Ski Lift Tickets Pricing Like Airline Tickets

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I’ve been doing the ‘ski dance’ the last couple days watching the Twitter accounts from some of my favorite Colorado ski properties go from posting pictures of golden aspens to snow covered runs.  Don’t believe me, check out this recent tweet from @AspenSnowmass.

Ski Season Coming

Ski season is close, in fact I know Keystone is opening up on October 31st this year, so that’s just 27 days away.  Twenty seven days!  Of course I’m sure the ski conditions wouldn’t be phenomenal that early, but hey, open is open.  That’s exciting for those that love mountains and the white stuff.

I recently updated a post on points-friendly ski hotels and today wanted to share an interesting development in the world of online lift ticket prices.

Dynamic Lift Ticket Prices:

Liftopia has moved to a lift ticket pricing system that could easily be compared to Southwest Airline’s three tiered pricing model for airline tickets.  They have introduced a dynamic tiered pricing system for lift tickets featuring Value, Value Plus, and Flexible options.

Lift Ticket Pricing

  • Value lift tickets are date-specific, non-refundable and non-changeable, offering the deepest discounts with savings up to 85 percent off walk-up window rates when purchased in advance. These are ideal for consumers who know the exact dates they will be skiing or riding.
  • Value Plus lift tickets offer added flexibility, allowing a one-time date change during the season.
  • Flexible lift tickets offer the ultimate flexibility with unlimited date changes during the season.

Obviously if your dates and locations are 100% set then you can save the most by going for the value tickets, but you are out of luck if your plans change for any reason.  Some searches I did showed that the three tired dynamic prices are not available at every resort on every date, but when they are available just think long and hard before committing to a certain tier.

Plan More, Save More:

I also want to point out that you will save the most on a per-day basis on lift tickets if you have the luxury of committing to a larger package of lift tickets sooner rather than later.  For example, four days of lift tickets at A-Basin are just $129 and a whole season pass is $289.  The season pass also gives you three days at Taos and one day at Silverton.

The Mountain Collective Pass is also very interesting to me at $389 for two days at many different resorts across North America including Aspen Snowmass, Whistler, Banff-Lake Louise, and more.  This is obviously only a good deal if you were going to visit several of those resorts this year.  The list actually pairs pretty well with destinations that have points friendly hotels!

Another option for those who plan to hit different resorts in Western US is the Epic pass that includes Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton and Arapahoe Basin with limited restrictions at Park City, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar & Kirkwood. It includes a total of 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek with holiday restrictions. for $569, which is clearly a lot but is less than buying multiple days one at a time at some of these resorts.

Epic Pass

Like with almost anything in life the more you can plan on the front-end, the more opportunities you will have to save when you hit the slopes.  No matter what you do, try to avoid the walk-up one day prices at the lift ticket windows as those will be the highest prices of any of the available options.



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  1. Don’t forget about your local ski club. There’s often great value with group pricing. While clubs often stay in condos or places that aren’t points-friendly, perhaps you can work with them to get group pricing on lift tickets even if you don’t stay at the same property. There are also usually group social events and other activities that make it great trip.

  2. ski mountains should discount certain weekdays when demand is much lower

    but they shouldn’t overly subscribe to the airline pricing model. say during xmas holiday, if the mountain is already at full capacity (chairlift queue times exceeding 45mins), should they start pricing it at “full fare Y” and asks for $300 for the lift ticket when the guy who arrived early at 7am paid only $100 ?

  3. Lea, great advice!
    patricia, it is hard to argue with supply and demand type pricing, but as long as there are ways to get lift tickets cheaper we’ll be okay. 😉

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