Vail Resorts Sold 2.1 Million Passes and Lifts Can’t Keep Up
Vail Resorts ran a special deal on their season passes this year, with up to 20% off their multi-resort ticket called the Epic Pass. That pass gets you unlimited access to their 40 different resorts across the United States, including five in Colorado: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and Crested Butte. This is in addition to the less expensive Epic Local Pass and daily passes.
Cheaper passes seem like a good thing until you find out that they sold a record 2.1 million of them, a full 76% more than they sold for the 2019-2020 season. Just to be clear, those passes were sold pre-COVID, so the sharp increase doesn't represent a post-pandemic bounce back. It represents a massive uptick in the number of skiers and boarders you'll have to navigate through down the mountain, compared to pre-pandemic times.
Also, as a result, lift lines across their resorts have been much longer than most people are used to, leading to some pretty angry snow-goers waiting in some cases an hour-plus for a lift back up to the top of the mountain.
In Colorado specifically, skiers and snowboarders have been complaining online about the resorts being understaffed and overcrowded, no doubt in part because of the number of passes sold. But those complaints are also because of lagging snow totals forcing a run on the mountains whenever they do get some fresh powder for people to conquer. When supply increases, so will demand.
That leads to longer lines, extra waiting, and more frustration.
Bad as some lines may get at the Colorado resorts, other resorts across the country are facing far, far worse overcrowding.
Imagine facing lift lines like this, as seen here at Vail Resorts' owned "Mount Snow" in Dover, Vermont.
Or Stevens Pass Ski Area in Skykomish, Washington:
At the end of the day, if you've got a season pass for any of the Vail Resorts in Colorado, it might be best for you to avoid holidays and weekends, and try to hit the slopes on less crowded weekdays. And hopefully next season they won't sell as many.