Snowpass was discussed briefly
on NY Ski Blog last week and the Alpinforum crew, ostensibly Snowpass's core market, has been working it over since early March. They observed that it's composed predominantly of European lost-ski-area candidates and should be renamed the Starli Pass. If you recall, Starli
is the Alpinforum road warrior who has skied all over eastern and western Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, the Balkans, Turkey, Caucasus, etc. -- he's the one from whom I steal most of my Euro third- and fourth-tier ski area ideas.
Tony noted that the only medium/large ski area (for European standards) on the pass is Sierra Nevada in Spain. All the rest are comparatively very small, small, or medium/small. What made me laugh is that St. Antönien along the Swiss/Austrian border is included. My guide and I stopped in that tiny village for a coffee break during our sidecountry tour between Gargellen and Klosters/Madrisa
four years ago. It has a likewise tiny ski area with 4.6 km of trails served by a couple surface lifts.
Tony Crocker wrote:I don't see this pass being a big seller when the marquee Euro areas have walk up tickets in the $60 range.
Agreed. Snowpass is trying to shoehorn the Ikon/Epicpass formula (which is a huge success due to outrageous day-ticket prices at destination resorts in North America) onto Europe. Moreover, as mentioned in the NY Ski Blog link, there are already multi-region ski passes that work for the Alps, e.g. Ski Amade, the Joker Pass.
Snowpass is a good idea for under-the-radar ski areas to get some additional cash flow and visibility, similar to the Colorado Gems card, but of little interest to me just to potentially save a couple of shekels at the risk of flexibility (another "tail wagging the dog" situation). Of the current list, I've been to Auron, Isola, Galtür, Tschiertschen, and Riesneralm and would recommend all of 'em; however, they're not the type of places that typical fly-in ski tourists (or for that matter most Euros outside of a two-hour drive) would visit.