Both Vail and Whistler have devised and refined a business that keeps income as constant as the weather is variable. It comes down to two smart hedging strategies. Strategy One: Own the skiers. Strategy Two: Own the mountain.
“Some people think we’re crazy,” Katz said. “After all, one day’s lift ticket is $100, and some of these people will ski 30 days, or 40 days.” Why would Vail give its most die-hard skiers a 90% discount? Because, they own the mountain. Vail and Whistler make half their money from lodging, rentals, snow school, and food.
From a ski-nomics perspective, less competition insulates a stable and growing industry. As skier visits rise annually, Whistler and Vail can afford to raise ticket prices by a tick above inflation knowing that there’s no chance of disruptive competition from a new entrant.