Ticket Prices Rise as the Snow Falls at Vail and Aspen

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Vail, CO, Feb. 16--This Saturday, Vail and Beaver Creek will increase their one-day window ticket price to a hefty $61. The price-hike comes just in time for the President's Day Holiday weekend, which traditionally kicks off the peak season for ski resorts across the country.

"We always raise our prices during peak season and this has nothing to do with snow conditions," said Paul Witt, spokesman for Vail Resorts. It's true that the one-day ticket price at Vail, and at most resorts, is always lower at the beginning and end of the ski season.

Meanwhile, ticket prices at two of Vail Resort's Summit County areas, Keystone and Breckenridge run $53, but will increase to $55, from Mar. 4-Apr. 1. Both Vail and Beaver Creek will lower their one-day prices to $59 on April 2.

However, Witt claimed that only about 10 percent of the skiing public actually pay the full walk-up window ticket price.

"Most people don't buy at single-day window ticket prices," Witt said. "Most people are using multi-day tickets, Colorado Cards, or season passes."

Some local retailers may not agree with the increased ticket prices, but they understand the reasoning behind it.

"Vail Resorts is just being competitive with what is going on around them for lift ticket prices," said Rick Nelson, manager of Christy Sports in Vail. "It's just like any other tourist destination, you have to pay full price in high season. If you want to play golf in Phoenix right now, you'll pay full price. But the same course will cost you half as much in June when it's not peak season.

"If people want to pay full boat, they'll go to the window and pay full boat," Nelson added. "If they want a discount, they'll shop around, or buy a ticket in Denver."

Last Sunday Feb. 13, Aspen and Snowmass became the most expensive lift ticket in the industry when the one-day price increased from $63 to $65 after a series of storms ushered in the best snow of the season. However, Aspen Skiing Company dropped their single-day price at Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk to $59.

For Aspen, the price reflects the snow conditions, which improved drastically when the four areas received more than two feet of snow late last week. The Aspen Skiing Co. has used a variable rate on its single-day ticket prices for the last two and a half seasons. It doesn't announce price changes in advance, nor will officials say how far the price might climb. The prices depend on demand and conditions.