Resort officials discuss best way to allocate tickets to powder-crazed Front Rangers
FRISCO — Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that it’s curtailing sales of the so-called Epic Pass effective April 1 due to overcrowding on the slopes of Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.
The move came as part of a rebranding effort that will see Vail Resorts focus on quality rather than quantity, chairman and CEO Bob Slatz said in a prepared statement.
“This spring break, we’ve come to realize that enough is enough,” Slatz said. “We’ve listened to our customers and we’ve heard them loud and clear. Starting April 1, the Epic Pass will be history.”
The announcement came after a busy weekend at Breckenridge, when the lift line for the Colorado SuperChair extended from the base of the lift to within about 100 feet of the top.
“It was kind of ridiculous,” said Aurora skier Charles “Tazzie” Wayright. “We got on the lift, side-slipped down to the end of the line and then rode back up again. By the time we got to the top it was time to head back to Denver to try and beat the I-70 jam,” Wayright said, adding that the drive back to the Front Range “only” took five hours.
“A couple of weeks ago, it took us four hours just to get from Breck to the tunnel,” he said, wondering whether Vail will replace the Epic Pass with some other product.
Breckenridge Ski Area chief Cat Rambell said the resort is thinking about using a lottery system to allocate precious day passes among Front Range skiers who flock to the slopes on snowy weekends.
Another option is to direct skiers according to their vehicles, Slatz added, quickly saying that it wouldn’t be a case of vehicular profiling.
“If you think about it, it makes sense. Hummers and Escalades will be directed to Beaver Creek; all other giant SUVs go to Vail, and, oh yeah, Volvos, too,” Slatz said. Minivans will be steered toward Keystone, while Subarus showing the slightest bit of rust will have to make the trek up to A-Basin.
*Bwah-hah-hah-haaaa … APRIL FOOLS! I’m actually a big fan of Vail’s pass products. I think it makes skiing much more accessible and attractive. It’s absurd to blame Vail Resorts for I-70 traffic jams because it sells a product that people want.
That said, they could probably optimize their pricing to incentivize off-peak travel and skiing. In my mind, that would include a higher-priced unrestricted pass and deeper discounts for mid-week skiing.
And what about, finally once again, a locals pass that includes ALL local resorts, specifically Copper and Loveland.