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November 2022

Mountain Spy :: November 2022

I don’t want to buy a season pass, how else can I ski at your resort?”

Written by The Editors | 0 comment

The season pass is increasingly king at ski areas across the country. Add to that the pandemic–inspired changes to product sales in recent years (goodbye ticket windows, and hello online-only), and the purchase of a regular ol’ daily lift ticket has become a confusing prospect for some mountain-goers. Are walk-up windows open again? Do I need to reserve a time slot or specific day? Are there any discounts or bundles available, or are we in premium-product-only territory? So many questions this season, so the Spy set about searching for answers. 

Overall, this Spy thought most of the people answering the phone were helpful and informative. After several seasons’ worth of ticketing questions, guest service personnel are old hat at this stuff. Some are perhaps a bit too seasoned, though, to the point that they sounded less than stoked to be on the phone talking tickets.  

Have a tricky question you’d like the Spy to suss out? Send it to We won’t tell anyone the question came from you. Plus, if we use it, your area will be immune for that issue. 



First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: Well, if you want tickets for specific dates, you can go to our website at (states website), and you can buy tickets there. However, we do have this other option called [multi-mountain pass product], and those are not dated. So if you buy a two-day, you’ve got two days to use throughout the season. Those are at different tiers or different levels. Depending on when you are coming and whether you want it to be valid during some busy holiday periods, it’s a little bit higher priced. If you are not coming during those holiday periods, the price for those is significantly lower. Those are not dated, for example if you bought two days, you get two days to use throughout the season. They are not refundable. 

SAM: OK, great.

Staff: We do stop selling them at the very beginning of December. So after that, the other option would be to buy tickets for specific dates.

SAM: And I can buy those ticket on your website as well?

Staff: Yes, you can. And, so you know, you don’t have to use the other pass only at this resort, you can go to any [partner] resort and use it.

SAM: Once I buy that, is it mailed to me, or do I have to go to the ticket office?

Staff: It is mailed to you, and you’re going to have a photo on it, and you can go directly to the lift.

SAM: Perfect, and are you offering walk-up tickets this year?

Staff: We are, but it is limited. We are recommending that you pre-buy your lift tickets.

SAM: Great, thank you.

Staff: You’re welcome. Goodbye. 

Score: 9
Comment: She was perfectly helpful and to the point. A small note—if the contact had asked more follow-up questions about my trip, she might have found an opportunity to cross sell things like rentals, lodging, or lessons.  



First contact: Male.

SAM: Stated question.

Staff: (groggy) Lift tickets you cannot buy right now, um … They should be live to purchase in our web shop approximately mid-October.

SAM: Can I just walk up to buy a lift ticket, too?

Staff: You can always walk up to the window and get a lift ticket, but I always recommend buying them online. You’ll get a cheaper rate, and some ticket types tend to sell out. So, just to guarantee that you get the best price, I always recommend getting tickets online.

SAM: OK, so you do limit your ticket sales sometimes?

Staff: Yes. We are talking about skiing, right?

SAM: Yes.

Staff: OK, then yes, we do set caps on some ticket types, like night skiing. Or on certain days of the week when we are expecting a lot of passholders, we will set a certain number. It is common for tickets to sell out at a certain time. (Which times?!)

SAM: Great. Well, thank you for your help.

Staff: Yeah, like I said, check our website in October, and it should be live to purchase for any point during the season. And the sooner you buy, the cheaper it is. Always, buying at the window will be the most expensive.

SAM: OK, thank you.

Staff: Have a great day. Goodbye.

Score: 5
Comment: He sounded less than thrilled to be at work, but he started to wake up later in the call, so I’ll cut him some slack. I appreciated the advice about getting the best price. Would have been nice to know what those peak periods and times are, though.



First contact: Stated question. 

Staff: So, our individual tickets are not on sale yet. Those won’t go on sale until closer to the winter, so probably like middle-November / end of November.

SAM: Do you offer walk-up tickets?

Staff: Yes, we do. Sometimes, just to let you know, like last year, I know if you purchased the ticket online, I think it was $60. And if you bought it at the window, it was $65. So, it might be like that again, where it might be cheaper to buy it online, but I don’t have the confirmed prices yet.

SAM: OK, do you limit your walk-up tickets?

Staff: Not necessarily, no. We did limit the amount of lift tickets sold as a whole last year, between walk-up and online. The only days that really became an issue were MLK and Presidents’ Day weekend.

SAM: And do you do any other passes other than season passes? Like two-day ones.

Staff: We do have a multiple day ticket with a discount.

SAM: Great, thank you.

Staff: You are welcome.

Score: 6
Comment: She provided some useful information, but a lot of it was speculative. Not her fault—I’ll have to call back closer to the season to get a better idea. And what are the deets on the multi-day tickets?



First contact: Male.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: (brusque) You can buy tickets online. If you go to the website, click the icon, and go down to lift tickets, it will take you to a pricing page, and click ‘buy now.’

SAM: OK. Do you offer walk-up tickets?

Staff: Yes, absolutely. 

SAM: (awkward silence) Do you limit them?

Staff: At this point, we have no expectations that we will be limiting ticket sales at all online or at the window.

SAM: Is there a price difference between them?

Staff: No, not at this point. Ticket pricing is exactly the same.

SAM: OK, great. Thank you.

Staff: Thanks for checking with us. Bye.

Score: 3
Comment: That was like pulling teeth. Speaking of teeth, he did not sound like someone who likes to smile much. The resort offers multiple ticket and pass options other than just a season pass. It would have been great if he mentioned them.



First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: You buy lift tickets at the ski area or online once we have an opening date.

SAM: OK. So you are allowing walk-up tickets?

Staff: Yes.

SAM: OK, and are you limiting your tickets this year?

Staff: (barely audible) Nope.

SAM: So you are limiting tickets?

Staff: (a little snippy) No, we are not.

SAM: OK, great.

Staff: Anything else? 

SAM: No, thank you.

Staff: You’re welcome. Bye.

Score: 1
Comment: What’s with the monosyllabic answers? Work on your customer service attitude before the winter starts. 



First contact: Female.

SAM: Stated question. 

Staff: Umm, they might not be available to buy online yet, let me check on the website. Yes, they are up on the website. Are you by a computer?

SAM: Yes, I am.

Staff: OK, let me direct you to the website and show you how to purchase lift tickets.

SAM: Great, thank you.

Staff: (Explains the process of buying tickets.) So, what you would be doing is buying a new card. Our passes aren’t assigned to a date, so you would buy as many days’ worth as you think you will use. You don’t need to RSVP—there is no reservation system. You just bring your confirmation email to the ticket window, and we’ll print out the card that you ordered. It’ll be attached under your name, and then you can use it.


Staff: It is an RFID card, so you can use it for however many days you’ve loaded onto that card.

SAM: Oh, cool. Do you still have walk-up tickets available or is it all online now?

Staff: No, we do walk-up tickets still. Like I said, we don’t do reservations and we do not have a capacity [cap] so you aren’t in danger of getting here and being pushed away. Our prices do change as the season approaches, so buying now would be the only way to lock in these lower rates. Typically, they’ll increase a little bit with inflation in the cost of doing business going up every year.

SAM: Right, OK.

Staff: Also, these cards are valid for two seasons—so, the upcoming season and the following one. If you purchase, like, a six-visit card and you can only come four times, those next two visits are still available for you to use the following winter.

SAM: Oh, OK, great. Thank you for the information!

Staff: You are welcome, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us back. 

Score: 10
Comment: And that is how it should be done! She double-checked her information, walked me through the purchase process, and anticipated questions I hadn’t asked. Plus, she had a delightful tone, which makes a difference.
Identity revealed: Timberline