The drought in California and the dwindling snowpack throughout the west this spring brings up a crucial question: should ski areas lower lift ticket prices when conditions are poor? Dozens of ski areas have closed early this year, in large part because the resorts couldn't offer quality skiing due to the warm temperatures and lack of snow. And while plenty of ski areas lower their lift ticket prices in the spring, what about when conditions are bad throughout the winter?
We understand that ski areas have a bottom line to meet, but if the product that you are offering is sub-par, doesn't that mean that the cost should be lower? More and more, ski areas are moving towards variable pricing. Also called dynamic pricing, according to Bloomberg Business, this "makes the cost of a day on the hill less static and more like the moving target of an airplane seat, hotel room or rental car."
Fueled by e-commerce companies like Liftopia (which sells lift tickets for more than 250 resorts), skiers can now score big discounts for buying lift tickets early. Prices tend to rise as time goes on, and the most expensive way to buy a lift ticket is to pay the walk-up window ticket price.
For the most part, however, dynamic pricing hasn't really tackled the challenges of poor snowpack. Liftopia does allow resorts to drop prices at the last minute to lure more people, but throughout this winter, lift ticket prices in Lake Tahoe were not drastically different from a winter with abundant snowfall.
More on the California Drought:
The Worst Winter Ever? Sierra-at-Tahoe Closes Due to No Snow
Ski Industry Expert Says 31% of Today's Ski Areas Are Dying
Another Tahoe Resort Closes, This Time It's Sugar Bowl Resort
Inside the High-Dollar Fight to Save California Skiing
And when Sugar Bowl Resort closed early a few weeks ago, skiers and snowboarders complained that the lift tickets were still priced at $95 for only two operating lifts.
What do you think Curbediverse?
· Ski Resorts Experiment With Dynamic Pricing [Bloomberg]
· Sugar Bowl Ski Resort Shuts Down for the Season [Fox]
· This Has Been the Driest Winter in California Since 1950 [Curbed Ski]