New Daily Ticket Limits
Vail Resorts just announced opening dates for its resorts. Keystone kicks off the season’s festivities by opening in October (as soon as its state-of-the-art automated snow-making system gets rolling), followed by the rest of the resorts, depending on conditions.
In addition to reporting opening dates and perhaps more interesting news, Vail also announced plans to limit the number of daily ticketed users at its resorts. This move seems to be a carryover from their experience last year when they limited tickets during holidays (Dec. 25-2, Jan 14-17, Feb. 18-27) and before that during the 20/21 season when mandates ushered in guest reservations. In the release, Vail encouraged their guests to purchase early, explaining,
“Lift tickets will be limited every day, across every resort, during the 2022/23 season in order to preserve the guest experience at each resort. Availability of lift tickets will be visible on resort websites in the coming week. If tickets are sold out online, guests will not be able to purchase them at ticket windows.”
Vail also stated that these new restrictions would not limit Passes like Epic Day Passes and Pass Holder benefits. Neither will the guests who enroll in ski school or the employees and dependents with pass access.
A Point of Contention
Daily ticket limits have always been an increasing point of contention within the ski community. Complaints about overcrowding problems in previous years led Ikon to initiate reservations last year at some of their resorts. Some of Ikon’s biggest and most popular resorts will also require reservations this year.
As skiing has increased in popularity over the past few years, it’s not surprising to see the skiing experience suffer. Overcrowding problems like jammed full parking lots, super long lift lines, skier congestion on the mountain, and generally poor customer service result in a less satisfactory guest experience.
Vail Resorts’ Solution
Resorts are aware of the crowding (at least to some extent). Sitting on an estimated $2.2 billion they intend to deploy over the next 15 years, Vail now appears ready to do something about it. This season Vail Resorts committed a company-record single investment of $300 million that immediately funds Vail’s Epic Lift Upgrade, a series of projects across a dozen resorts to include the additions of “nine new high-speed chairlifts, a new high-speed gondola, eight new fixed-grip chairlifts, and an upgraded restaurant.”
In accordance with the motto “come for a season, stay for a career” Vail also sunk a $175 million incremental annual investment in its employees as it looks ahead to their retention and long-term development. Vail Resorts CEO Kirsten Lynch said this is part of a larger plan and “new strategic focus” to assist employees with leadership development, affordable housing, investment in human resources, and flexible, remote work hours. This season Vail will introduce a new $20 per hour minimum wage for all employees at all 37 North American Resorts for the 2022/23 season, as well as a $21 per hour minimum wage for patrol, maintenance technicians, and certified commercial vehicle drivers.
In the release, Vail Resorts’ senior vice president of mountain divisions, Bill Rock, had this to say,
“Our team is excited for the snow to start falling and to welcome guests back to ski and ride at our resorts this season. We are deeply committed to providing both our employees and guests with Experience of a Lifetime at our resorts, and we’re excited to share the passion we all have for these mountains we love so much.”
So now, with Vail Resorts officially in the game and following Ikon and limiting daily tickets, it seems this trend is accelerating. No one knows for sure how it’s all going to work. But with how this season is starting to shape up, I think we may find out.
2 thoughts on “Vail Resorts Announces Plans to Limit the Number of Daily Lift Tickets at Every Resort”
Does it really matter if they limit it. Everyone pretty much buys an epic pass already if they’re going to ride a vail resort because a lift ticket is like $200 so it pays itself in like 4 visits. I don’t really see this as a solution to over crowding.
It is way past the time for the ski industry to recognize that each resort has a system capacity and to shut off day ticket sales when that capacity is reached. At Tenney Mountain we determined that by the length of the lift line.in the late 1960’s