The ski season in Australia is in full swing. It got off to a great start and conditions have only gotten better.
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Pleasantly the crowds at Thredbo Resort have been light. Even during the start of New South Wales private school holidays, the longest lift lines were only about 10 minutes.
What makes it even more interesting is that daily lift ticket prices are $36 less per day compared to nearby Perisher Resort. So why aren’t more people going to Thredbo for shorter lines and less cost? Perisher indeed has more skiable acres, but Thredbo has the longest runs.
The answer could be that Vail Resorts owns Perisher and not Thredbo.
Vail operates by selling a less expensive season pass, then charges an excessive amount for a day ticket. Thredbo’s season pass was more expensive, but daily passes are more affordable.
It breaks down like this:
- Thredbo Season Pass: $1,699 One-day pass: $189
- Perisher Season Pass: $1,199 for Epic Pass (before June 15) One-day pass: $225
It is an interesting case study. The lower-cost Epic Pass compels many people to buy it. It also covers Falls Creek and Mt Hotham. The skier who is looking for the best value will be drawn to it. This comes with more skier visits to its resorts, potentially draining the ski experience. Vail then hopes those who purchase their season pass will travel to other Vail resorts (potentially internationally) for vacations or trips.
It would take a deeper dive into the financials to see what the better business model is. A material difference is Vail Resorts is much larger with a market cap of about $10 billion. Event Hospitality and Entertainment, which owns Thredbo, has a market cap of about $2.2 billion.
Either way, skiers and riders in southeast Australia will have to decide which ski experience fits them best.