Costs go up to go downhill on Colorado slopes |

Costs go up to go downhill on Colorado slopes

ASPEN – Most Colorado ski resorts are boosting their season pass prices by modest amounts for the 2010-11 winter after holding firm or even dropping prices to spur business last season, according to a survey by The Aspen Times.

Most resorts have already released their prices and set early purchase deadlines to generate revenue. The Aspen Skiing Co. will release its ski pass menu and prices today and start selling passes on Aug. 23, according to spokesman Jeff Hanle. He said Skico made some “adjustments” to its pass options in response to feedback from customers.

The Skico was praised by some locals last season because it dropped the price of the full-season ski pass. Other skiers and riders criticized the company for eliminating a pass exclusive to Aspen Highlands, a seven-day Classic Pass and the two-day-per-week pass.

Hanle wouldn’t comment prior to today’s announcement on the changes the Skico is making or the pricing.

Elsewhere in the state, resorts have raised pass prices from a nominal $10 to $100 or more at major destination resorts similar to Aspen-Snowmass.

Telluride increased the price of its adult season pass from $1,198 last season to $1,298. However, it also offers a 4Pack, where four people can purchase their passes at the same time and get a discount to $998 each. That price has stayed the same since 2007.

Steamboat offered its adult season pass for $899 if purchased by June 1. It’s being sold for $999 through Aug. 15, when the prices ratchet up again. Last season the pass sold for $879 before June 1, and $999 through Aug. 14.

Steamboat also sells a pass that combines unrestricted, unlimited skiing at the resort plus Winter Park for $1,049.

Over the hill from Aspen, Crested Butte is selling its adult gold pass for $949. The price was $849 for skier and riders who made the purchase by April 4. The price for the full-pass was $849 last season.

Crested Butte dropped the price of its 10-day pass from $525 last season to $425 this year.

Outside of the state, Jackson Hole is touting its “new low pricing” for 2010-11. The ski area, run by former Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Jerry Blann, dropped its season pass price 25 percent, from $1,675 last season to $1,255 this year.

Jackson Hole’s weekend pass, equivalent to the Skico’s old two-day pass, increased from $740 to $790.

Jackson Hole also offers 20-day and 10-day passes that can be used in any way throughout the season – dribbled out a day here, a day there or used on consecutive days. The 20-day pass increased from $885 to $1,015, while the 10-day pass was hiked from $530 to $595, according to the resort’s website.

Back in Colorado, resorts competing for Front Range skiers remained locked in a pass war. Vail Resorts made a marginal price increase to its Epic Pass, from $579 last season to $599 this season.

The pass is good for unlimited skiing and riding at Vail Mountain, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin as well as Heavenly in California.

The Summit Pass, good at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, increased from $399 to $409.

Summit County competitor Copper Mountain answered back with its Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus, which provides unlimited skiing at Copper and Winter Park, plus six unrestricted days at Steamboat, for $449. The price on that pass was $399 last season.

In the Roaring Fork Valley, Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs increased its adult season pass price by only $10 from last season to $370. If purchased by Aug. 15, the adult pass comes with a free “powder pass,” which lets holders board the base chairlift 15 minutes early on days when there is 6 or more inches of new snow.

Sunlight maintained its maximum cost per family at $1,200, same as last season, according to spokesman Dylan Lewis.

The Aspen Skiing Co. charged $1,099 for its full-season pass last season for members of local chambers of commerce, and $1,499 for non-members, when purchased by a mid-September deadline.

A one-day-per-week pass was sold for $699 to chamber members and $819 to non-members last season.

The Skico eliminated four- and seven-day Classic Passes last season and offered only the five-day pass for $249.

A handful of locals mounted a petition drive to restore the seven-day classic pass, the two-day pass and the Highlander.

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