It will cost Aspen Skiing Co. customers $25 to $50 more to hit the slopes in the coming winter if they purchase season passes by the "super-early" deadline of Sept. 14.
Skico officials feel the economy has bounced back to the point where customers can absorb a modest increase in pass prices, said company spokesman Jeff Hanle. In addition, Skico's costs of doing business continue to go up, so it needs additional revenue, he said.
Skico raised the price of the Premier Pass from $1,549 last season to $1,599 for the coming season. That $50 increase was the largest for any ski pass.
Customers who can purchase a ski pass as an employee of a business that belongs to a local chamber of commerce get the customary discount. Chamber-related Premier Passes increased from $1,139 last season to $1,179 this season.
"We're still well below where we were in 2008-2009," Hanle said. "We dropped [the price] with the recession."
Skico instituted modest price increases the last three seasons to start bringing its prices back to where they were pre-recession. This will be the fourth season of increases at or about $40 per pass type.
Passes go on sale Monday. Prices go up after the super-early deadline at the end of the day Sept. 14. They go up again Nov. 10. Passes will be on sale at the Aspen Mountain Ticket Office and the Snowmass Gondola Ticket Office; online at www.aspensnowmass. com; and by phone at 970-923-1227 or 877-282-7736.
Hanle said the primary changes this season are more benefits connected with Premier Passes. Buyers get discount vouchers for family and friends that allow them to buy four one-day tickets for 50 percent. The Premier Pass also entitles buyers to various discounts on everything from ski and snowboard rental to ski lessons - perks that also benefit Skico's bottom line.
The Double Flex Pass, good for two days of skiing per week, is going up $40 over last season. The Double Flex was $1,249 last season and is going up to $1,289 for the coming season.
For chamber members, the Double Flex Pass price increased from $989 to $1,029.
Flex Pass prices, good for one day per week on the slopes, increased by $30 for the standard pass and $25 for the chamber pass. The standard price of a Flex Pass went from $849 last season to $879 this season.
The Flex Pass for chamber members increased from $729 last season to $754 this season.
Extra days for Flex and Double Flex passes can be purchased for $54 per day.
Skico will continue to offer four- and seven-day Classic Passes. The price is $209 for the four-day pass and $339 for the seven-day pass. The early purchase or renewal deadline for the Classic Passes only is Oct. 14, according to Hanle.
All passes will be honored if the ski areas open earlier than scheduled or stay open longer.
Hanle said Skico is also working on a special Escape Pass, which offers pay-as-you-go skiing, with another resort. Details won't be released until next week, he said.
Numerous Colorado ski resorts offered discounts on the 2012-13 season before the 2011-12 season even ended. The deals were an effort to boost revenues at the end of the ski season and to lock in customers for the following season. Vail Resorts, for example, offered its Epic Pass for $659 when purchased before April 22. It is one of the more aggressive resorts in the effort to attract business for the following season.
Skico doesn't participate in the end-of-season sales for the following season for the simple reason that it doesn't have to. It isn't engaged in a price war like the resorts more oriented toward Front Range skiers and riders.
Technology has taken some of the fun out of ski pass collection. Passes are printed on re-writeable, reusable radio frequency cards and have a thermal-printed blue photo instead of one that is full color. Also, there's no date on the pass. Therefore, collecting a string of passes with easily-distinguished pictures and the year of the ski season is no longer possible.
Nevertheless, Hanle said many customers still come to a ticket office to see their friends and "feel the excitement" of an approaching ski season.
Skico sent direct mail pieces to previous pass holders. The entire menu of passes can be seen at www.aspensnowmass.com/seasonpass.