In a blog on how next season is going to look at one of the world’s highest altitude ski areas, Alan Henceroth, COO of Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, says that even when the pandemic has ended, some of the changes made will continue.
Two of the main changes that will be staying is a lower limit on the number of people on the slopes and the need to buy tickets in advance online, there’ll be no return to physical tickets.
“We have experienced a tumultuous and uproarious few years at Arapahoe Basin. From major expansions to pass partner changes to 4th of July skiing to the pandemic, we have not slowed down for a second. It has been challenging, fun, difficult, crazy and weird all at the same time. Throughout it all, we have focused on making the A-Basin experience the best it could possibly be,” said Mr Henceroth.
“Moving forward to the 2021-22 season, we are taking more major steps to preserve the culture and vibe. COVID forced us to learn in a few months what probably would have taken us five years to learn otherwise. Next season we are going to continue to restrict our pass and ticket visits. While reservations will not be required for our season pass holders, we are going to limit the number of passes that we sell. In fact, we are going to sell 10% fewer unrestricted passes next season than we did this season. On top of that, we will continue to limit the number of lift tickets sold each day and all tickets must be purchased online and in advance. No lift tickets will be sold on site. We anticipate selling out of weekend lift tickets on a regular basis,” Mr Henceroth continues.
The thinking, he says, is that even without virus fears, a critical factor for a successful ski day is keeping crowd size down and skiers and riders spread out.
“For decades, a key strategy for us was to keep adding more and more skiers. That is no longer the case. We are actively working to reduce the number of skiers on weekends and holidays. We have learned so much since COVID forced us to hit a daily target of skier numbers. Next season we will continue a similar strategy. Our target will be to have a “comfortable” level of skiers each day. Our ticket inventories and pricing will directly reward midweek skiing over weekend skiing. By knowing how many people to expect each day, we can do a better job running the place. We will measure success by reducing parking challenges, keeping lift lines and other service lines short and by observing smiling skier faces,” Mr Henceroth adds.