You wouldn't ski in a pair of boots fresh off the shelf without getting them fitted, so why should the ski-focused, private jet set use a generic air service? Ascent Air Club is a private air service that centers on resort destinations in the Rockies. As opposed to a service organized around a flatland hub, Ascent is designed for ski town residents and frequent visitors. The planes, pilots, schedules and destinations all revolve around serving this market, which Ascent boasts as allowing it to offer lower prices and unrivaled short-notice availability.
Primary base airports:
• Bozeman (BZN)
• Aspen (ASE)
• Telluride (TEX)
• Steamboat (SBS/HDN)
• Vail/Beaver Creek (EGE)
• Driggs (DIJ)
• Jackson Hole (JAC)
The planes and crews for Ascent are based in these destinations, which the company claims as part of the reason it can beat private jet services based in major metropolitan areas on so many points.
As far as places, it looks like Ascent has a pretty good stable to offer members, and jet owners can decide to make their planes available to members. A couple of models, the KingAir and the Lear, are planes similar to what are used for Flight For Life trips in some ski country areas.
In its backstory, Ascent points to the challenges faced by regional airports, like those serving ski destinations, when trying to keep flights going in the face of airline industry consolidation. Larger services, like NetJets, serve plenty of customers heading to ski towns, but Ascent is betting its local focus can beat the big boys on service.
There are two ways to start flying with Ascent: membership and à la carte. Membership means a large upfront payment ($9,500 before Nov. 29 and $14,500 after) with annual dues ($7,500 for the early adopters the first two years, $9,500 after and for everyone else). In return, members get 50 hours of flight time. Even for non-members, Ascent says its local model still means lower prices than national jet programs. You might even be able to pick up an "empty leg" when the jet is either flying to pick someone up or returning to base, which could be useful given the planes are going to be flying between Rocky Mountain destinations.
For the rest of us, there are RV lots.
· Ascent Air Club [Official site]
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