Vail Resorts to reduce all pass prices by 20%
Vail Resorts is turning the clock back on its Epic Pass prices to reward loyal customers following a trying year. The resort operator announced that it is lowering the price of passes by 20% across the board.
The reset takes Epic Pass products back to prices last seen during the 2015/16 season when Vail Resorts offered access to only 11 North American resorts.
In a news release, Vail Resorts said it is making the move to continue to deliver on its commitment of Epic for Everyone and to honor the loyalty of its pass holders.
“The ski industry, our company and skiers and riders everywhere just navigated the most challenging season we have ever encountered. Because of the growth and loyalty of our pass holders, we were able to ensure this season was a success, with full operations across our 34 North American resorts, even amid a pandemic,” said CEO Rob Katz. “Today, as we double down on our pass strategy by dramatically reducing our pass prices, we are excited to make it easier for everyone to move into a pass, and we remain fully committed to ensuring continuous improvements in the guest experience.”
The move comes a little more than a year after COVID-19 cut the 2019-2020 season short. Vail Resorts made the unprecedented decision to temporarily shut down all of its North American resorts on March 14, 2020 — a decision that became permanent in the days that followed.
The company was then forced to reinvent the on-mountain experience at all of its resorts in just eight months to pull off a ski season in a pandemic, which included launching a much-scrutinized reservation system to limit crowds. Katz, in a letter to pass holders on Friday, said the company will be getting rid of the reservation system starting next season.
“The new prices announced today not only provide value to existing skiers and riders, but we also believe they will contribute to the growth and vitality of our sport as we bring new people and higher engagement into the industry, which we think is imperative,” Katz said. “We also believe these lower prices will benefit our financial results based on new learnings from the past few years. First, since we launched the Epic Day Pass two years ago, we have seen a material number of guests purchase a pass who were not previously known to us as customers, especially guests who typically skied less days in a season. Second, people who switched from purchasing lift tickets to passes then actually skied more frequently, purchased more ski school and rentals, and were more likely to visit our resorts the following year. Finally, based on the pass credits from last year, we have much better insight on how to profitably drive renewal rates in the program, particularly for newer pass holders, where we see dramatic increases in loyalty if we can keep them in the program for their first few years.”
“When we launched the Epic Pass 13 years ago, we began a journey to offer incredible value, flexibility and access to pass holders in exchange for a commitment before the season starts,“ Katz said. ”Since then, we have added 32 resorts to our portfolio to give our pass holders more choice, and watched how they more naturally spread out their skiing over the course of a season. We have also invested over $1.5 billion into the guest experience with industry-leading technological innovations and numerous on-mountain capital improvements.“
The price reduction applies to the entire portfolio of Epic Passes, including Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass and Epic Day Pass; Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited, Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass and EDGE Cards; Summit Value Pass, Tahoe Local and Value Pass, and Northeast Value and Midweek Pass; Military Epic Pass and Adaptive Pass; and many more.
Epic Pass products are now available to purchase at EpicPass.com for the 2021/22 winter season.
The Epic Local Pass is now available for $583 (down from $729 last season) and the full Epic Pass is priced at $783 (down from $979 last season).
With the price reduction, the Epic Day Pass, which provides the same season pass value to guests who want to ski or ride just 1-7 days, gives guests the chance to visit resorts like Vail for just $87 with a one-day pass (compared to a $219 lift ticket) and as low as $74 a day with a 7-day pass.
New for next season, the Epic Day Pass will offer two levels of resort access: Guests can get even more value in a day pass and access 29 resorts, including Keystone, Crested Butte, Heavenly, Northstar, Stowe and Hunter Mountain, for a price that starts at only $67 for a 1-day pass. Guests can also choose the number of days they want to ski or ride, whether or not to have holiday access, and the level of resort access they desire for the upcoming season at an incredible value. The new Epic Day Pass customization option will be available to purchase on April 29, 2021.
In addition to reducing the cost of accessing the mountains, Epic Pass products provide pass holders with significant savings on the rest of their mountain experience. Epic Mountain Rewards offers pass holders 20 percent off on-mountain dining, lodging, group ski and ride school lessons, equipment rentals and more.
All 2021/22 pass products will come with Epic Coverage, at no additional cost, which provides refunds for personal events like job loss, injury or illness, as well as for certain resort closures, including closures due to COVID-19.
“Much like in 2008 when we launched the Epic Pass, it can be counterintuitive to think that providing value to our guests by lowering prices will also drive value for our company,” Katz said. “However, we believe the price reduction will drive incremental revenue, given our comprehensive lineup of pass products that can fit any guest’s needs, our personalized and data-driven marketing efforts, and the fact that the vast majority of all visits from our passes occur at our network of owned and operated resorts.”
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