An Epic ski pass will cost 20% less next season, Vail Resorts revealed Tuesday, a strategic move designed to undercut competitors.
Why it matters: The majority of skier visits now come from pass holders and two major resort companies —Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company — battle for the lucrative market share.
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Moreover, selecting a ski pass is like picking a Hogwarts house — it defines you, determines your ski season friends and offers clues to your shred cred.
What's new: Broomfield-based Vail Resorts opened pass sales for the 2021-22 season Tuesday with what they are calling a "price reset" that puts it well below the cost of Alterra's Ikon pass.
An Epic Pass that covers 70 resorts worldwide — including Vail and Whistler Blackcomb — is now $783, down from $979 this season, with the more restrictive Epic Local Pass at $583.
An alternative pass appeals to globe-trotters: For $499, The Mountain Collective offers two days at 23 different destinations and this year added a third day at one resort.
Context: Vail Resorts reported a 28% decline in revenue through January, compared to the same time period last season.
Skier visits are down 8% with the new pandemic reservation system, but the company announced it won't require reservations next season.
Driving the move: Part of the price cuts, the company said, is to make the elite sport more inclusive and available to a larger customer base.
For years, the cost of a lift ticket has skyrocketed. It's $219 for one day right now.
A new Epic day pass is $87, or as little as $74 a day with a seven-day pass.
Between the lines: Vail Resorts is betting the price reductions will generate more revenue through additional pass sales and skier loyalty.
"Today, as we double down on our pass strategy by dramatically reducing our pass prices, we are excited to make it easier for everyone to move into a pass," CEO Rob Katz said in a statement.
The other side: Colorado's Arapahoe Basin is taking a different approach by capping its season passes and lift tickets to 10% fewer than were sold this season.
The move is described to "preserve the culture and vibe" of the independent resort and create a better experience without massive lines.
Of note: The Ikon Pass offers seven days at A-Basin.
This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.
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