I went ahead and purchased two passes--one for me and one for the wife. The total came to $524.00. There goes the tax return...
In my conversation with the staffer, I learned that Timberline actually made more money than it did last season despite the shorter season (Timberline did not open until January) and the lower number of skier visits. I guess they made extra revenue from the Timbers pub, the cafeteria, ski rentals (they had some decent demo skis this year), and the store. Food services at Timberline were much better this year due to the hire of a new kitchen manager and a culinary school trained chef. Anyway, there seems to be no danger of the resort going under anytime soon. Also, season pass money goes into an escrow account so if for some reason the resort did not open, we would still get our money back.
As for improvements, I learned that the resort is going to try develop some more land on the Winterset side. With money raised from that land deal, Timberline may have enough money to begin expansion of its snowmaking system. General Manager Tom Blanzy told me last year that his goal is to double snowmaking in the next couple of years. More snowmaking will allow the resort to get more terrain open, more quickly than last year. Also, improved snowmaking might allow the resort to open some more challenging terrain such as Off the Wall. We'll just have to wait and see.
Whatever happens, I still think the season passes are a great buy at $249. Next year's weekend lift ticket will go for $41-42 . That means you only have to ski 6 weekend days or holidays to earn your investment back. Furthermore, many other resorts offer deals to season pass holders. Snowshoe and 7 Springs occasionally honor season passes from other resorts-especially realy and late in the season. Jay Peak in VT will sell you a weekend ticket for $20 if you hold a Mid-Atlantic season pass.
Timberline hopes to open next year in mid December and stay open until 1 April.
Also, I charged those passes on a credit card so if I do not get the services ordered, I can file a dispute with my credit card company.
Finally, I only have to ski about 6 times to pay for the pass. Even if December again proves warm, I still have 12 weeks to make up for lost time.
Every resort in the Mid-Atlantic had a tough time opening in December last season. Snowshoe, which has the best snowmaking in the region, did not open until 25 December. I wouldn't blame Timberline for the warm December and late opening. Blame mother nature instead. Timberline, despite a few shortcomings, still offers some of the best and most snow sure terrain in the region.