Mountain Spy

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In this month’s Mountain Spy, we took on the discount seeker. With spring conditions in play, Mountain Spy Liz Mettler called to see about any end-of-season specials. As usual, it’s not the question that matters, but the answer.


Question: i’m planning to come up for a spring skiing weekend and figured ticket prices would be lower. are they?



MOUNTAIN 1, CO

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: For when?
SAM: Um, just for single day tickets.
Staff: Um, for like right now?
SAM: Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's spring.
Staff: For right now, um, let me transfer you over to the staff office.
Answering phone: Male.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Nah, I mean with our current conditions being as they are we don't have any plans to, like, lower ticket prices or run any specials over the weekend.
SAM: Hmm, all right. So it's full price tickets, that's it.
Staff: Yes. (Silence...)
SAM: I mean do you have full coverage?
Staff: Yeah, I mean everything is still open. We have, like, a 70-inch base. So...
SAM: So you're totally open then?
Staff: Um, yeah. (Silence)
SAM: OK then, thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: Here's a hint—switch the focus of no discounts to full coverage and 100% open and why it’s worth every penny!




MOUNTAIN 2, NJ
First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, they are a little bit. When were you looking to come?
SAM: Probably the next weekend or two, assuming you're still open.
Staff: OK. We're actually closing March 30.
SAM: Hmm, gotcha. Someone told me you were open longer, but that's OK. I can make it up this weekend. Are there any deals?
Staff: Um, yeah, we do have a couple deals on ticket prices running the next few days. So Sunday is X county day so all X county residents can ski or ride for free. And then we are staying open until April 1, but that's only the Y peak, um, Z peak is closing on Sunday. So Monday and Tuesday we have deals running, but again that's only for Y peak. Monday is $31 lift tickets all day and Tuesday is $20 for our closing day.
SAM: Great! And you said X county residents were free on Saturday or Sunday?
Staff: Yup! Sunday. Saturday is our end-of-the- season open house so if you show us a lift ticket from another mountain or your season pass from another mountain you get a free lift ticket.
SAM: Right on! Well, we're definitely from X county so that works for us. See you this weekend!

Rating: 8
Comment: Specific info + patience = high points.



MOUNTAIN 3, PA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Sunday is $51 now and twilight tickets are $25.
SAM: OK. So Sunday is how much?
Staff: $51.
SAM: What is it usually?
Staff: $63.
SAM: Hmm, is that your deepest discount?
Staff: As far as I know ma'am. (Silence...)
SAM: OK. Do I have to buy it online or can I get it at the ticket window?
Staff: You can buy it at the ticket window.
SAM: Sounds good, thanks.
Staff: And if you go on Facebook, um, it has to be printed and presented at the window so you can get a $10 discount.
SAM: Thanks, I can go check that out.

Rating: 6
Comment: Bonus points for the extra Facebook discount, but where's the personality?!



MOUNTAIN 4, ME

First Contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: They are not. (Silence...)
SAM: OK.
Staff: $83 per day.
SAM: OK. And there's no plan of lowering those prices when you get to the end of your season?
Staff: Um, let me put you on hold for a second.
Staff: It depends on the trail count. Right now we're completely open so typically after XX they might lower the price. XX weekend is the 11th through the 13th.
SAM: Great. And then hopefully they will start to lower the daily price?
Staff: Yes.
SAM: OK. And where can I find out that info when they do?
Staff: xxx.com
SAM: Perfect, thanks!

Rating: 6
Comment: A woman of few words, but she gets points for putting me on hold and getting the proper answer, which just happens to be the one I was looking for.



MOUNTAIN 5, PA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Yeah, um, I don't know if you saw on the website, but I think it's like $25 for 10-6 on Saturday or Sunday.
SAM: OK, what's the normal weekend price.
Staff: Um, $50!
SAM: Great! So you're doing half off on the weekends basically?!
Staff: Well, it's, yeah, well, the ticket, right, yeah, is half if you want to call it that, yeah, but the rentals are normally $32, they're $15 and we have a package that has a lift lesson rental that's normally $85 and it's $60. Mmm? (I'm sorry, what was that first part?)
SAM: Um... OK. So I should get those tickets online or do I have to get it at the ticket window?
Staff: Yeah, you have to buy it at the ski area at the ticket window.
SAM: Got it. Not online.
Staff: No. Right. Yeah!
SAM: Got it. I think. Bye.

Rating: 7
Comment: A good effort, but, well, yeah, minus three points for the confusing English.




MOUNTAIN 6, CO

First contact: Automated machine. Chose lift tickets and passes.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: No. Nope. They don't change throughout the season. They are $65 at the ticket window and $59 online for ages 16 through 65.
SAM: All right. But even when it's springtime and snow is starting to melt you don't offer anything? Staff: Yup. Yes, ma'am. No, we have full coverage. We have 93 inches of snow. So, yeah, we don't reduce prices just ‘cuz it's warming up. It's still skiing!
SAM: Okey dokey. I guess that's it then.
Staff: OK. Ba-bye.

Rating: 3
Comment: I get the feeling she is asked this a lot, but at least she doesn't have to keep cutting me off (you had to have been there). Plus, why not upsell all of this great snow?




MOUNTAIN 7, CA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose season pass office.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: They're not, but our season pass prices are really low and they're good for the rest of this season and all of next season. It’s a great deal!
SAM: But I know the snow is melting so fast there and coverage is limited... you’re not offering anything for single day tickets?
Staff: We do actually have full coverage, um, sooo, yeah, we are open top to bottom. And it's supposed to snow, well it's spitting out a little now and we're supposed to get dumped on tomorrow. So... therefore, I can't say anything for our ticket prices. You can get discounted tickets elsewhere if you buy them off our mountain, but if you buy them here they're going to be full price.
SAM: OK, so they're going to be full price until closing?
Staff: I mean I can't 100 percent say that, but typically they are.
SAM: Hmm, well maybe I'll look around for some deals.
Staff: Well actually we sell our discounted tickets at REI and Costco sells them and we’re on Liftopia.com so there are a few places to get discounted lift tickets. And then we also have a late season voucher out there. If you're coming from like the Bay or Sacramento area there are different shops that carry a $62 voucher that you can get and they pay for a discounted ticket up here. So that's another way to get a cheaper ticket.
SAM: OK, cool. I can do that. Thanks!
Staff: And if you look on our website and look at the X page you'll be able to see which shops carry our vouchers.
SAM: Awesome. I was just going to ask that. Thanks again.
Staff: Sure thing, bye!

Rating: 9
Comment: Big points for sticking with me and giving me all my options. Minus 1 for no web address. Hey, maybe I’m too lazy to Google!
Identity Revealed: Sierra-at-Tahoe



MOUNTAIN 8, WV

First contact: Automated machine.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Well they're $50. And then there's some tickets online that might be less expensive. But generally you're looking at a ticket, when booked in advance, is $53. Normally a weekend ticket during high season was $80, oh $82 or $83, something like that.
SAM: OK, so I should go online for the cheapest ticket?
Staff: Yeah you will just get a better price. If they let you book it.
SAM: And you guys aren't doing any other discounts since it's spring and the season is ending and there might not be full coverage? I was just hoping they would be lower.
Staff: Yeah, they're already discounted. (Silence...)
SAM: Alrighty then.
Staff: Yes, ma'am.

Rating: 4
Comment: No problem if they're not discounted, but spending a little time with the customer goes a long way.



MOUNTAIN 9, NY

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Not if you purchase them here, but if you go online then, yes.
SAM: Awesome. How much are they discounted online?
Staff: Well, it depends on when you buy them. Like if you buy them a few days ahead it's 40% if it's closer then it's 30%. Do you have a season pass from any other mountain?
SAM: I do not, no.
Staff: Hmm. OK. That's too bad. Because that was another discount. Those are the only two I have.
SAM: So I can just go onto your website and get the discounted ticket that way?
Staff: Yes.
SAM: Great, thanks.

Rating: 6
Comment: She tried to help, but was a little stern.



MOUNTAIN 10, ME

First contact: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, at this point they're not, but they will be in a couple weeks. Our closing date is going to be April 21. I'm not sure when you're coming up, but ticket prices will be going down if we get rain or whatever. It depends on snow conditions and all that, you know. Right now we're still pretty open. We've got about 131 trails open so we're still full capacity right now.
SAM: All right. Well at least they're going to go down! Where should I look to see when they do go down?
Staff: It's not going to say online, it's all tentative. Like I said, if we get a bunch of rain and the snow starts to melt away the prices will go lower so it's, um, there's no place to look right now.
SAM: OK, well maybe I'll just give you a call back before I plan to come up?
Staff: Right, exactly. If you give us a call before you're planning to come up we can let you know.
SAM: Sounds good. Do you know how much the price should drop?
Staff: I don't know, maybe $10-15 dollars cheaper than they are now.
SAM: Great, I'll give you a call back. Thanks!

Rating: 5
Comment: A little vague, but still got the basic info.



MOUNTAIN 11, MA

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, not yet. Just ‘cuz we still have 39 trails open today so we still have quite a bit of coverage so they haven't dropped prices, yet.
SAM: OK, but you're going to?
Staff: I honestly couldn't tell you. That's something they decide and tell us at the last minute.
SAM: All right, but you said they "haven't yet" so that means you usually do in the spring?
Staff: Yeah, once we start losing trail count they'll start dropping them. Definitely check the website—like I know this Sunday we have a coupon for $45 and we should be adding more coupons.
SAM: Great. How much is a regular ticket again?
Staff: $67 for an 8-hour adult.
SAM: Well, I guess I'll just keep checking the website for those coupons. That's my best deal?
Staff: Correct. Thanks for calling!

Rating: 5
Comment: Had to squeeze the info out of her, but at least I got it.



MOUNTAIN 12, NJ

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Um, they are a little bit. When were you looking to come?
SAM: Probably the next weekend or two, assuming you're still open.
Staff: OK. We're actually closing March 30.
SAM: Hmm, gotcha. Someone told me you were open longer, but that's OK. I can make it up this weekend. Are there any deals?
Staff: Um, yeah, we do have a couple deals on ticket prices running the next few days. So Sunday is X county day so all X county residents can ski or ride for free. And then we are staying open until April 1, but that's only the Y peak, um, Z peak is closing on Sunday. So Monday and Tuesday we have deals running, but again that's only for Y peak. Monday is $31 lift tickets all day and Tuesday is $20 for our closing day.
SAM: Great! And you said X county residents were free on Saturday or Sunday?
Staff: Yup! Sunday. Saturday is our end-of-the- season open house so if you show us a lift ticket from another mountain or your season pass from another mountain you get a free lift ticket.
SAM: Right on! Well, we're definitely from X county so that works for us. See you this weekend!

Rating: 8
Comment: Specific info + patience = high points.



MOUNTAIN 13, B.C.

First contact: Automated machine. Chose operator.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Ummm, not really. Unless you, like, after March 30th we have a ski free—if you stay in our accommodations for two nights you can ski for free.
SAM: Hmm. OK, but I don't need accommodations. I just figured there might be some discounted tickets since it's spring and you were probably closing soon.
Staff: Yeah, prices haven't gone down because we haven't closed any trails or lifts. We're actually getting a ton of snow right now! Our base is going up! Ha ha ha!
SAM: Do you usually discount tickets in the spring?
Staff: No. No. Last year and the year before it was snowing like crazy until we closed.
SAM: OK, so you keep your ticket prices as is until the end?
Staff: Yeah. As far as I know maybe that will change in a few weeks, but our last day of skiing is April 13.
SAM: All right. Well maybe I'll call back in a week and see if anything has changed.
Staff: Yeah, you can try!
SAM: Thanks.

Rating:6
Comment: Wait, it's dumping? How about you focus on that and tell me to forget discounted tickets and get up there to ski pow?!



MOUNTAIN 14, AB

First contact: Automated machine.
Answering phone: Female.
SAM: Stated question.
Staff: Uh, the cost for season tickets, or like season passes, are, but individual day tickets stay the same.
SAM: OK, what do you mean for passes?
Staff: Like from now until the end of the season.
SAM: So you're selling a discounted pass just for the spring?
Staff: Yes. We are. We're selling the spring pass. So, for adults they are $400 until the end of the season. (Whoa! That's discounted?)
SAM: Hmm. OK. Yeah, I'm not sure I'll be making it up enough to make that worth it. You don't do any single day discounts?
Staff: No, we don't. (Silence...)
SAM: Hmm. That's a shame. I guess full price it is. Thanks.

Rating: 5
Comment: A little dry. You might need to bump up the enthusiasm if you want me to shell out $400!

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