Happy President’s week, school vacation week, etc…couple of signs that popular resort methodology may have a few cracks in the armor…first up, Peak Resorts‘ big NY property Hunter Mountain eschewing holiday pricing this week. I gotta believe they’ve played with rates through their various Liftopia channels and figured out that they’ll bring more revenue despite the lower ticket price. It takes a lot of bodies to make up for even a minor price decrease, but with all the food & rental income it probably tilts in their favor…now the bigger impact, Arapahoe Basin announced that they’re no longer gonna be Epic® — breaking ties with Vail Resorts Inc. Now I know that the Borg owned A-Basin once upon a time, even called it part of Keystone, and that’s where the connection originated. Not sure if the Broomfield collective still has a piece of A-Basin; for all I know this could be Robert Katz‘ idea. But if we take Basin COO Alan Henceroth‘s message at face value (no reason not to), they’re just getting too many bodies from the various Vail Inc passes. Seems to me if they don’t get a decent piece of that pass price, you’re doing more work for less money regardless of how much beer you sell. Well I can tell you that the response of the Basin faithful has been overwhelmingly positive, and the response of the average Epic® passholder has been something like “well that’s too bad we like Vail” accompanied by an expression of puzzlement. Let’s face it, most Epic passholders prefer to ski and wait on line at more glamorous locales. As long as A-Basin keeps supporting the GEMS Card, they’ll be ok in my book. Maybe another option would be some kind of joint deal with Loveland, that would be super cool and provide a lot of local appeal as a “Basin & Basin” pass. But like anything else, the bottom line is the bottom line, and only time will tell if this was a good move by management.
photo above by Dave Camara, courtesy A-Basin