Colorado lift tickets topped $100, but what about Park City’s resorts? |

Colorado lift tickets topped $100, but what about Park City’s resorts?

by Jay Hamburger OF THE RECORD STAFF

It cost someone a little bit more than a Benjamin Franklin bill at the ticket booth to buy a one-day lift pass at certain points during the ski season at some of the top-tier mountain resorts in Colorado.

But in Park City, the three resorts kept their prices under $100 for someone buying a pass the day they wanted to ski. Locally, though, the prices for the most expensive of the one-day passes crept toward the $100 benchmark that was surpassed in Colorado.

If someone walked up to buy a lift ticket at Deer Valley Resort during the 2010-2011 ski season, they would have paid $90 for a single-day pass most of the year. The price ticked upward during the busy period between Christmas and New Year’s, when Deer Valley charged $94 for a pass.

Park City Mountain Resort matched Deer Valley’s price for much of the season, charging $90 between Dec. 18 and April 10, with the cost rising to $93 between Christmas and New Year’s. Canyons set the price at $89 for most of the season.

Discounts are offered to people buying multi-day lift passes.

Officials at Deer Valley and PCMR say prices have not been set for the next ski season yet, and it will likely be months before the resorts announce all of the price levels for the 2011-2012 ski season.

For Deer Valley to reach the $100 mark, the resort would need to increase the price of its most expensive lift ticket from the season just ended by $6. Coleen Reardon, the marketing director at Deer Valley, said resort officials intend to broadly review the price of lift tickets prior to setting rates for the next season.

Prices for a ticket good for one day likely will not be set until the middle of the summer, at the earliest, she said. Reardon said factors in setting the prices include the amount of improvements that will be undertaken and the overall business costs of operating the resort.

"I think we look at our product and what we deliver," she said, adding that Deer Valley does not make decisions based on moves made by other mountain resorts.

The Park City resorts compete directly with the ones in Colorado, and people in the industry closely watch trends in the price of lift tickets. Some of the major players in Colorado this year charged more than $100 for a lift ticket purchased the day it was used, with the resorts in the Aspen, Colo., area being among those that hit the $100 mark.

The Aspen Skiing Co., the owner of the four resorts in the Aspen area, pushed the price up to $104 on the Saturday of Presidents Day weekend and kept that rate until April 10, according to a spokesman for the company. Jeff Hanle, the spokesman, said the price prior to the increase was set at $98. In the previous season, the price topped out at $96, he said.

"People continued to buy the lift tickets," Hanle said, noting that the Aspen customers who paid the higher price did so without much grumbling to resort officials.

Hanle said Aspen Skiing Co. offered a range of discounts — multi-day passes, seven-day advance purchases and deals packaging lift tickets with lodging — that brought the price of a lift ticket down. Less than 10 percent of the people who purchased lift tickets at the four resorts paid the $104 top price while it was in place, he said.

Media reports during the winter indicated the lift tickets at the resorts in the area of Vail, Colo., also surpassed $100. A spokesperson for Vail Resorts declined to discuss the prices, citing competitive reasons.

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