Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.
Tue Oct 17, 2017 12:53 pm
I'm guessing that the Epic Pass revenue, even if it's only $10 a head (which I heard somewhere, maybe EMSC), in the early/late seasons is a major part of A-Basin's cash flow.
A management decision to limit ticket sales to control skier congestion is relatively rare in the ski world. Snow Summit used to have a ticket limit that was low enough in the 1980's and 1990's at least that it was wise to buy in advance for a weekend days. I don't recall needing to do that in the 2000's, so perhaps the limit was was more related to lift capacity and got raised once high speed lifts were installed. I do know that Snow Summit's limit was stricter in early season, but again I suspect it was a function of open lifts not open terrain. I read somewhere that there is no longer a ticket limit at Big Bear under Mammoth's management.
Hey, I'm all for it. If the lemmings want to pay the resorts to stand in line in early season and ski one or two WRODs, that's more revenue for them to stay in business and make improvements (developing the Beavers in A-Basin's case) that I can appreciate during a more sensible part of the season.
Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:27 pm
I actually don't know the detailed numbers, but can only suspect that the # of ABasin only passholders is pretty small. The vast majority of pass holders have either Epic or RMSP+ style products out this way. I'm not fully privy to the Vail revenue sharing details but my general understanding is that there is sliding scale of what each scan day is worth.
To use an example lets say the scale ranges from $15-$40/day depending on your pass #. Vail would pay out to Abasin at the bottom end of the scale as the season is going along. Then true up at the end of the season based on each pass #'s 'true' value. The skier hitting 100 days would be worth $15/day the skier only using the pass a total of 10 times a season would be worth say $40/day (BTW those two end points are only representative, not the actual amounts). Something along those lines. A bit complex, but also fairly reasonable in the end game.
The vast majority of people on opening day are gong to be high usage, lower value per day types, but you saw what the volume looked like. Many many hundreds (probably >1000 I'm sure). So still worth it for ABasin to begin to recover the snowmaking costs at least - especially on a random day in October when everyone else is closed.
Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:30 pm
Interesting insight. Thanks EMSC!
Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:56 pm
Yes, I was not aware it was a complex calculation at the individual pass level. I had always assumed it was a flat rate.
Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:56 am
Tony Crocker wrote:Yes, I was not aware it was a complex calculation at the individual pass level. I had always assumed it was a flat rate.
I assume that it's the same in Europe at massive interconnected ski areas/regions, where numerous landowners split up ticket receipts based on scanned lift use.
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:10 am
Tony Crocker wrote: I had always assumed it was a flat rate.
I think that's the way the agreements started out back in the early 00's - flat rate per day. But they have gotten more complex with the large tracking databases and computing power available on big data sets in recent years.
Although it's also true that the prior owner of Eldora signed up for a flat payment amount the one year Eldora was part of the Epic pass (not per skier, just a total $ amount for the year - period). But that was largely because he's clueless about running a truly successful business.
Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:17 am
I assumed a flat rate per ticket scanned. In the Alps example it's likely to be for each time a lift is used due to multiple owners of lifts within the same ski complex. The noteworthy example is the new 3 stage gondola built by Zurs to make the final lift connection to St. Anton/Stuben via Alpe Rauz.
In the A-Basin case I assumed there was a flat rate for each day an Epic Pass is used.
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