and Big Boulder, in my opinion, don’t really count as they don’t offer anything more than any of the SnowTime resorts.  Hunter would be a stretch for a weekend trip, leaving immediately after work Friday, skiing Saturday and at least part of Sunday, then driving all the way back.  How many are going to do that, and multiple times to boot?

Peak’s pricing is also prohibitive too.  Everyone understands that if you buy early, you get the best deal.  However, Peak’s pricing is practically punitive - especially for ST pass holders.  An unrestricted pass is already $150 more for an adult, and only before April 30th.  The price goes up considerably after that - upwards of at $1029.  The other pass options are based on blackout dates and day restrictions (midweek, holidays, etc).  And the discounts aren’t that great for what you give up. Ranger pass gives up a lot of holidays and is only $100 cheaper?   That’s a little more than one lift ticket on a holiday, and you give up 11 days!

Peak doesn’t understand the popularity of night skiing here, with only one or two at most of their previous resorts (Crotched, and maybe another) offer it.  Night skiing works here because we have a hills that are close enough for people to be able to go after work.  There are no night options.

Needless to say, current pass holders are livid.  People have the pitch forks and torches out on Roundtop’s FB page, but they’ve always been the most vocal. There’s unhappiness on Whitetail’s and Liberty’s too.

For me personally, I’m looking elsewhere at the moment.  I’ve left comments and messages to all 3 ST FB sites as well as Peak’s.  Peak gave me a smug response.  Whitetail’s said nothing, and RT’s toed the corporate line of more resorts, longer season.  Liberty’s the only one that’s actually tried to have a meaningful dialog.

I don’t go up north, so the “more resorts” doesn’t matter to me.  Longer season only matters if SnowTime somehow has some magic wand to extend the season here.  The Peak pass provides nothing for me that the ST pass didn’t already, but it costs me $150 more.  It costs everyone more.

I was going to buy a pass for my son this coming year (he did the Mountain Passport this year - first year).  It’d cost me nearly $200 more for both of us.  My friend has a family of four … he was figuring on $1500 in passes for next year, and now is pretty much going to pass on having to fork out $2000.

I’m looking at getting a Highlands Pass from Seven Springs, or a Blue Knob pass.  My family lives up that way so I’d get to see them more - win win for us.  I may do a day or two to Roundtop or Whitetail “for old times’ sake” next year, but that’s about it.

Long story short, people were afraid Peak was going to come in and ruin everything, and they were right to be scared.  They have.

I’ll send you an email too.  I’ll be happy to go on the record.

Super

6 months ago

teleman wrote:

No way I pay over $600 for a pass to ski WT, RT or Liberty when they are generally open at best 13/14 weekends  And Boooo on elimination of the Advantage Card Program.

I’m not driving 10 hrs.to NE when I can hop on a plane and be in SLC in 5 hours and Denver in 4 hours.  Might as well buy Epic or Ikon.

My guess revenue will go down at the former Snowtime Mtns. until they realize their southern PA pricing is a mistake.

Remember when Snowtime passes were $599 and they got smart and dropped them to $399 and revenue increased??

Massanutten is $450 and 10% off if you buy early.  Canaan early prices are likely to be $250-$300

 

 

Somebody griping on 7S’s FB page about their early bird discount and was saying that Snowshoe was on an early season discount for like $249 or $279 or something. 7S will never go that cheap.

I agree on heading west vs heading to New England.  If I have to go that far, I might as well go west.  The only thing that would convince me to get a ST pass again would be continuation of the current ST passes, or if several of my friends decided to do a guy’s trip to New England.  A normal ski vacation though?  I’m heading to Utah.

6 months ago

By far the best bang for your buck is SS Ridiclous pass 19’-20’ @$259. If you buy now you can ski the rest of this month for free.  I have spoken to many people who purchase the pass annually who only make 2 X 3 day trips per year and come from a few hours away to as far away as Florida. The average patron travels from 4-6 hours to SS.

The IKON base pass 19’-20’ @$649 allows you to ski at 37 destinations:

SS (local home ski) from the day before Thanksgiving till the end of March this year and many years.

Ski Killington for 5 days as early as the first few weeks of October each year.

Ski Mammoth unlimited till July 4th most years. (current base 160”- 230” w/416” total snow this season).

Ski in the Southern Hemisphere 5 days each (Chile, NZ, Austraila) should cover many of the remainder of 365.

Premier resorts to ski in Tahoe, Salt Lake, New England, Canada, CO, WY, MT, ….

I am not suggesting the Peak Pass isn’t worth it because the 3 local resorts are local to DC/Baltimore and many people will only go for the day or go up for the night. Skiing is getting more expensive but also more flexable and the all encompassing pass is the trend.  When was the last time you paid the daily walk up rate?

 

 

 

6 months ago

I’m too far south but if I were iin/around DC I would get the Ridiculous Pass at current early discounted price over Peak.

6 months ago

I too was extremely surprised by their agressiveness with the pricing and lack of options. If anything, I thought they might actually utitlized some of ST’s options at some of their other day tripping resorts to generate more revenue. I have an Epic Local pass this year which I may have to consider renewing. It is frustrating that the smaller resorts like Whitetail, Liberty and Roundtop are no longer affordable to the locals. Whitetail and Liberty are my hometown mountains and I purchased the Advantage Card this year with the thoughts to jump into the a season pass this coming year. Hopefully they will rethink their decision like they had done in the past with more options added to the mix later on, after season pass revenue was much lower than as expected.

6 months ago

I don’t think any of us are too surprised by the pass change. I fortunately have one more year I can get the drifter pass before I will consider dropping it. Depending on work in 20-21 I might do epic and ikon and drop the peak pass if I have enough PTO.

imo the biggest loss is the mountain passport program, that was nationally recognized as one of the best learn to ski programs. It is honestly the reason I got hooked on the sport as it significantly cut down the cost of entry and got me on the snow for more than just weekend trips, I’ve had a season pass ever since. I have also had at least one friend join me every season and get their first 2-3 experiences on snow because of that program, including at least a few that now own equipment.

The thing that angers me though, is if we are paying peak prices and they are advertising a longer season as a perk, at least one of the snowtime resorts should be making snow right now and trying to make it into April. Big boulder seems to try and stay open as long as possible…if we are paying more they should step up.

liberty did say they will have dynamic lift pricing, buying online or early to save, but with the weather around here unless they do a 3 for all type thing that doesn’t replace the advantage card imo

6 months ago

Not going to purchase anything from Peak - though I’m eligible to buy Drifter pass. Simple math: advantage card + 4-5 days on the slop roughly I pay $250 a year to get some fun from day trips vs paying $399. I’m actually paying for the  access to those resets in New England, which I’d never go. 

For the coming year I would opt in either Ikon and Epic and keep an eye on some group sales for local resorts - they have very competitive pricing (close to advantage card price)  this year. 

6 months ago

I’ve yet to see a pass that’s good at more than one of the four resorts that are day trip distance for me.  Appalachain, Beech. Sugar, and Wintergreen are the places near me.  I looked at individual passes a few years ago.,  Never seen more blackout dates than Wintergreen.  Nothing would beat walk up costs for my 5-10 days per season, but a pass for under $500 that’s good at more than one of those would probably get me out there more often.

6 months ago

rbrtlav wrote:

imo the biggest loss is the mountain passport program, that was nationally recognized as one of the best learn to ski programs. It is honestly the reason I got hooked on the sport as it significantly cut down the cost of entry and got me on the snow for more than just weekend trips, I’ve had a season pass ever since. I have also had at least one friend join me every season and get their first 2-3 experiences on snow because of that program, including at least a few that now own equipment.

Agreed.  That is a huge loss.  Between my season pass’s free learn to ski/board package, the Mountain Passport, and the Cyber Monday special ( 3 x 8 hour lift tickets good any time, no blackouts) for $100, I was able to introduce boarding to my oldest relatively inexpensively.  For about $250/275 out of pocket for me, he gets 5 times out with lifts, rentals, and lessons.  I couldn’t even go that cheap with my own gear and no lessons.

Surprisingly, they weren’t that aggressive about marketing the Mountain Passport program.  I saw signs for it, but the instructors were supposed to talk about it at the end of the lessons.  They didn’t mention it to my son at Whitetail, and Liberty didn’t mention it to my friend’s nephew either.  My friend didn’t even know about it until I told him.

Whitetail’s Own the Mountain program looked pretty good too for the price and a pretty unique offering.  I looked at putting my son in that (16, close to 17) but he couldn’t commit to the times offered due to other activities.  Whitetail was even gracious enough to let him do the program with ski school director’s consent (age 18 minimum, but he was a mature teen) if he could committed.

I enjoyed the discounted lessons too.  $25 for a lesson is a good deal - and we can all use a lesson from time to time.  I think that was another cut from the Peak passes.

6 months ago

crgildart wrote:

I’ve yet to see a pass that’s good at more than one of the four resorts that are day trip distance for me.  Appalachain, Beech. Sugar, and Wintergreen are the places near me.  I looked at individual passes a few years ago.,  Never seen more blackout dates than Wintergreen.  Nothing would beat walk up costs for my 5-10 days per season, but a pass for under $500 that’s good at more than one of those would probably get me out there more often.

WTG passes have gotten less restrictive - they used to not be good until 5 PM on saturday on 12:30 on (non-holiday) Sundays, but they are now good after 4 PM on saturday and all day sunday. They do have an unrestricted pass now, but it is $899 vs $279 for the restricted pass - no thanks!

6 months ago

crgildart wrote:

I’ve yet to see a pass that’s good at more than one of the four resorts that are day trip distance for me.  Appalachain, Beech. Sugar, and Wintergreen are the places near me.  I looked at individual passes a few years ago.,  Never seen more blackout dates than Wintergreen.  Nothing would beat walk up costs for my 5-10 days per season, but a pass for under $500 that’s good at more than one of those would probably get me out there more often.

 FWIW this pass does exist for NC ski areas:

http://www.goskinc.com/goldcard/

 

 

6 months ago

“The thing that angers me though, is if we are paying peak prices and they are advertising a longer season as a perk, at least one of the snowtime resorts should be making snow right now and trying to make it into April. Big boulder seems to try and stay open as long as possible…if we are paying more they should step up.”

!!!!!  Hoses have been rolled up at Lib…

I know it becomes a matter of closing when the additional revenue no longer justifies the epense to keep the lifts turning, and around there that is right about… NOW… but when the longer season is used as a marketing point, they can take a lesson from Killington (which is blowing full force on Superstar right now).

If K has the “King of Spring”  can we at least have a “crown prince of spring”?  

 

6 months ago

Hi 

Communication or lack thereof is interesting. 

Each person or family needs to run numbers. My numbers went up but based on 25 to 30 visits. 

5$ a 4 hr visit about $1.25 an hr increase.   A budget for me is Gas and Pass and for 30 visits it is under 1k a year.

 

FOR NCC / ADVANTAGE CARD - Dynamic pricing save 30 -50%   This pricing model is here to stay. Not new.

 As for Extending season, no one can change sun angle and the effects after March 30.  ZARDOZ works wonders in wet spring snow.

Paying 6 months ahead vs Oct 31 deadline adds more risk to the consumer

The DC/NOVA Market is a long Drive to JFBB and more north. More Gas, More Carbon Stay over is not cheap. 

SCHOOL PROGRAM undefined. Is it have to sign up with a school or be 18 and under? The NCC came from the school program.

Family under Adv used to add extra members at a discount same for a season pass. 

No discounts yet for the family but is it the undefined 18 and under? 

But overall a price increase. 

http://skidome.org/skidome2/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/DYNAMIC-PRICING-LIFT-TICKETS_peak.pdf

Since window rates are not posted - NO  way to compare,   Old way OCT 31 deadline window rates published in Aug

 http://skidome.org/skidome2/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/PEAK_newPasses201920.pdf

Read the PEAK RESORTS 10-Q Oct 31, 2018  https://seekingalpha.com/filing/4267835

March 13 is the next 10-Q for Jan 31, 2019

take care that is what I have 

 

 

6 months ago

You guys are all missing Peak’s main strategy - they want more profit per skier.  Not more skiers.  The ability to ski in Ohio or VT or NH is mostly irrelevent.

I’m mad too.  My family of 4 has been to WT/Liberty/RT about 20 times in the past three seasons using the advantage card.

I’m not buying a pass.  However, I think/hope they will try to lure me back with dynamic pricing in-season.  We’ll see.

One wildcard - agree with other’s it doesn’t appear Peak understands the popularity/visits tied to night skiing (athough keep in mind they know exactly how many night cards were sold and how much they were utilized - we don’t). 

6 months ago

Peak flat out just said they are never going to offer a PA-only pass.  I’m done.

Peak is within its right to do what it thinks is should to make a profit.  However, when those customers tell them that they will take their money elsewhere because of the money squeeze, they should listen.  In an effort to squeeze more from each passholder (in the neighborhood of $150-200 each), they’re losing the revenue they already had.  So not only will they have to worry about growing their pass base, but they will have to worry about recovering what base they had.

You know the addage - a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.  Peak is going to find itself empty handed.

6 months ago

Unfortunately, Peak Resorts has a monopoly hold on the 3 resorts close to Washington, DC and Baltimore.  Unlike Jack Frost, there are no competing resorts nearby that are an easy daytrip for me.  I will not buy the season pass next year and will see how the window prices and online advance ticket sales shake out.  I imagine I will reduce the number of visits.  I think that $630 early pricing is silly for local hills with a 500 ft to 850 ft vertical located in the mid-atlantic with a 2.5 month ski season.  I would have to pay the same price for a pass to ski at liberty or whitetail as someone from New York would pay to ski at Hunter Mountain with a 1600 ft vertical.  And I would not drive 7 hours to Hunter Mountain more than once a year if at all.

I am really disapointed that Peak does not offer a local pass with the option to add the rest of the resorts for an extra price.  I doubt that people are going to get excited to go an a roadtrip to visit all the peak resorts.  Mount Snow and Hunter Mountain are OK but they seem 2nd rate compared to other resorts in Vermont.  Plus, they are too close to NYC and Boston.  Hunter Mountain gets extremely crowded and I’ve never been there but I imagine that Mount Snow does too.   And there is no way I would drive all the way to New Hampshire.

6 months ago

Curious - what area do you live in and what’s the furthest you’d drive for a day trip?  If you’re willing to go out to about 3 hours, there are several more options available.  But that’s understandably more of a drive than some are willing to make.

6 months ago

Isn’t Showshoe basically a long day trip from DC?

6 months ago
When the revenue drops 5 to 10 million the first year peak eventually figure it out.Ok I’ll 5

superguy wrote:

Peak flat out just said they are never going to offer a PA-only pass.  I’m done.

Peak is within its right to do what it thinks is should to make a profit.  However, when those customers tell them that they will take their money elsewhere because of the money squeeze, they should listen.  In an effort to squeeze more from each passholder (in the neighborhood of $150-200 each), they’re losing the revenue they already had.  So not only will they have to worry about growing their pass base, but they will have to worry about recovering what base they had.

You know the addage - a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.  Peak is going to find itself empty handed.

6 months ago
When the revenue drops 5 to 10 million the first year peak eventually figure it out.

superguy wrote:

Peak flat out just said they are never going to offer a PA-only pass.  I’m done.

Peak is within its right to do what it thinks is should to make a profit.  However, when those customers tell them that they will take their money elsewhere because of the money squeeze, they should listen.  In an effort to squeeze more from each passholder (in the neighborhood of $150-200 each), they’re losing the revenue they already had.  So not only will they have to worry about growing their pass base, but they will have to worry about recovering what base they had.

You know the addage - a bird in hand is worth two in the bush.  Peak is going to find itself empty handed.

6 months ago
A 500$ PA pass is reasonable.
6 months ago

teleman wrote:

When the revenue drops 5 to 10 million the first year peak eventually figure it out.

They seem to be pretty stubborn.  Question is, suppose if they do end up introducing a PA or ST pass again, will people be willing to come back?  A lot of damage has been done.

6 months ago

Keith_Moon wrote:

Isn’t Showshoe basically a long day trip from DC?

Seven springs is 2.5 hours from Montgomery county and snowshoe is 4.5. 7 springs is a full day, snowshoe is not a reasonable day trip imo. Blue knob, Canaan, massanutten, and Bryce are all day trips though. 

For me…I can get to liberty or whitetail after work. None of the other options I listed off have that option. So I’m willing to pay a little for it, even if I’m not happy about it

6 months ago

Been to Hunter & Mount Snow enjoyed both but not on weekends. Been there done that never again.

Argent - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

It probably isn’t worth doing a Peak Resorts roadtrip from DC, but having done it this winter (all the New England ones) with family from NY, they were pretty interesting mountains. Attitash had some nice runs, and Wildcat has 2.1k feet of vertical and great long runs, and since they’re so close to each other, you can stay nearby and still get the variety. Probably not destinations on their own, but if you’re already getting a Peak Pass for Liberty/Whitetail, it’s not a bad trip.

6 months ago

Keith_Moon wrote:

crgildart wrote:

I’ve yet to see a pass that’s good at more than one of the four resorts that are day trip distance for me.  Appalachain, Beech. Sugar, and Wintergreen are the places near me.  I looked at individual passes a few years ago.,  Never seen more blackout dates than Wintergreen.  Nothing would beat walk up costs for my 5-10 days per season, but a pass for under $500 that’s good at more than one of those would probably get me out there more often.

 FWIW this pass does exist for NC ski areas:

http://www.goskinc.com/goldcard/

 

 

Hadn’t seen that.  Probably beause it’s $870.  Might be more interested if our season wasn’t usually late December to early March.  If I lived in Boone I’d probably get one though..

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

Argent wrote:

It probably isn’t worth doing a Peak Resorts roadtrip from DC, but having done it this winter (all the New England ones) with family from NY, they were pretty interesting mountains. Attitash had some nice runs, and Wildcat has 2.1k feet of vertical and great long runs, and since they’re so close to each other, you can stay nearby and still get the variety. Probably not destinations on their own, but if you’re already getting a Peak Pass for Liberty/Whitetail, it’s not a bad trip.

The fact that it’s possible to ski Attitash and Wildcat on the same day, has some value.  There are times when the weather at Wildcat is too cold and windy for much fun to be had off the high speed lift to the summit.  Attitash is only 20 min away.  However, they have had significant problems with the old triple to one of the Attitash peaks this season.  With that lift down, it severely limits access to advanced terrain.

I like Wildcat when the conditions are decent.  Meaning there hasn’t been a rain followed by hard freeze within a few days.  Good variety.  Generally steep mountain.  Quite different from 800 ft ski areas in the mid-Atlantic where the trails are mostly coming off the same ridge.

Splendid views of Mt. Washington when there is good visibility from Wildcat.  Views from the long green, or blues, or the summit.

North Conway has quite a variety of lodging, from cheap motels to swanky Mt. Washington Hotel (near Bretton Woods).  Plenty of good restaurants too.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

crgildart wrote:

Keith_Moon wrote:

crgildart wrote:

I’ve yet to see a pass that’s good at more than one of the four resorts that are day trip distance for me.  Appalachain, Beech. Sugar, and Wintergreen are the places near me.  I looked at individual passes a few years ago.,  Never seen more blackout dates than Wintergreen.  Nothing would beat walk up costs for my 5-10 days per season, but a pass for under $500 that’s good at more than one of those would probably get me out there more often.

 FWIW this pass does exist for NC ski areas:

http://www.goskinc.com/goldcard/

 

 

Hadn’t seen that.  Probably beause it’s $870.  Might be more interested if our season wasn’t usually late December to early March.  If I lived in Boone I’d probably get one though..

Only 100 sold every year.  Given that people who renew get first priority, not many one NC Gold Cards are bought each season.  Clearly makes more sense for someone who travels to the NC mountains regularly and stays overnight or lives within an hour.  For me, makes more sense to get a multi-resort pass that has big mountains in the west and northeast.

6 months ago

Five years ago, I took my son to Whitetail. We did the mountain passport the first year. After that I did the same with my younger daughter and wife. Every year we have purchased the Family Advantage Card. This year, for the first time, am the proud owner of a season pass which I was able to pay over 6 months with the payment plan to make it a little easier on the wallet.

Words can’t express how disappointed I am in this decision. I am surprised they didn’t keep the season pass the same cost but only limited you to one resort with an add-on for additional PA resorts.

Another member stated the truth in my opinion; they don’t want more skiers but a higher revenue per skier. Since the former ST resorts are day trip destinations that are popular on the weekend, I’m curious what percentage of their revenue is made up of season pass holders and how much by windows sales. Season passholders spend less money at the restaurant and pro shops because they have what they need. In contrast weekend warriors in the DC areas show up in a pair of jeans and buy everything at the resort. My point is I think they make less money on season passholders then the masses from DC so the increase is to get the higher revenue per skier. They know most people are not going to travel to the other resorts, in-fact they are counting on it.

I will be there tonight for the last time this season. Hopefully it won’t be the last time going forward…..

6 months ago

marzNC wrote:

crgildart wrote:

Keith_Moon wrote:

crgildart wrote:

I’ve yet to see a pass that’s good at more than one of the four resorts that are day trip distance for me.  Appalachain, Beech. Sugar, and Wintergreen are the places near me.  I looked at individual passes a few years ago.,  Never seen more blackout dates than Wintergreen.  Nothing would beat walk up costs for my 5-10 days per season, but a pass for under $500 that’s good at more than one of those would probably get me out there more often.

 FWIW this pass does exist for NC ski areas:

http://www.goskinc.com/goldcard/

 

 

Hadn’t seen that.  Probably beause it’s $870.  Might be more interested if our season wasn’t usually late December to early March.  If I lived in Boone I’d probably get one though..

Only 100 sold every year.  Given that people who renew get first priority, not many one NC Gold Cards are bought each season.  Clearly makes more sense for someone who travels to the NC mountains regularly and stays overnight or lives within an hour.  For me, makes more sense to get a multi-resort pass that has big mountains in the west and northeast.

Indeed, it’s not exactly competitively priced.

6 months ago

new peak faq is out and has more information.  

http://www.peakpass.com/faqs/

8-18 will have similar pricing to NCC

19-29 have drifter at 399

30+ get a pass or look into dynamic pricing  

6 months ago

NCC are down  esp over the years Kids like to sit and spend too much time on the crack phone,

demographics of once large school systems are down  

600,000 visits last year skiing per press release.  50% profit is food, booze and drink 

Dynamic will be 10% off on a weekend but mid-week 35%  no one at liberty mid week even on college days/nights 

if you only go 2 to 5 times it may work out nicer. 

6 months ago

I’m not sure what my family is going to do yet. 2 adults  and 2 children under the old plan were going to be expensive as it is, now it will be even more. I’m going to have to crunch the numbers and see but I think no more passes for us which is a shame as we go up 2-3x a week.

Everyone is mad at Peaks, but SNOWTIME is the one who decided to sell, particularly Mr. Naylor. He could have retired and kept the business running with someone else at the helm, but they made a killing on selling. At that point it’s out of there hands and Peaks will run it how they see fit. If only Snowpeak was still open we’d have somewhere else locally to go….

6 months ago

The data show for a pass 13-29-year-old is the sweet spot.

NCC / Advantage card replaced by Dynamic Pricing  / demand pricing. 

I made a video to explain for many it is cheaper   https://youtu.be/7YhXTNiy_24

https://www.snowindustrynews.com/articles/2018/november/liftopia-leads-dynamic-pricing-trend-for-travel-industry/

 

6 months ago

I was just doing the math today. For a family of four, the Advantage card paid for itself after the second visit. Based on experience from the past five or six years, we usually managed to go to Liberty or Whitetail five times per season (I paid attention to this because the sixth visit was free under the Advantage card, and we rarely got that). The major incentive to go to these resorts from Northern Virginia was that they were close and cheap.

At the current window rates, an adult has to visit Liberty nine times for the Peak pass to break even, and a child seven times. We are simply not going to go to Liberty or Roundtop that often. Rather than pay $60 or $70 for a ticket to Liberty or Whitetail, I’ll pay a little bit more and go to Seven Springs. This will take more planning, but so be it. Certainly, if I go to Liberty or Whitetail at all, it will be at most once or twice per season.

The ability to go to those other, far away resorts does nothing for me. Those aren’t even the premier resorts in NY/NH/VT. If I have to go that far, I’ll fly out West. The preferred driving destinations will remain Seven Springs and Snowshoe.

My opinion is they should offer a “Pennsylvania only” pass to serve the Northern Virginia / Maryland Market.

6 months ago

Maximizing profit per skier makes no sense in a high fixed cost business like skiing.  The logical objective is to maximize revenue.  So the bet they are making is that pass revenue plus day tix (from those who don’t buy passes) will be more in this model than if they offered a cheaper PA only pass.  Seems many of the posters here are saying that they won’t buy a pass but will buy a few day tix.  That may actually support, rather than undermine, the logic of this decision by Peak.

6 months ago

Mongo wrote:

I was just doing the math today. For a family of four, the Advantage card paid for itself after the second visit. Based on experience from the past five or six years, we usually managed to go to Liberty or Whitetail five times per season (I paid attention to this because the sixth visit was free under the Advantage card, and we rarely got that). The major incentive to go to these resorts from Northern Virginia was that they were close and cheap.

At the current window rates, an adult has to visit Liberty nine times for the Peak pass to break even, and a child seven times. We are simply not going to go to Liberty or Roundtop that often. Rather than pay $60 or $70 for a ticket to Liberty or Whitetail, I’ll pay a little bit more and go to Seven Springs. This will take more planning, but so be it. Certainly, if I go to Liberty or Whitetail at all, it will be at most once or twice per season.

The ability to go to those other, far away resorts does nothing for me. Those aren’t even the premier resorts in NY/NH/VT. If I have to go that far, I’ll fly out West. The preferred driving destinations will remain Seven Springs and Snowshoe.

My opinion is they should offer a “Pennsylvania only” pass to serve the Northern Virginia / Maryland Market.

Exactly! I’ve talked to a bunch of my neighbors who are current season pass holders and none of them are going to renew their passes. Neither are we. At this point whether or not you’re pissed about what Peak is doing, this has become a math problem. The math doesn’t add up. This year my family and I bought both season passes at Whitetail as well as the Mountain Collective. I skied 6 times at Whitetail (my kids only once or twice) and 10 days at Mountain Collective mountains. Total cost - approximately $3,400. Next year, we’ll skip the Peak Pass and the Mountain Collective Pass and just buy an Ikon or Epic Pass. If I do get the urge to go to Whitetail, I’ll do it midweek IF the snow is good. The past two times I went (Friday Feb 22nd and 24th) the snow was terrible. I said to my wife that I would have been pissed if I had paid full fare to come up, only to find out how crappy the conditions were. 

6 months ago

It looks like Peak resorts offers an All Ohio pass for $329 to ski at their three resorts in the state. I saw this on the Boston Mills website. Granted it is Ohio so your marketing might have to be a lttlie different, but with all of the options in our area I have to think if revenue is down for a few years they might offer a PA version.  Not saying I will boycott, but defiantly provides me an excuse to explore a little more. Been wanting to check out 7S as well as Blue Knob.

I bought my first season pass for Whitetail this year. My goal was 9 trips to break even (compared to the advantage card). I only got there 7 time, so I left money on the table. It sucks but considering how much the previous management consistently reinvested in the property, it really didn’t bug me as much.  I wonder how much of the revenue stay with the host resort and how much go to the corporate bottom line. Previous snowtime inc properties seem to work autonomously as a loose federation. 

 

6 months ago

Quoting from Outsideonline.com’s article “The Unlikely Success of Missouri’s Hidden Valley Ski Mountain”: …

And here’s the really surprising thing: Boyd doesn’t even ski, treating his business less as a labor of love than as a money-churning chain. Think Ramada on snow.

“I never really have liked skiing, but I’m passionate about the ski business,” Boyd, a trim 60-year-old with close-cropped gray hair, tells me while seated in his office, a converted two-story A-frame house overlooking Hidden Valley. “That’s better. My decisions are more pragmatic and less emotional.”

His decision’s are also ill informed because of his lack of knowledge about consumer demand.  People ski Whitetail/Liberty/Roundtop not because they are excellent mountains but because they are convienent amongst the limited supply.  If Stowe and Liberty were equally easy to access people choose Stowe.  And that’s the kicker, the majority of mountains on the Peak pass are regional destinations that serve local communities, they are not marquee destination resorts.  Ikon doesn’t hook people across the country by selling them on Snowshoe or Boyne Highlands, its the Squaw Valleys, Aspens, and Snowbirds that draw them in.  Epic passes sell at Wilmot (Wisconsin) and Mt. Sunapee (New Hampshire) because those folks have a chance to ski Vail, Whistler/Blackcomb, and Park City - all of which are easily accessible through major airports.  Compare that to Peak where the only area that comes close to a “destination resort” is Mt. Snow - whose 2 nearest airports, Rutland and Albany, are at least 1.5 hrs away or a 7.5 hr drive in favorable traffic. The destinations in New Hampshire are even more difficult to get to and have much less infrastrucure in the surrounding communitees.  

So to rephrase; a man that doesn’t like skiing bought a bunch of regional resorts that are popular with local communities and reduced their options while raising pass prices, justifying the move by claiming they get the “benefit” of skiing other resorts that they have no interest in skiing and pricing it similar to passes that include easily accessible 5 star destination resorts.  I hope pragmatic Mr. Boyd and his corporate staff are prepared for the onslaught of nastiness and social media backlash that’s inevitable from the vocal clientele of this region.  

And on one final side note, can anyone recall an ownership change that immediately resulted in a cost increase of the season pass.  My experience is that the new owners almost universally reduce the price to drive up numbers and garner good will in their first year and in advance of their improvement plans.  Investors love to see those numbers going up in their first year.  Mr. Boyd might want to consider that before plowing ahead.  

6 months ago

Norsk wrote:

Maximizing profit per skier makes no sense in a high fixed cost business like skiing.  The logical objective is to maximize revenue.  So the bet they are making is that pass revenue plus day tix (from those who don’t buy passes) will be more in this model than if they offered a cheaper PA only pass.  Seems many of the posters here are saying that they won’t buy a pass but will buy a few day tix.  That may actually support, rather than undermine, the logic of this decision by Peak.

Agree with you.  My take is based on the initial backlash/feedback on this and other forums, Peak is going to sell a lot fewer passes moving forward.  And of course zero advantage and night cards.  So they are forecasting daily tix revenue revenue to make up the difference.  They won’t tell us (and it won’t be revealed on any earnings call) but they definitely have a daily tix revenue goal for the former snotime resorts.  Simplistically we can say X tickets multiplied by Y average sale price over the course of the season = revenue goal.

So regardless of everyone’s complaining, Peak is going all in on this strategy.  Will they hit their goal of X tickets at Y price?  Time will tell.  If they don’t, and start dropping daily rates next mid-winter to make up for sluggish sales, then they will piss off the pass holders.  But that is a future/uncertain issue Peak can mitigate later on (I’d bet a lot of money a PA only pass has already been internally discussed/reviewed as a fall back for Winter 20/21).

 

6 months ago

Here is an isolated but perhaps somewhat promising comparison for next year-

This Saturday Liberty lift tickets are regular full price.  $77 for adult 8 hour.  With an advantage card you pay $46.20.  $65 for Junior, with advantage $39.

Jack Frost/Big Boulder has dynamic pricing.  As of today (Tuesaday) adult 8 hour ticket for this Saturday is $39.  Junior is $29.

 

6 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Here is an isolated but perhaps somewhat promising comparison for next year-

This Saturday Liberty lift tickets are regular full price.  $77 for adult 8 hour.  With an advantage card you pay $46.20.  $65 for Junior, with advantage $39.

Jack Frost/Big Boulder has dynamic pricing.  As of today (Tuesaday) adult 8 hour ticket for this Saturday is $39.  Junior is $29.

 

I don’t think we’ll see those price breaks down here. If they wanted to offer spring rates now, they could. Nothing is stopping them from charging a lower rate at the window. It’s a choice. JFBB are much smaller fish in a bigger pond (Poconos). If they want to get day ticket folks on the hill, they gotta give people a break. They’re piddly hills compared to the others. If you could choose amongst Elk, Blue, Camelback, or Montage, why would JFBB even be on your radar without a deal? Especially as BB specializes in being a terrain park. Down here, there’s much less competition. Depending where you live in the area, the only other one outside of ST hills is Mnut, and they’re already wrapping up. So unless you’re willing to drive farther to the 7S family or Wisp, ST is the only show in town. And their pricing reflects that. Look at RT’s prices compared to WT and Liberty. RT is the lowest - not because it’s the “worst” of the 3, but it’s the most exposed to competition since the Harrisburg crowd has more options and it’s the farthest away from both DC and Baltimore.
Scott - DCSki Editor
6 months ago

I asked for feedback, and boy did I get it!  I just published a rather lengthy news story about this topic.  I tried to capture as many angles of this story as I could.  Thanks to everyone who sent me their comments.

6 months ago

Excellent article, Scott. I appreciated the mention that Wjitetail has suddenly reduced its hours which has caught mr up short this week. I have a season pass and as a perpetual beginner I value their more challenging greens. Anyway, the smugness of the Peak representative’s confidence that they expect previous customers to belly up and swallow the “change” after mewing about the price increases and reduced options was particularly galling. 

Another aspect of the new passes which your article did not address much is that this season’s passes already did away with most if not all discounts at other local resorts. They don’t seem to be a feature at all of the the new offerings, although maybe I missed something.

i had been planning to renew even at the higher pricing but will now hold off a while longer to mull my options. Thanks.

6 months ago

Really in depth article, Scott. It will be interesting to see if Peak’s gamble that people will just bite the bullet and pay the higher season pass price pans out. Like I’ve said before, they won’t be getting my or my family’s season pass money for next year. Maybe if enough other people don’t pay the increase, Peak will reconsider their “No PA pass” policy. 

JimK - DCSki Columnist
6 months ago

Scott wrote:

I asked for feedback, and boy did I get it!  I just published a rather lengthy news story about this topic.  I tried to capture as many angles of this story as I could.  Thanks to everyone who sent me their comments.

That was one of Scott’s best articles ever.  Maybe this situation will present an opening for fine mountains like Bryce, Blue Knob and Massanutten to collect some ST refugees.

6 months ago

“We don’t really know what to say here. Those are the prices of this year’s passes. If you find them to be beyond what you are willing to pay, then skiing at these mountains might not be for you unfortunately.”

“Eff you, take your business elsewhere” — OK, I will!

6 months ago

 

“We don’t really know what to say here. Those are the prices of this year’s passes. If you find them to be beyond what you are willing to pay, then skiing at these mountains might not be for you unfortunately.”

That is such a weird thing for Peak resorts to say. Years ago a friend of mine who was just out of college had his heart set on buying a car that was out of his price range. He tried to talk the dealer down and eventually got the condescending “this may not be the car for you, sir” line. But at least there the car he was interested in was a top brand. The Peak Resorts areas are not exactly among the crown jewels of North American skiing…

6 months ago

wgo wrote:

 

“We don’t really know what to say here. Those are the prices of this year’s passes. If you find them to be beyond what you are willing to pay, then skiing at these mountains might not be for you unfortunately.”

That is such a weird thing for Peak resorts to say. Years ago a friend of mine who was just out of college had his heart set on buying a car that was out of his price range. He tried to talk the dealer down and eventually got the condescending “this may not be the car for you, sir” line. But at least there the car he was interested in was a top brand. The Peak Resorts areas are not exactly among the crown jewels of North American skiing…

“If you’re not willing to pay Escalade prices, this EcoSport might not be the car for you, unfortunately.” — Peak Resorts in the car business.

Argent - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

Peak’s earnings call transcript was posted to Seeking Alpha today. There was one question about pricing, and they seem to be content Peak Pass sales for Snow Time mountains so far.

Barton Crockett:

Okay, all right. And then also on pricing, I think last year you guys talked about your expectations to use pricing to offset labor and cost inflation. This year, you’re starting with kind of flat pricing on the Peak Pass and maybe a little bit of a bump after April 30. Overall, as we look ahead to next season, are you prepared to make a statement about how you see your effective pricing over the season trending?

Tim Boyd:

I think it’s a little early yet for that. However, I think to understand the pricing that we’ve done with the Peak Pass in this first stage, it’s really more of a tip to the Snow Time market. We’re transitioning that market to the Peak Pass, so it’s a little bit of a step up in price for those folks. So we want to give them an opportunity especially this first deadline to upgrade to that new pass without as steep of price increases they would have experienced if we increased the price like we’re going to in the second and third deadlines. So that’s kind of the reason behind that. And up to this point we’ve seen some very positive results from all that.

6 months ago

Argent wrote:

Peak’s earnings call transcript was posted to Seeking Alpha today. There was one question about pricing, and they seem to be content Peak Pass sales for Snow Time mountains so far.

Barton Crockett:

Okay, all right. And then also on pricing, I think last year you guys talked about your expectations to use pricing to offset labor and cost inflation. This year, you’re starting with kind of flat pricing on the Peak Pass and maybe a little bit of a bump after April 30. Overall, as we look ahead to next season, are you prepared to make a statement about how you see your effective pricing over the season trending?

Tim Boyd:

I think it’s a little early yet for that. However, I think to understand the pricing that we’ve done with the Peak Pass in this first stage, it’s really more of a tip to the Snow Time market. We’re transitioning that market to the Peak Pass, so it’s a little bit of a step up in price for those folks. So we want to give them an opportunity especially this first deadline to upgrade to that new pass without as steep of price increases they would have experienced if we increased the price like we’re going to in the second and third deadlines. So that’s kind of the reason behind that. And up to this point we’ve seen some very positive results from all that.

I had considered sucking it up and getting the $629 pass, but after all of this, how can I? It pains me as WT has been my home for many years, but I’ve got to boycott it. Sounds bad but until they feel it in their stock price a PA pass isn’t going to happen.

And lastly how does the CEO of a ski company not ski?!? That tells you all you need to know.

Scott - DCSki Editor
6 months ago

Another day, another news story.  I just posted a new story that assesses the value of the Peak Pass for Mid-Atlantic skiers, focusing in on the key value proposition Peak Resorts is using to justify the higher costs: the ability to ski the entire portfolio of Peak Resorts properties.

6 months ago

Scott wrote:

Another day, another news story.  I just posted a new story that assesses the value of the Peak Pass for Mid-Atlantic skiers, focusing in on the key value proposition Peak Resorts is using to justify the higher costs: the ability to ski the entire portfolio of Peak Resorts properties.

Scott, good article, but misses the obvious point that the Peak Pass hills are competing in quality, price and driving distance with Snowshoe and Seven Springs. Snowshoe - 60 trails, 1,500ft vertical drop, 14 lifts, 4.5 hours drive. Seven Springs - 33 trails, 750ft vertical drop, 14 lifts, 3.3 hours drive. All told, I think either of these resorts is superior to the Peak properties in NH or VT. I’m certainly not going to drive more than twice as far to go to what is, at most, a slightly better resort.

Also, those driving times to NH and VT are highly optimistic. Last time I drove to southern VT it took 13 hours given stops for gas and food and the desire to avoid Philly and NYC.

6 months ago

Mongo wrote:

Also, those driving times to NH and VT are highly optimistic. Last time I drove to southern VT it took 13 hours given stops for gas and food and the desire to avoid Philly and NYC.

I don’t think those times are that unrealistic.I guess it depends when you leave DC. I drove up to Sugarbush last Wednesday. I left at noon and it took me 7.5 hours to get to Rutland. I spent the night there and drove the last hour and 15 minutes the next morning up to Sugarbush (used my 2 days on the Mountain Collective). Maybe I just lucked out and avoided the NY/NJ rush hour cluster by leaving here at noon?

6 months ago

So we can’t but the advantage card anymore.  They will implement dynamic pricing.  So next year, I watch the weather forecast. A friday night looks good (aka - it hasn’t rained in a day), so I decide to drive up.  I can only imagine what the price of lift ticket at that window will be since I didn’t buy it in advance. 

It’s just not worth it.  I love to ski, I would rather save my money at this point and save it for a trip out west. 

6 months ago

He read is dated but sums up Peaks approach to skiing….

https://www.outsideonline.com/1911841/unlikely-success-missouris-hidden-valley-ski-mountain?fbclid=IwAR3kbZi_u9eq0YoEHSGVyRUlT6kZTBNv3vGaYMms0nhrYdvKOZzi0-zJqrQ

At least the guy running Vail skis….

 

 

6 months ago

Mongo wrote:

“We don’t really know what to say here. Those are the prices of this year’s passes. If you find them to be beyond what you are willing to pay, then skiing at these mountains might not be for you unfortunately.”

“Eff you, take your business elsewhere” — OK, I will!

It’s kinda shocking that a CEO would say that - shows very bad judgement.  His PR team probably cringed at this.  At least you would expect the phony platitudes typical of corporate-speak.  This guy just gave a lot of people the metaphorical finger - just a dumb move.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

Bdw611 wrote:

And lastly how does the CEO of a ski company not ski?!? That tells you all you need to know.

I did some reading about Tim Boyd ended up running a ski resort in the midwest.  He started out by buying a golf resort but found that snowmaking might be a better approach for the property.  He is an entrepreneur.  He still like to get out on groomers or help with snowmaking.  What’s not as clear is how his three sons will take Peak into the next decade.  As of Dec 2018 Jason Boyd is the Sr. VP of Operations for the mid-Atlantic (all the PA resorts).  He reports to his brother, Jesse, who is VP of Operations for Peak overall.  The third brother is in charge of the Midwest resorts.

https://www.stlmag.com/Crouching-Tiger-Hidden-Valley/

” …

 Boyd meticulously studied the ski industry. He and his father consulted with experts in Michigan who decided Hidden Valley had the right ingredients to be successful. He visited other Midwest ski areas. He researched snow-making technology. When it snowed, he and Missi rented skis and took turns driving each other up a hill and skiing back down. Boyd attempted to get funding — a far more difficult prospect than buying a golf course. “I got thrown out of a lot of nice places,” he recalls. “It wasn’t funny at the time. They’d say, ‘Yeah, we’ll see you in the insane asylum.’” At last, he got a loan.

…”

Scott - DCSki Editor
6 months ago

Keith_Moon wrote:

Mongo wrote:

“We don’t really know what to say here. Those are the prices of this year’s passes. If you find them to be beyond what you are willing to pay, then skiing at these mountains might not be for you unfortunately.”

“Eff you, take your business elsewhere” — OK, I will!

It’s kinda shocking that a CEO would say that - shows very bad judgement.  His PR team probably cringed at this.  At least you would expect the phony platitudes typical of corporate-speak.  This guy just gave a lot of people the metaphorical finger - just a dumb move.

Just as a clarifying note, the “we don’t really know what to say here” comment was not said by the CEO.  It was posted as a reply to a visitor comment on the Peak Resorts Facebook page by whoever was manning their Facebook social media account at that moment in time (almost certainly not the CEO).  And it was deleted shortly thereafter (although obviously not before a lot of people saw it.)

6 months ago

Scott wrote:

Keith_Moon wrote:

Mongo wrote:

“We don’t really know what to say here. Those are the prices of this year’s passes. If you find them to be beyond what you are willing to pay, then skiing at these mountains might not be for you unfortunately.”

“Eff you, take your business elsewhere” — OK, I will!

It’s kinda shocking that a CEO would say that - shows very bad judgement.  His PR team probably cringed at this.  At least you would expect the phony platitudes typical of corporate-speak.  This guy just gave a lot of people the metaphorical finger - just a dumb move.

Just as a clarifying note, the “we don’t really know what to say here” comment was not said by the CEO.  It was posted as a reply to a visitor comment on the Peak Resorts Facebook page by whoever was manning their Facebook social media account at that moment in time (almost certainly not the CEO).  And it was deleted shortly thereafter (although obviously not before a lot of people saw it.)

Ah, that makes more sense.  Obviously still a really dumb thing to state publicly…

6 months ago

I don’t plan to spend a dime going forward at the 3 local hills with Peak until the prices are brought back in line with what I paid with Snowtime. If others did the same this would turn around quickly.

6 months ago

I just read that three people have died at Hunter Mountain this year.  All on the new Hunter north expansion which is surprising since these are all pretty tame blue trails.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/2019/03/15/hunter-skiers-reflect-skier-tragedies-winter-catskills/3176824002/

 

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
6 months ago

snowyslope92 wrote:

I just read that three people have died at Hunter Mountain this year.  All on the new Hunter north expansion which is surprising since these are all pretty tame blue trails.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/2019/03/15/hunter-skiers-reflect-skier-tragedies-winter-catskills/3176824002/

 

Have you skied Hunter?  Those new trail are rated blue, however from what I’ve read by people who are Hunter passholders and skied them, at least one should probably be rated black for that mountain.  What I remember about the Hunter backside blacks on the one day I checked it out during an early season drive up to Lake Placid was that when they are skied off, you better know how to handle icy conditions to avoid getting going too fast to stay in control.

6 months ago

Bdw611 wrote:

Argent wrote:

Peak’s earnings call transcript was posted to Seeking Alpha today. There was one question about pricing, and they seem to be content Peak Pass sales for Snow Time mountains so far.

Barton Crockett:

Okay, all right. And then also on pricing, I think last year you guys talked about your expectations to use pricing to offset labor and cost inflation. This year, you’re starting with kind of flat pricing on the Peak Pass and maybe a little bit of a bump after April 30. Overall, as we look ahead to next season, are you prepared to make a statement about how you see your effective pricing over the season trending?

Tim Boyd:

I think it’s a little early yet for that. However, I think to understand the pricing that we’ve done with the Peak Pass in this first stage, it’s really more of a tip to the Snow Time market. We’re transitioning that market to the Peak Pass, so it’s a little bit of a step up in price for those folks. So we want to give them an opportunity especially this first deadline to upgrade to that new pass without as steep of price increases they would have experienced if we increased the price like we’re going to in the second and third deadlines. So that’s kind of the reason behind that. And up to this point we’ve seen some very positive results from all that.

I had considered sucking it up and getting the $629 pass, but after all of this, how can I? It pains me as WT has been my home for many years, but I’ve got to boycott it. Sounds bad but until they feel it in their stock price a PA pass isn’t going to happen.

And lastly how does the CEO of a ski company not ski?!? That tells you all you need to know.

And that $629 pass was just a “break’ given to quell ST pass holders.  What they’re really saying is they really wanted to start at the $829 pass pricing, but didn’t think people down here would swallow that.  So they decided to be “nice” and offer only a 31% price increase over the previous ST pass, hoping that the added “benefits” would justify the price hike.

Watch that the $629 pass may not be offered as the early bird price next season.  They’re hinting at a much higher price.

6 months ago

marzNC wrote:

snowyslope92 wrote:

I just read that three people have died at Hunter Mountain this year.  All on the new Hunter north expansion which is surprising since these are all pretty tame blue trails.

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/2019/03/15/hunter-skiers-reflect-skier-tragedies-winter-catskills/3176824002/

 

Have you skied Hunter?  Those new trail are rated blue, however from what I’ve read by people who are Hunter passholders and skied them, at least one should probably be rated black for that mountain.  What I remember about the Hunter backside blacks on the one day I checked it out during an early season drive up to Lake Placid was that when they are skied off, you better know how to handle icy conditions to avoid getting going too fast to stay in control.

The article linked showed 3 rated blue, 2 rated black, and all glades rated black except one which was double black.

My old ski club advisor used to take the school’s ski club up there every year (his son was in management there).  One thing he always mentioned is that people would get clipped for skiing out of control.  If they saw people bombing down the hill at a high rate of speed, the assumption was that they were out of control, skiing a run beyond their abilities, and as a result, violating the safety code.  Clip clip.

6 months ago

I actually skid there in december.  Hunter North was open except the glades and a trail called twighlight.  twighlight looked like it was the most chalenging of the non-glade trailes.  But the article states that the accidents didn’t take place on the glades or twighlight.  They occurred on the regular blues which I skied on.   One thing I did notice is that these trails are all north facing and don’t start at the top of the mountain so they get very little direct sunlight and so probably stay icier than the other trails.  Not to mention that Hunter is overcrowded especially on weekends.  A lot of chaos.  

Now that I think about it. When I was there, I remember thinking to myself that there didn’t seem to be a big Ski Patrol presence.

 

6 months ago

I have been an instructor at Liberty for nearly 20 years - so a little biased and my family gets season passes based on me working.  

A couple of notes

- NCC - replaced with a 7-17 night club card

- Advantage Card - gone but they will sell 3 packs and 6 packs of pre-purchase so probably a near wash.  (I never understood the Advantage Card over Season Pass)

-  Mountain Passport - Peak management liked the concept - they may bring something like that back - we will see.

- Seems like a family of four will pay somewhere between $260-$400 more next year.  If you ski 20 days the cost is $31 for an adult.  Not outrageous.  

- Some of you have posted that you bought passes and skied 7 days or less - Next year you will buy tickets (and probably ski even less) and save money.

- Dynamic pricing will work for you.

- We will see if Liberty and RT are open the last weekend of March - most years we close because no one is skiing - those that complain about short seasons should have been at Liberty last March 31.  No one was there and we employees and a few season pass holders and even fewer first time skiers had a blast.  (NEVER SKI ON A 3 DAY WEEKEND)

I see a lot of discussion about alternatives like Wintergreen, Blue Knob, Seven Springs, Wisp, and Snowshoe.  Here is what I think:

Wintergreen - never been, probably never go.  From what I hear that anyone skiing fast in control meets the whistle Patroler.  Do they still have separate lift lines for homeowners?  Nice.

Blue Knob - or the next Timberline - Great skiing, bad snowmaking, Lodge and Lifts put in 40 yrs ago - rental fleet slightly newer.  Hotels - not near by.  And its more than 90 miles farther than Liberty from DC area so you need to leave 90 mins earlier or get there 90 mins later - or stay in a hotel on Friday night.  An extra 10 gallons of gas at currently $2.50 - 10 weekends equals $250.  A wash 

Seven Springs - real nice skiing but where can you stay cheap.   20 miles away is $100-$150 a night.  Again - extra gas and a lot more time.  

Wisp - great - love Squirel Cage.  pretty far - dont know what their season pass is - Snowtime looked to buy it.  Last time there I stayed in a 6bdrm at the top of the mountain - Nice but expensive.

Snowshoe - I only ski on Cupp side - too many non-skiers on the intermediate merging trails.  If you are going to an Ikon resort for a week but the Ikon pass and ski here a few times - Seems like its expensive to stay there - you are almost held hostage.  

Lodging at Liberty - 8 miles away in Gettysburg.  Good town - probably get a hotel room for less than $75 or drive home - same for Whitetail and Roundtop.  

I dont mean to be glib - or towing the corp line - If I was a season pass holder I would be upset.  But my family calls it home.   I make about $1000 a year teaching and get $2000 or more in benefits.  My kids and I expect to ski there every  weekend from Jan 1 - March fuzzy date.  12 weeks - about 30 days a year - If I had to I would pay for passes and stop teaching - otherwise we are skiing a few times a year.  Thats not gonna happen.

Good luck - Ski good, have fun.

6 months ago

How are they competing in driving distance -  Leave the house at 645 - on mountain by 9 at Liberty easy - for Snowshoe its noon or you are leaving at 4am  in good weather.  Snowshoe is best in mid-atlantic but its a haul.  One or two weekends a year is enough.  So no need to buy a season pass.

6 months ago

Agreed

Hate the price - love the closeness

 

6 months ago

Ok Superguy - 

The way I understand it you would have paid $900 for passes for you and your son this year.  Next year its $1030.  so not $200 but the cost of one lift ticket at one resort out west or in VT and you are spending more on gas and time.   Not really a bargain.    And you can stay with family.  Thats great - but at $629 a pass is still a bargin for anyone who skis more than 10-15 days locally.  

6 months ago

BumpsandPark wrote:

 $629 a pass is still a bargin for anyone who skis more than 10-15 days locally.  

 

My problem with this is that for that same price i can ski more at a lot of better places out west. I want to ski more locally but the increased costs are really turning me away.

6 months ago

I wondered when a Peak shill was going to show up.

No, I would have paid $858, which is still $170 less than under Peak. And it’s still significantly more than now. I was also looking at the night pass but that’s no longer an option. It still takes significantly less time to amortize a ST pass (7 times) vs the 10-15 times for a Peak pass.

Your points on extra gas and time are illogical. While true compared to existing ST resorts, you ignore the fact that Peak is pushing the other resorts as a benefit. The next closest resorts are JFBB, which are further than 7S, BK, as others. That’s more time and gas too. That didn’t even factor in going farther north and adding lodging prices too.

And extended seasons?  Oh yeah, you have to go up north for that too.  Whitetail is closed and still has snow.  The cameras were off at Liberty - hiding the snow conditions.  Roundtop had the most snow and probably should have been the one to remain open IMO, but I guess Peak consolidated to the most central of the 3.

You can easily do 7S, BK, or others as a day trip from most places in the Baltimore/Washington area. You can be there in 60-90 minutes past Whitetail depending how you drive. It’s not that far, and not that much more in gas. It certainly doesn’t require an overnight stay.

As let’s compare resorts, shall we? 7S provides a full resort experience and is the size of all 3 ST resorts combined. It’s taller than 2 of the 3. Their snowmaking is killer. Plus they have 2 other mountains you can go to.  Plenty to do off the slopes and year round.  They even offer discounts on Pirates tickets.

BK isn’t the next Timberline. Under previous ownership it might have been. But like ST, they have new owners that have been investing in the mountain. They’ve renovated the clubhouse and summit area. They’re fixing a lot of things that need repairs for a long time. They’re repairing and upgrading the snowmaking system. And funny you should bag on it - they’re still open while WT closed last weekend, RT is down to weekends (maybe), and Liberty is barely hanging on. They were still making snow a little over a week ago when you guys gave up. And it has one thing Peak doesn’t - it actually gives a crap about their customers. My son and I can ski there for $500 next season.  It’s certainly not without tradeoffs, but again, I don’t see Peak offering anything compelling for double the price.  I also know that they’re going to invest in the mountain.  No guarantees on that with Peak, unless it’s Hunter or Mt. Snow.  They couldn’t - or wouldn’t - get Attitash’s summit triple fixed.

Let’s be real. ST resorts aren’t anything special. WT had no lodging, and until recently, no liquor license. It’s the nicest of the 3 for sure, but it comes with higher cost and heavy crowds. Liberty is a resort wannabe - small hotel, golf, and a spa. It has old, slow lifts too. Terrain isn’t that great. Base area is poorly laid out. Snow coverage wasn’t stellar. It also gets crowded. RT has a similar feel to BK and has more going on during the summer, but still is very much a day area. Slow lifts too.  That said, I’ve had a lot of fun at Roundtop this year.

In short, they offer nothing to justify the premium Peak is charging now, and even moreso when Peak hikes their rates.

The biggest problem with Peak is their condescending attitude. If you paid attention to any of their FB pages, their PR is atrocious. I don’t know how they can expect to keep customers talking to them the way they do. Including the big “screw you” of telling people the hills they skied for years are no longer for them. On top of that, any other products outside of the pass have had limited information given.  Some has trickled out for the NCC’s replacement, but the rest is wait until fall.  Really?  After all the discounts for passes are gone (even Peak’s), they want us to trust them?  No way.

For many, it’s not just about the price, but the attitude. Peak has alienated a lot of its customers to the point their willing to drive further and even pay more NOT to ski the local hills - or its other resorts. That’s a huge problem of you’re a business. Not only did those customers leave - many of which were dependable revenue in years past - but their going to be even harder to get back. You don’t endear them by ramming stuff down their throats.

I’d rather spend more for 7S or invest in a pass at a diamond in the rough (BK) than pay for a Peak Pass.  It’s beyond money for me at this point.

6 months ago

Perception is everything…. raising prices by 25% (Full pass Early price) and providing no useful additional value is going to make people furious no matter how you look at it. Is the Peak Pass a good deal if I wanted to go to vermont, yes.

People were mad at Snowshoe when the resort swap ended on the ridiculous pass… which was $229 at the time. And snowhsoe hands down still has one of the best values in passes.

i usually ski LM/WT 15-16 times a season so I have gotten a pass the last few years. I have one more year on the drifter pass, so I will probably renew, but will seriously consider something else after this season. The Ikon pass is hands down a better value if you frequent Snowshoe and can do 1 trip west. At that point the NE resorts are an added bonus. (10  east resorts, with snowshoe, blue  and tremblant all being no-blackout and unlimited)

6 months ago

Peak has basically made a mess of the transition to the new ticketing/pass arrangement.

After seeing their social media accounts push out “trip reports” with effusive praise for Mt. Snow and Hunter last week, I am convinced they are somewhat delusional and they think all of their WT/LM/RT customers live “just a bit south” of New Jersey.

They eliminated Advantage and NCC but made zero effort to reference/explain dynamic pricing and/or the existence of pre-purchase 3 and 6 packs.

In fact the roll out was so bad thousands of parents thought the night sking program for kids had been entirely ditched, and Peak had to rush out some vaguely worded announcements that a replacement program was “being developed”.

Having said all that, they still have the the two best day trip options close to DC, and I’m optimistic all of us former Advantage card holders (which Snowtime sold in the thousands, so obviously worked for a lot of people) will be able to buy some 3 or 6 packs in October/November and ski there the usual 3-6 times as in the past for about the same cost, or a slight increase.  But if I was a pass holder who skied there 15+ times a season I’d be pretty dissapointed, your cost of skiing has gone up and isn’t coming back down.

6 months ago

rbrtlav wrote:

Perception is everything…. raising prices by 25% (Full pass Early price) and providing no useful additional value is going to make people furious no matter how you look at it. Is the Peak Pass a good deal if I wanted to go to vermont, yes.

People were mad at Snowshoe when the resort swap ended on the ridiculous pass… which was $229 at the time. And snowhsoe hands down still has one of the best values in passes.

i usually ski LM/WT 15-16 times a season so I have gotten a pass the last few years. I have one more year on the drifter pass, so I will probably renew, but will seriously consider something else after this season. The Ikon pass is hands down a better value if you frequent Snowshoe and can do 1 trip west. At that point the NE resorts are an added bonus. (10  east resorts, with snowshoe, blue  and tremblant all being no-blackout and unlimited)

Big difference between losing an awesome perk that doesn’t affect the underlying value of the pass ($229 is still a steal for SS without it) vs jacking up the price just because.  Yeah, losing a perk like that would suck, but overall I doubt they lost many sales because of it. It’s not like Peak is taking an awesome perk like that away. There’s no extra value for the money in the Peak Pass for most of the local market here.

Peak had the winning formula already - sell it as a bolt on to the local pass for those that want it.  Those that saw value in the additions Peak offered could take advantage and be happy, while the rest weren’t forced into paying more for a perk they’d never use.

6 months ago

RodneyBD wrote:

Peak has basically made a mess of the transition to the new ticketing/pass arrangement.

After seeing their social media accounts push out “trip reports” with effusive praise for Mt. Snow and Hunter last week, I am convinced they are somewhat delusional and they think all of their WT/LM/RT customers live “just a bit south” of New Jersey.

They eliminated Advantage and NCC but made zero effort to reference/explain dynamic pricing and/or the existence of pre-purchase 3 and 6 packs.

In fact the roll out was so bad thousands of parents thought the night sking program for kids had been entirely ditched, and Peak had to rush out some vaguely worded announcements that a replacement program was “being developed”.

Having said all that, they still have the the two best day trip options close to DC, and I’m optimistic all of us former Advantage card holders (which Snowtime sold in the thousands, so obviously worked for a lot of people) will be able to buy some 3 or 6 packs in October/November and ski there the usual 3-6 times as in the past for about the same cost, or a slight increase.  But if I was a pass holder who skied there 15+ times a season I’d be pretty dissapointed, your cost of skiing has gone up and isn’t coming back down.

They have screwed the pooch on this one.  And the fact that the praise is for Hunter and Mt Snow at the expense of the other resorts is disturbing - especially for our local resorts.  I’m not sure that they’ll see much, if any investment.  Heck, Peak can’t even get a lift fixed at Attitash.  Why would they invest down here?

I see them exploiting the ST resorts for a cash cow because they were profitable, and Peak is in financial trouble.  They’ll take that money and invest it elsewhere, figuring the local folks will continue to come anyway regardless of upgrades.  And to some degree, they’re probably right.

But yeah, telling people to wait until fall for other programs when all of the early bird discounts are gone (including Peak’s) is a non-starter.  Given Peak’s handling of this, there’s no trust there. Trust us isn’t going to cut it.

Even with a replaced NCC, the adults are still left hanging without even a night season pass anymore.  I had no idea about the multipack tickets.  More poor communication.

Dynamic pricing may be good, or it may not be.  We’ll have to see.  Given Peak’s other implementations thus far, I’m not holding my breath.  Wouldn’t surprise me to see prices go higher than current day rates on some busy weekends or holidays.  Most places I’ve seen doing this on Liftopia offer a few discount tickets, then the price goes up from there.  Kinda like plane tickets.

I might try it for a one day outing to WT or RT for old times’ sake.

If things really are that great under Peak with its offerings, it shouldn’t be the hard sell that it is now.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
5 months ago

Been thinking about the hypothetical situation if I lived in NoVA and was choosing between Massanutten and Peak for a season pass for me (retired, non-skiing spouse, willing to drive up to 2 hours for day trip skiing) and one kid in middle or high school.  The relevant passes for Mnut in early March were $405 for an Adult Full Season Pass, $338 for a Student (6-18) Season Pass, $235 for Spec Value Pass (no Sat 9am-4pm, no kid discount).  For Peak before end of April, Ranger (18+) is $529 and includes non-holiday weekends but has holiday blackout dates, Explorer Adult is $629 with no blackout dates, Explorer Youth (7-17) is $399.  In both cases, if we were going to go both holiday weekends and I wanted to ski all day Saturday, then it’s worth paying for the most expensive pass that doesn’t have any blackout dates.  We would never ski in the mid-Atlantic during winter break so that’s moot.  Since I could ski mid-week and take trips out west, sitting out Sat-Sun might be fine.  Could always get a day ticket online a week or two before if it looked like conditions would be fun for a given day.  However, at Mnut I could ski the holiday Sundays even with a Value Pass.

I think the decision would depend on whether or not I wanted to plan a holiday weekend at Hunter or Mt Snow.  Obviously, would be crowded.  But then that also would be true for Whitetail, Liberty, and Roundtop.  Clearly, paying for Peak passes would be more money up front, but would open up options for skiing all season long for me mid-week plus provide the opportunity to check out a larger mountain without paying for lift tickets.  Wouldn’t bother for a kid in elementary school who was still an intermediate on MidA blues.  I had a lot of fun skiing off Lift 5 at Mnut (from top while daughter got off at midstation, often with a friend/relative).  Even more fun once my daughter and her friend/cousin could ski off Lift 6 (age 6 for daughter).  For an older kid skiing blacks even out west … might be worth giving Peak a try for a season.

I get it that the transition for former Snowtime passholders has not been handled well at all.  A local PA pass by Peak, with the option to upgrade to other Peak passes makes good sense given the history of how Roundtop, Liberty, and Whitetail ended up under the same local owner.  But whether or not the Peak business model for passes and lift tickets makes sense in the long run, that’s not as clear.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
5 months ago

For comparison to Peak Resorts, I looked to see what Boyne Resorts does for Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands in terms of local season passes.  I stopped by to look at these resorts last summer after visiting relatives in Michigan.  Comparable size to Whitetail and Roundtop, but the season is probably a bit longer since it’s a lot colder than central PA.  With independent Nubs Nob right across the valley from Highlands as direct competition.  There is enough slopeside and nearby lodging for Mountain and Highlands, which are clearly 4-season resorts.  The drive from the population centers in southern Michigan is about 3 hours, mostly Interstate highway.  All the Boyne resorts became part of Ikon in 2018-19, including Big Sky.  Boyne recently took back ownership of Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf, which they had been operating under long term operating leases for a while.  A family-owned company with roots in the ski and snomaking industry that go back to the 1950s.

While Loon and Sunday River are quite crowded on weekends with folks from Boston, RI, CT, I don’t hear quite the same complaints as float around for Hunter and Mt. Snow.  Peak also gets dinged a lot by regulars for how they are handling Attitash, which can be skied on the same day as Wildcat even on a day ticket.

$179/$299 Cherry Picker, 3/6 days at Mountain, holiday restrictions 

$249 4-day pass at Mountain and/or Highlands, holiday restrictions

$399 Bronze for Mountain and Highlands, Sun-Fri open-to-close, holiday restrictions

$459 Boyne Mountain pass only, holiday restrictions

$509 Silver Pass for Mountain and Highlands, holiday restrictions

$729 Gold Pass for Mountain and Highlands, no blackout dates

5 months ago

 http://skidome.org/skidome2/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Night-Tracker-For-Distribution.pdf

NIGHT TRACKER PROGRAM just announced and no ADULTS -   190 lift only.   NO PRICE INCREASE.

the discount ages are 8-18   We have 10 in our club of 33 

then 18-29      over 30 you pay more.

After reading all the 10-Q - all the passes IKON, EPIC, MOD,  the Dynamic is in and will be for the future.  Same for making older pay more. All resorts want your money upfront. 

Everybody voted for CLEAN ENERGY and Higher min wage. = This raises input costs.   18% in PA, 25% in MD by 2021. 

(source - I have worked in the utility market (coal, nuke)  and water sewer)  my water sewer bill goes up every year $120 for 1 person in Ba County. 

When I checked on other sports the costs are the same. Going up. 

5 months ago
Here comes the $ PennLive: $3.5 million upgrades coming to Roundtop, other area ski resorts. https://www.pennlive.com/news/2019/04/35-million-upgrades-coming-to-roundtop-other-area-ski-resorts.html
4 months ago

So it’s about the normal amount they invest between the 3 each year.  Nothing that special, though the new gun heads will supposedly help.

Meanwhile, Mt Snow is getting about $55 million in upgrades.  I don’t see things improving that much at any of the 3 locals with Hunter and Mt Snow sucking all the funds.

How much you wanna bet that RT’s announced expansion off of Powderhorn doesn’t happen this summer?

4 months ago

http://ir.peakresorts.com/File/Index?KeyFile=397870874

“Peak Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:SKIS) (“Peak” or the “Company”), a leading owner and operator of high-quality, individually branded U.S. ski resorts, announced today that the Company’s consolidated initial sales for its 2019/20 season pass offerings increased 20.8% on a unit basis and 19.8% on a dollar basis over the prior year through the discounted sales window, inclusive of Snow Time pass sales in both periods.”

From this release it would seem that peak pass preseason sales have picked up thanks to the newly acquired mid-atlantic market.

4 months ago

Well, anecdotally we know that about 30% of ST passholders upgraded.  If that same 30% renewed again for the coming year, that would create a spike in revenue.

Of course, that says nothing about actual sales in the area, or how many they lost by discontinuing other products.  I would have expected a more significant increase if pass sales were successful to ST pass holders.  The fact that it’s only 20% is telling.  However, aside from the quesitonable value, Peak management successfully pissed off a lot of people by being tone deaf and condescending whenever people complained about the passes and their responses. I’m banned from several of Peak’s FB pages for complaining. I know several others that are too.

I expected a rosy answer.  I’m not buying their spin though.

4 months ago

superguy wrote:

Well, anecdotally we know that about 30% of ST passholders upgraded.  If that same 30% renewed again for the coming year, that would create a spike in revenue.

Of course, that says nothing about actual sales in the area, or how many they lost by discontinuing other products.  I would have expected a more significant increase if pass sales were successful to ST pass holders.  The fact that it’s only 20% is telling.  However, aside from the quesitonable value, Peak management successfully pissed off a lot of people by being tone deaf and condescending whenever people complained about the passes and their responses. I’m banned from several of Peak’s FB pages for complaining. I know several others that are too.

I expected a rosy answer.  I’m not buying their spin though.

^^^^^^

This. Totally. & Tone deaf is an understatement. Aggressive suppression of any detractors comments on all social media is deplorable. As if they are trying to hide stuff

4 months ago

zag33 wrote:

superguy wrote:

Well, anecdotally we know that about 30% of ST passholders upgraded.  If that same 30% renewed again for the coming year, that would create a spike in revenue.

Of course, that says nothing about actual sales in the area, or how many they lost by discontinuing other products.  I would have expected a more significant increase if pass sales were successful to ST pass holders.  The fact that it’s only 20% is telling.  However, aside from the quesitonable value, Peak management successfully pissed off a lot of people by being tone deaf and condescending whenever people complained about the passes and their responses. I’m banned from several of Peak’s FB pages for complaining. I know several others that are too.

I expected a rosy answer.  I’m not buying their spin though.

^^^^^^

This. Totally. & Tone deaf is an understatement. Aggressive suppression of any detractors comments on all social media is deplorable. As if they are trying to hide stuff

They really didn’t like me posting a link to an article showing Jesse Boyd, SVP, was involved in a oxycontin drug trade thru JFBB.  I linked that in one of the ski group pages (can’t remember if it was DCSki’s or an offshoot). They also deleted a guy who mocked a question asked by Forbes “How did you get into the ski industry? A: Nepotism.”

Apparently they’re a very sensitive organization.

4 months ago

I downgraded from an unlimited ST pass to the weekday only Peak pass, with blackout dates. Being a weak skier who is retired, I tend to avoid crowded times anyway. But I don’t appreciate the reduced flexibility for a marginal savings. I also passed on the insurance which was more expensive. So far the Peak people have not impressed me at all and I fear for the experience at our local hangs. Eliminating evening hours at Whitetail towards the end of last season kept me from making it out there then.

I’m curious about what decisions others made, when all was said and done.

Argent - DCSki Supporter
3 months ago

I still bought a Drifter pass. I probably won’t get my full money’s worth, since I likely won’t do a trip to the New England mountains this year, and the advance ticket purchase discounts can be generous. Either way, I like being able to just jump in a car and go straight to the lift.

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