Friday, November 3, 2006

Cost of skiing continues to rise

Sun Valley pass prices in line with other isolated resorts

Express Staff Writer

Express graphic by Gavin McNeil

Though local skiers find they have to pay more money to ski every season, the cost of day tickets and season passes at Sun Valley is about in the middle of the range compared to other major resorts in the West.

Day tickets at Sun Valley this winter will be $74 and season passes will cost $1,950. In a small sampling of Western resorts, Aspen leads the pack on prices, with day tickets costing $82 and season passes $1,979.

All of the more isolated resorts—Sun Valley, Aspen, Colo., and Jackson Hole, Wyo.—are more expensive. The best deals are found at ski areas close to cities, where there is more competition and more sales volume. As anyone who has stood in Snowbird's tramline knows, that also means more crowds.

One of the terms of Sun Valley Co.'s permit with the Sawtooth National Forest to operate on Bald Mountain is that it keep its ticket prices similar to those of its competition.

"There's no reason for us to think that the prices are out of line with those at other ski areas in the United States," said Joe Miczulski, recreation programs manager for the Ketchum Ranger District. "We've got high-speed quads. We've got extensive grooming. We've got extensive snowmaking."

Miczulski said the district has heard few complaints about Sun Valley's prices.

Sun Valley Co.'s 30-year permit will expire in December 2007. It is in the process of being renewed.

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