Lift ticket price hits record high at Steamboat Resort
February 21, 2019
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lift ticket prices at Steamboat Resort soared to almost $200 during Presidents Day weekend, an all-time high for the ski area.
That did not stop guests from purchasing those tickets, as local businesses — particularly winter sports rental companies — saw a busy holiday weekend. Business leaders pointed to improved snow conditions compared to last season as a primary reason for the traffic.
A day pass at the ski area now costs $199 each for adults. That applies to guests who do not have the new Ikon Pass, which Steamboat Resort's parent company, Alterra Mountain Company, unveiled this year.
Some potential visitors may have been deterred by the fact Ikon Base passholders could not use their pass at Steamboat during the holiday.
To this end, the Steamboat Springs Chamber reported lower reservations for several hotels, motels and condominiums in town during Presidents Day weekend compared to last year.
As of Jan. 31, lodging companies had booked about 78 percent of rooms for Saturday, Feb. 16, compared to 88 percent last year. That is according to the Chamber's occupancy report, which pools data from hotels, motels and condominiums that are members of the Steamboat Springs Lodging Association.
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Larry Mashaw, chairman of the Steamboat Springs Lodging Association, said the drop-in lodging reservations did not come as a surprise to him.
"We saw that coming some time ago," he said.
Mashaw pointed to the fact that people with an Ikon Base Pass — a cheaper, more restricted pass option — could not visit Steamboat Resort over Presidents Day weekend without buying a $199 lift ticket. The holiday constituted some of the base pass' blackout dates.
That occupancy report does not take into account close-to-arrival bookings at local units, which Mashaw said would slightly boost lodging rates for the holiday weekend. He added even those bookings would likely not bring Presidents Day lodging rates to last year's numbers.
Andrew Stoller, a manager at Ski Haus, noticed the ski gear and rental business saw fewer visitors from the Front Range during the holiday. Those guests tend to be Ikon passholders.
Instead, he saw more people from eastern and southern states. Those customers filled the gaps left by a lack of people with Ikon passes.
"I wouldn't say we saw a dip in business," Stoller said. "It just wasn't crazy."
Still, he saw a lot of customers come through Ski Haus’ doors during the holiday.
“Presidents Day weekend is always a pretty good weekend for us,” he said.
Stoller added overall business has been better this winter compared to last season, in part because of the new Ikon Pass.
"We've also had really good snow, which we haven't had the last couple of years," he added.
Cody Mertens, general manager for Ski Butlers in Steamboat Spring, said the Ikon blackout dates might have boosted business at his ski rental service.
"Our numbers were in line with what we were expecting," he said.
Mertens explained his clients tend to be guests who only stay in Steamboat for three to four days of the season and buy day passes. They usually do not carry an Ikon Pass and so would not be affected by the blackout dates.
"If anything, that probably bumped our numbers," Mertens said.