TubeBroCan you talk briefly about local mountains becoming financially stagnant and needing mega passes? How does that just happen?
Basically you can trace the movement and the idea of mega passes back to 1998 when a few resorts in colorado dropped their season's pass prices to about 25% of previous value with the caveat that you have to buy with your friends and it went from there.
According to Chris Diamond, this was just a last ditch effort to make payroll for winter park:
Vail was smart and saw the writing on the wall earlier and started looking at buying and buying, but they needed money first. Before 1998, a seasons pass was about 750 bucks.
Perhaps resorts don't need mega passes, but they certainly benefit from their existence. It could easily have been due to poor management winter park nearly bit the dust, but I think there was a lot of scare around climate change and there certainly still is now. Vail gets revenue for these resorts up front before the season starts with the Epic Pass. Mega Resorts like Vail have made it so the resort's existence isn't just reliant on snow anymore.
Theoretically, if you had enough capital, you could turn your mountain into a Vail-like area with the resort owning all the entertainment, lodging, and everything else associated with skiing too, thereby making it more of a destination, but when you have to compete against the real Vail, you lose because you don't have the financial backing or multi resort span. It's a kind of chicken and egg situation. If all resorts had done this, maybe it would have worked, but it didn't happen that way, and it's not going to happen now unless Vail eventually gets broken up by the Monopoly rules in the U.S. The one thing we do get out of it all is cheap season's passes for you and me to enjoy while we eat our 3 dollar walmart sandwiches for lunch.