If there is one thing we can all agree with on this site, it’s that skiing is expensive. This year with the impacts of COVID-19 it caused many resorts to lower capacities resulting in loss of revenue. Being a college student its typical for me to stealthily lurk around picking and choosing days where a combination of season pass, college and ski club perks enable me to ski for a relatively reasonable price. Being an east coast skier that has never ventured west, I can’t exactly speak for anything outside of New England, but I’m sure this type of thing is typical around the US, Canada and elsewhere around the world.
Over the past 7 or 8 years of skiing I’ve noticed a drastic increase in lift ticket pricing where it changed from a, “this is kind of expensive” situation for middle class people, to where I won't even bother looking at prices for many places. These include Stowe, Loon and Stratton because I just can’t bring myself to drop 120$ or more for a day ticket on top of 6+ hours driving. Don’t get me wrong. I understand that skiing has always been an elitist sport where you're either rich and have a million-dollar slope side condo, or like me where on powder days I'll be sleeping in a lot to get first lift. I decided that it would be interesting to analyze day ticket prices over the last 50 years at some popular resorts in New England against the national minimum wage.This is what I found when comparing prices at two more expensive resorts. It's important to note that the national minimum wage is represented by how much money is made without accounting for taxes after an 8-hour work day at $7.25 hourly. Simply, the buying power of minimum wage after a single day of labor. Many people that work a minimum wage job have not always been able to ski anyhow but now more then ever a gap has formed between rich and the less fortunate that would like to ski. This increase in the last 5 to 10 years has now also begun to separate the middle class as well. It's clear that there has been near exponential growth in pricing over the last ten years. It also has to be taken into account the improvements in skiing from the 70s and 80s to modern day where 6 pack express bubble chairs are a thing compared to an old rusty fixed grip double. The amenities resorts have added has also played a major role. But do these added perks that go mostly unneeded for people that just want to ski outweigh the cost? Probably not, which may result in a migration to smaller cheaper resorts Like Magic. Many skiers aren’t looking for these elitist perks and are slowly getting forced out of developing resorts. One article by Cydwhit discussed the character and charm smaller more rustic places have. Personally that environment as I have aged has become more and more of a staple to my skiing. In the United States especially you vote with your dollar more then ever let your skiing reflect that.
More and more it seems that resorts are less for skiing and more for slowly sucking money out of the 1% with ease. This is all well and good as there are still options for more hard-core skiers that don’t want a Stowe Vacation such as Mad River Glen, Magic Mountain and even places like Cannon to a degree. But this discrepancy has forever changed the landscape of northeast skiing as resorts fall to the hands of mega resort factories like Vail. This sad split has what I believe ruined skiing for many people.
For lower near minimum wage workers it has become completely impossible and for the middle class many places that have been gems for decades like Wildcat and Killington have become increasingly slipping out of reach. For example, a one day one-night trip for a typical family assuming you can get a 20% discount on lift tickets is astronomical. With quick rough calculations assuming a family of four lift tickets for Loon alone for a single day are $332. Add hotel for $225 and food for a lunch, dinner and breakfast to be $150. Gas is another $50 for a total of $757. If things continue in this direction its doesn’t seem likely that many people will have the option to ski at more then a couple of choice places that will eventually get overrun while ruining it for places that have been hidden gems for generations. Take from this what you will but I have a feeling this won't only be ruining places like Mount Snow, Loon, Stowe, Killington and Stratton but also places like Magic and MRG. What’s your take, and facts figures or predictions?