What ever happened to the cheap season passes? Wasn't this a marketing model a few years back and very well received? Why hasn't this model caught on more?
It would seem it would drive more persons to the slopes. Especially in weaker conditions which leads to higher retail and other incremental sales. Now is this the movie theater business plan ( bring em in and sell then $5 sodas) or maybe the gym model ( sell them the membership but hope they never show) But why isn't it used more?
a better question might be what is the number of day you must spend at a ski area to make a season pass worth while?
Seasons passes seem to me to be a very poor marketing tool for the cost. Frankly, I don't see any of the smaller local areas going to the model of a cheap season's pass to lure in skiers to upcharge in other areas. Besides skiing (or boarding), there's not a lot left to purchase. No need to purchase hotel rooms; meals are limited to lunch/dinner or snacks (can't see how you could sell enough $5 soda's to make up for a single seasons pass let alone a bunch - and folks will bring their own food if prices are too high). That model may work in Vail where those tend to be destination resorts, but I don't think it will swing around here. Heck, even movie theaters are charging $10/person for a show WITHOUT the $5 sodas and $10 popcorn.
Besides, for local ski areas, there's something better than the cheap seasons pass. Incentive programs have gotten creative with a variety of products that are better value for the skier AND areas - at least locally. Check out the Snowtime Inc. (i.e., Liberty, Whitetail and Roundtop) products like Advantage Cards (think paid-for discount program like Costco membership - the more you ski, the more you save), Night Club Cards (volume discount night skiing program) or the Mountain Passport program (discounts geared towards first time skiers).
As for your last question, a season's pass good at Liberty, Whitetail and Roundtop will cost you $670. With a peak 8 hour ticket going for $54/weekend day, you'd need to ski more than 12 weekend days to get your money's worth. Most folks I know can hardly get in half that amount locally.
You're right on about the Advantage card. Did you know that this year it was possible to get an adult season pass to the Snowtime resorts for $545? That was the early season price minus the discount for getting your pass at an event like the Dilly in Chantilly. That's just 10 8 hour weeked tickets to break even. For an 80-100 day season that pretty much means coming both weekend days every week of the season to get a 50% break.
The way the Advantage card works, it's actually cheaper than a season pass until you get over about 18 visits (depending on the type of ticket you buy and the type of ticket you use for your free ticket). Of course, the pass does offer the convenience of not buying tickets every trip.
Cheap (sub $300) passes can still be had in Colorado. Out there, they still have capacity to handle more skiers on the weekends. Things did get zooey when the deals first came out, but have settled down with some small price increases and restrictions. Thus the cheap pass model works for them. Locally, there is not a lot of excess weekend capacity compared to nights and mid week. This year you could have acquired a Snowtime mid week season pass for as low as $234.
don't you think 545 is a bit high????