Skico gets earful for pass pricing |

Skico gets earful for pass pricing

The Aspen Skiing Co.’s switchboard was “slammed” Thursday morning after new pass prices were released, mostly by skiers and riders who didn’t like their new options, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

The complaints came primarily from customers who had a two-day-per-week pass last season, older skiers and holders of Aspen Highlands/Buttermilk Passes, Hanle said. The calls died down by afternoon, Hanle said.

The two-day pass and Highlands/Buttermilk passes were eliminated for 2009-10. Hanle said about 300 Highlands/Buttermilk passes were sold last season, mostly to Highlands faithful. The Skico is making special one-year accommodations for them, offering them a Premier Pass at the price given to employees of businesses that belong to a local chamber of commerce, regardless of whether they fit that bill.

“We’re easing them back into the four-mountain scene,” Hanle said.

Two-day passholders present a bigger challenge. The Skico now offers a Flex Pass at $699 for chamber members and seniors, and $819 for customers who don’t belong to the chamber.

The Flex Pass entitles buyers to one day on the slopes per week for the 20-week season. Additional days can be purchased for $49 per day. The Flex Pass isn’t a good deal for a person who actually used a two-day pass for two days each week of the season. Skiing two days per week this season would cost them significantly more than last season.

Here’s why: The Flex Pass for chamber members has a base cost of $699. If a skier also bought a $49 ticket to ski a second day each week of the season, they would spend another $980 for a total expenditure of $1,679. That customer would be better off buying a Premier Pass.

Hanle said most people who bought the two-day-per-week pass didn’t actually use it all that often last season. Many of those passholders will be better off with the Flex Pass, he said.

In a few cases, two-day passholders from last year will be better off spending more money that last season and buying the Premier Pass this season, he said.

The Skico will assist customers who want help assessing what option is best for them this season. Hanle stuck to a claim he made Wednesday that the new options benefit the majority of Skico passholders.

The price of the Premier Pass, which allows unlimited skiing and riding, dropped $200 to $1,099 for chamber members, and dropped by $270 to $1,499 for non-chamber members, if purchased by an early deadline of Sept. 18. Hanle said about two-thirds of passholders bought Premier Passes last season.

Passes go on sale Monday.

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