Lift ticket prices
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12 users
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January 6, 2008
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
After reading a thread on snowshoe discounts I wanted to compare some resort ticket prices. I always wonder if it is worth it. I couldn't find a table posted anywhere with side-by-side comparison but found a few aricles. I pulled most of the information below from a Washington Post article ( and The prices are the season high for comaprison reasons. I know there are few other other factors besides the typical mountain stats of vertical feet, number of trails, acres, average snow, and type of beer on tap but these would be a good first step characterize dollar value of a lift ticket. the comparison percentage is a formula I used to create a figure of merit and divided by the average. Here is the formula and average values. vert(898 ft)*lifts(8)*trails(29) /Ticket cost($60). I would like to take into account number of double blacks and other factors but I have already wasted too much time on this. \:\) Bottom line is that looking at it this way, Snowshoe is a 518% greater value then the average resort compared. It blows away everything else. I don't know how well this will post, but hopefully you can follow it. Maybe I can take a skier satisfacton rating and work into the formula as well next time I have too much time on my hands. Remember this is in fun and not very scientific. It does not "rate" a resort, just determines based on these factors if the ticket price is a good value or not.

Ski Area - Top Elev (ft)- Vert Rise (ft) - Lifts - Runs - Season High Ticket Prices - comparison
Massanutten - 2,925 - 1,175 - 8 - 14 - 71 - 53%
Snowshoe Mountain - 4,848 - 1500 - 14 - 60 - 70 - 518%
Wintergreen - 3,500 - 1,003 - 7 - 25 - 64 - 79%
Bryce Resort - 1,750 - 500 - 4 - 8 - 62 - 7%
Canaan Valley - 4,280 - 850 - 3 - 39 - 61 - 47%
Liberty Mountain - 2,400 - 650 - 9 - 16 - 59 - 46%
Whitetail - 1,800 - 965 - 7 - 19 - 59 - 63%
Ski Roundtop - 1,400 - 600 - 9 - 19 - 58 - 51%
Timberline Four Seasons - 4,268 - 1,000 - 4 - 37 - 57 - 75%
Wisp - 3,080 - 610 - 13 - 32 - 57 - 128%
Seven Springs - 2,994 - 754 - 14 - 44 - 55 - 243%
Elk Mountain - 2,693 - 1,000 - 7 - 27 - 51 - 107%
Blue Knob - 3,152 - 1,072 - 5 - 34 - 50 - 105%

January 7, 2008
Member since 06/28/2004 🔗
2,444 posts
Wow....I wouldn't show this to a math, chemistry, or physics professor if I was you.
January 7, 2008
Member since 01/18/2005 🔗
2,022 posts
You need to somehow calculate in the accessability of the area. That would definetly deal a blow to the shoe. Also, the most difficult aspect of comparison would be the true vertical of the majority of the mountain. For instance, the shoe touts a vert of 1500' but that is true only for it's two advanced runs. The majority of the basin side of the mountain which is the other 85% of skiable terrain has a vert of only 600'. Massanutten is another mountain in which the vertical is not entirely skiable since I believe the terrain park is calculated into their figure. I'm not quite sure if WGreen calculates their total vert from the top of the Highlands which is "expert only." I think that most mountains try to make themselves sound/look better by exagerating features. For instance, t-line has only 8 top to bottom runs. But by mixing in glades, traverse trails, off ramps, terrain parks, natural snow only trails, etc... you somehow come up with 37. WV math. Go figure.
The Colonel - DCSki Supporter
January 7, 2008
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,098 posts
You forgot to mention: parking lots for cars, parking lots, entrance to lodge, etc.
The Colonel \:\)
Denis - DCSki Supporter
January 7, 2008
Member since 07/12/2004 🔗
2,198 posts
Well there can be more to the value of a ski day than statistics can tell. My son & I went to Red Mountain and Whitewater BC in Mar. 2006. Both are wonderful, but consider Whitewater in the above context;
1300 vertical feet
2 lifts (plus short beginner handle tow)
about 45 runs (on the map)
High season full price ticket $43 Cdn (~ 38 US at the time)
The most ass kicking steep trees I have ever seen

I'd trade all the Snowshoe days of my life for one day at Whitewater.
oldensign - DCSki Columnist
January 7, 2008
Member since 02/27/2007 🔗
437 posts
I also have a theory that the shorter the season the ski resort has the higher the lift ticket price.

Look at the ski resorts that Peak Resorts operates in the Midwest. All have short vertical and ticket prices that are way higher than you would find in an area with a longer season.

Guess you have to make the money when you can to cover the fix costs!
January 7, 2008
Member since 01/8/2005 🔗
1,318 posts
Cool - that's a good stab at quantifying it. I would like to see acreage factored in, along with some measure of number of skiers. I wouldn't bother with non-skiing factors such as food, travel, etc (leave that for a qualitative description).

You could probably do another metric based on lodging costs. I'd be interested to know how Snowshoe fares there, since the lodging seems a bit pricey to me.

I do think Snowshoe is a decent mountain, but the only thing that takes away from the skiing quality are the crowds (and the skill level of the crowds). When I ski there on a light weekday and the crowd factor goes away, I pretty much have no major issues with the place. That's why it would be nice to get an idea of the number of skiers there on a typical day, the number of acres they have to spread out over (perhaps trail count is a fair substitute) and factor that in.

It's OK to go with maximum vertical in my opinion. For instance, when skiing is good on Cupp and Shay's, I could care less that the other side of the mountain only has about 800 ft vertical with a lot of runouts. What counts to me is the amount of vertical I can possibly take advantage of. That said, it wouldn't hurt to have another metric based on average vertical. Even if it knocks the numbers for Snowshoe down by a factor of ~2, I imagine they will still look good (given the current 518%).

I am not a big Snowshoe fan, but at certain times of the year it's obvious to me that they are the best local option for family trips when I take everything into account. If it was just me skiing and all the resorts had their full terrain open, I would probably pick the CV/TL duo myself, especially with fresh natural snowfall.
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
January 7, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
832 posts

And so after last years adventure, Skier219 is finally a convert!

"I would probably pick the CV/TL duo myself, especially with fresh natural snowfall. "

As a sometimes statistician, I have the right to say that statistics are for liars. There is no way that shoe is 5 times more valuable than just about anywhere else. Think about it, would you pay $250 for a lift ticket there ? (5 times more than an average $50 lift ticket)

Heck, last friday I paid all of $23 for a half day ticket down here at app ski mtn and considered that a bargain, I was quite happy.
pagamony - DCSki Supporter
January 7, 2008
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
832 posts

...anyway, the formula blows up when the ticket price goes to zero. freeski - the way to go \:\)
January 7, 2008
Member since 01/6/2000 🔗
3,514 posts
The first post in this thread is an interesting and brave attempt!

I guess beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Vert doesn't matter too much to me, as long as it is greater than that of Liberty or Roundtop. Couldn't care less about the number of lifts or the number of trails. I care about the price of the lift ticket only if I feel I'm getting my money's worth (challenging/interesting terrain, snow conditions, lack of crowds, etc.)

I'd trade all the Snowshoe days of my life for one day at Whitewater.

Amen brother!

...anyway, the formula blows up when the ticket price goes to zero. freeski - the way to go

I was thinking the same thing. The problem is the numerator (# of lifts) goes to zero also. 0/0
JimK - DCSki Columnist
January 7, 2008
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,696 posts
In our region top elevation isn't as important as snowmaking capacity and will power to use it.
Number of total runs isn't as important as number of runs open when high season rates are in effect.
A large number of crowded runs may not be as desirable as a smaller number of crowd free runs.
January 7, 2008
Member since 12/29/2004 🔗
538 posts
As I said this was an exercise I thought about when looking a snowshoe ticket prices and much better received then I expected. When it comes to resorts and peoples likes/dislikes there are many intangibles that come into play. Many of them have deep rooted emotional attachments. For that very reason I almost didn't post it, but after playing with it the results, the analysis did peak my interest since it made me think more about a day a seven springs. A recent TR and this analysis made me think it might be worth a trip, where I previously would have said I might as well go to CV. I think you could expand on a purely quantitative analysis with other factors, like avg number of trials open across the season, avg base, avg snowfall, etc. But that would have been a real commitment to research.
Roger Z
January 8, 2008
Member since 01/16/2004 🔗
2,181 posts
Bumps, that's a really cool analysis you did! I'd like to offer one suggestion- trail counts get pushed all over and I don't think are very reflective of the terrain offer. Maybe convert "trails" to "acres of terrain" instead? That could also offset some of the vertical component. For instance, a mountain with- ahem- 85% of it's terrain at 600 vertical feet or less isn't going to be able to wrack up the acreage of a mountain with, oh, say, 70 runs going 1,500 feet of vertical. Just a hypothetical, of course. ;\)
January 8, 2008
Member since 01/23/2001 🔗
104 posts
snowtime has some serious cajones to charge 59 bucks for the conditions we've been having lately.
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