Priciest lift ticket in U.S. not where you’d expect it
Vail Resorts made a splash last week when a Forbes Magazine feature on company chief Rob Katz let slip that the resort operator’s flagship ski area, the 5,300-acre Vail, will likely be asking more than $175 for a walk-up lift ticket this season.
That’s up from $160 last season and, once again, will rank as the priciest ticket in the country.
Not to be outdone, Sunlight Mountain in Glenwood Springs — always one of the most affordable ski areas in Colorado — this week stepped up with a $700 lift ticket, the Sunny 700.
While the 680-acre Sunlight might not rival the Back Bowls or tony vibe of Vail, the Sunny 700 includes a pair of Coloradomade Meier skis and a day pass to the nearby Iron Mountain Hot Springs. (A $600 option includes a Meier snowboard rather than skis.)
To celebrate Sunlight’s 50th anniversary, the custom ski makers at Meier, who recently moved their shop to Denver from the Roaring Fork Valley, forged beetle-kill rides with custom graphics designed by a Glenwood Springs artist.
Sunlight — which boasts a challenging selection of steep, north-facing glades and opens Friday — offers midweek day tickets for less than $40 and a peak price of $63, making it one of the most affordable lift tickets in the state. The area’s venerable skiand-swim package deals with Glenwood Springs’ hot springs have long drawn vacationers looking for activities beyond the slopes.
“We are covering both bases,” Sunlight’s marketing boss Troy Hawks said. “Now we can boast that we have one of the most affordable skiing experiences in the industry, as well as the most expensive special one-day lift ticket offering in the country.”
As for Vail’s $175 lift ticket, that’s akin to walking into an airport and buying a plane ticket. The ski area’s website offers day tickets for $159 if purchased early. Vail Resorts’ 201617 Epic Pass — which hit the market in March for $809 and is no longer for sale — delivers unlimited skiing at nine of the country’s busiest resorts, plus five days at its newest acquisition, Whistler Blackcomb.
Vail Resorts is pacing toward 500,000 Epic Pass sales this season — almost all sold in the spring, summer and fall — which delivers the world’s largest resort operator nearly a quarter-billion dollars in revenue outside of its busy ski season.
These custom skis are part of the package for the highestpriced ski ticket in the U.S.