Season Pass Controversy

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Seems as though the Crystal Mountain season pass holders are divided. Some look forward to the late-spring, early-summer season, while others are upset that their current passes will not be honored through these addition two months. The discussion on Facebook is getting heated. Below, I’ve cut and pasted our response to this discussion (partly written by me), because I want to hear what you all think. Even those that aren’t pass holders, I would love your feedback too. Or go to the FB page and post a comment there, too.

By now most of you are probably aware of Crystal Mountain’s plans to open for spring skiing in late-April, May and June (another benefit to having a direct base-to-summit gondola)!  However, with the recent comments from pass holders we’re reconsidering our decision to operate beyond April 17th.  For the past 8 years we’ve closed mid-April and that was it.  No spring skiing.

When we decided to extend the operations beyond just the winter season, we priced the new passes accordingly.  A bronze pass is going to cost $599 (was $549 this season) for unlimited skiing next winter and includes the 2011 extended-spring season.  Sweet, right?

Well we thought so, but some pass holders are upset that their passes don’t include the new late-spring season (even though it clearly stated in bold on the season pass terms of agreement and on the website that passes expire April 17, 2011).  It was not our intention to make anyone angry – we truly appreciate our pass holders and their loyalty.  It appears the perception is that a late-spring season should be included at no additional change.  So now we’re wondering, should we open back up for late-spring skiing?  Or if people aren’t willing to pay for it then maybe we should just end it on April 17th?

When a ski area sells a season pass, it’s offering a pre-sold piece of its income. At the same time, the ski area has to balance the relationship between that income and its expenses. This year’s pass prices were based on operating until mid-April. It is not possible to offer two more months of operating on the same planned revenue. This is a business after all. When you buy season’s tickets for the Seahawks or Mariners, and they go to the playoffs, pass holders must pay a HUGE premium for playoff tickets. We are only asking a small fee ($50 increase for Bronze pass), which includes late-spring and next winter.

When a ski area closes early—before the mid-April date—pass holders expect a credit (which we offered back in 2004-05). If you look back at that season, pass prices were $840 (much more expensive than the price offered now!), and pass holders received a 20% credit for the following season. The same logic is at play here. If Crystal is to extend its season, including the expense of running lifts, restaurants and other services, we will also need to off-set that with income. It’s not greed; it’s simple math.

At Crystal Mountain, we know that a ski area is a living thing. We have put far more money into the infrastructure than has ever been taken out. Just look around at the lifts, restaurants, jib park features, buildings, pavers, etc. and consider how many lift tickets must be sold to off-set that kind of cost.

So now we are re-considering the viability of our new late-Spring season. We feel we are offering a value worth paying for. However, perhaps that’s not the case.

If we restructured our season pass rates and program starting 2011-2012 and beyond, creating a DISTINCT separation between the seasons, we could sell passes for an entire season (from winter through summer), starting in the fall. That would mean that this spring, we would not sell or honor any season’s passes. However, if you consider this option, you will see that it is flawed, since the late-spring and summer seasons will vary from year to year, and if we pre-sell a pass that covers our late season, and we do not have the snowpack to cover it, our pass holders may have paid for something we couldn’t even offer.


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57 responses »

  1. Isn’t the easiest solution to just offer current season pass holders and extension at $50? That is essentially what you are doing for new pass purchasers. If the spring is only worth $50 on a season pass than let them buy it for that. If you are using it as a gimmick to force people into buying next years passes earlier than they might want to increase your cash flow (and I suspect this is what is happening) then the pass holders have a right to be pissed. How come it is $50 additional for next year pass buyers but this years have no option?

    • Bryce,
      I hear what you are saying. Since the spring pass prices (for those not purchasing next year’s pass) is $149, we felt that the $50 add on to next year’s pass would be well received. It is not a gimmick, as you say. However, ski areas always try to sell next year’s pass early in order to get through the monetary black hole of summer. Nothing new here.

      • Then why not just add the $50 dollar extension for current pass holders? That is the part that doesn’t make sense to me but I may be missing something. If they paid $549 last fall or summer and they pay $50 now it will total $599 for 2010/11 winter plus spring. The same as what you are offering people buying passes for next year. If you charge a current pass holder the $150 their effective pass price is $699 for something you are know offering for $599. That seems to treat current customers worse than new.

  2. Lot’s of resorts across the nation offer a spring pass seperate from their winter pass. It is not uncommon at all. I personally feel that Crystal Mountain is handling spring riding in the most appropriate way. For example, if you buy a pass to Mt. Hood for the winter, you still have to buy a spring/summer pass to ride when winter ends. Everyone who holds a pass knows this and accepts it. I hope that Crystal Mountain chooses to move forward with spring riding, not cancel the idea before it even gets off the ground. Some people just need to learn that they paid to ride until April 17th, not into June. Once they realise that, then paying for some extra riding time really is no big deal.

  3. First off: Thanks to you and CM for really listening to and considering feedback from guests, and engaging with us. Though I was disappointed about the pass fiasco, I was not one of the people to originally complain about it, but since you guys really seem to want to hear what’s up from people, I feel like it’s worth sharing my take – someone might actually consider it! Here is what I posted on the CM FB page:


    Hey CM, big Crystal fans here – you may recall the poem my daughter wrote about how much she loves CM, which you later posted on FB. Here is my heartfelt take on the situation: You SHOULD stay open for spring skiing. You have the terrain, now you have the infrastructure, you have the demand, and you really have no in-state competition. As for charging more for the spring season, I think that’s fair – in general. Here is the problem that I – and I expect most others – have with the current plan. You sort of surprised us right at the end of the season. If I had known about this at the end of the season BEFORE LAST when I bought my ultimate-peak-to-summit + gondola $900 season pass, that you’d be offering spring skiing that my epic pass wasn’t going to include, I might have made a different choice. Another thing to consider: Even as an ultimate passholder, during the opening days this season I had to make three trips up to the mountain to get my (temporary) pass because of the RFID switch, waiting in a long, slow line each time, while pay-by-the-day folks blew through and got first tracks. So I already felt a little burned as a passholder. So here is what I really hope you’ll consider: 1.) open for spring skiing, every season from now on; 2.) offer spring season at an extra charge for season passes (same season!); 3.) this being the first surprise season of spring skiing, grandfather us passholders in on it! Thanks for listening.

    P.S. my 11yo daughter really wants to be CM ski patroller when she grows up. How cool is that?

      • For real – that would be great. Hoping to make it up next week; let me know how to get in touch. However, her mother is probably the one you really need to talk to! 😉

        Also, what the other folks are saying about offering the $50 extension to current passholders sounds right in my mind. Even if somewhat semantical, it sends the message to passholders that CM’s got your back!

  4. I’m not currently a pass holder, but I really like the idea of CM staying open through the spring. And I think having a separate pass is a good way to go as well, since snowpack can be so unpredictable. Are there any plans to move some rail features over to the spring area?

    • Mark,
      At this point, the plan for the park is to stay open through the regular schedule (April 17th), but not to bring it all over to Green Valley. This is due, in part at least, to issues such as limited space, the right kind of terrain needed for the jibs (shallower slopes are better), and the pure fact that those rails are heavy and not very portable. Thanks for your feedback! We take all the comments both here and on FB into consideration.

  5. It’s simply a matter of perception. If the passholders knew at the time of purchase what they were buying, specifically that spring skiing was a possibility but not included in this pass, this would not have been an issue. When I bought the most expensive season pass I’ve ever purchased, I reasonably believed that I would be able to ski on it until the snow was gone. I had no idea in my mind that CM would, from my perspective, arbitrarily pick a time that it wasn’t valid. Hiding behind the terms of the agreement (i.e. small print) while entirely ignoring this now important fact in any of CM’s promotions was the bad move, just as is now calling this a different “season,” and saying things like you’ll just cancel spring skiing altogether if the passholders don’t like it.

    My fix suggestion? Offer the $50 pass increase for those that want it this year. Use promotional pricing ($600) for the next year’s passes until a short time after spring skiing closes this year, encouraging us to buy them early, and have it include next year’s spring skiing (hint: most everyone will happily purchase next year’s pass, you will sell very, very few $50 spring passes). If there isn’t enough snowpack for spring skiing next year, at that point offer a $50 credit towards the next (12/13) season’s pass (not money back) and make that option clear now, when we’re making the purchase, not after our options are gone. Solves your cash problems, eliminates the perception you’re taking advantage of passholders, and shows some good will towards passholders. Do the math – your cash flow will not be affected, but the perception of your current customers will be that you’re adding value, not taking money. It is so easy.

    This is a textbook example of bad marketing which causes people to look for reasons to spend their money elsewhere. Ultimately, it’s CM’s loss – short term cash for long-term loss of goodwill. Maybe the loss of customers will be small, but I’ll bet many of your passholders, like me, have already contemplated a pass at Stevens. If I have an already loyal customer base, why would I continually give them reasons to look elsewhere? CM has a lot of great attributes, don’t let poor decisions overshadow them.

  6. Keep the mountain open as long as possible. For those of us who buy passes every year, the spring pricing makes no difference. Everyone should expect that prices of passes will increase every year or so. It’s a good deal for $599. The only difference for perennial pass holders that we have to purchase them by April 17th rather than by May 31st to get the full benefit…

  7. As a season pass holder I was excited to hear about extending the season, but like many I too felt slighted at being charged full price for spring skiing. I hope to get a season pass for next year seeing I was deployed for the last half of this season. Now that you might be open for a few extra months I will be able to still ski before the snow is all gone. Being in the military makes it hard to commit $600 to a pass if I am going to be gone for half of it, but I go enough that I can justify it. In case I can’t get one I would be more at ease only spending $50 on top of the Gold pass I already bought. $150 is still a good deal for almost 2 months of possible skiing but as a pass holder I feel like maybe we should get some kind of a deal over the regular ticket buyers.

  8. I’m not a season pass holder at Crystal but I get the Summit pass with the 5 Crystal tickets. I’m planning on buying the spring pass if offered. Don’t listen to the whiners just do it. You may have some hurt feelings the first season but they’ll get over it and then you have set the standard. It’s not like these whiners are going to stop skiing at Crystal or anything…I was pretty stoked to hear that spring skiing was going to be an option this year! Just do it!!

  9. Seems reasonable to me. I understand why resorts give discounts for early season pass purchases. Ski resorts are a business. They still have cash flow needs, even when the lifts are not spinning in the winter. Maintenance, and marketing staff, etc. still need to be paid.

  10. Hello there,
    I have held a pass at Mammoth Mtn. in California for 4 years now. We do not distinguish between winter and spring – we call a “season” what it is – the operating time from Winter (Oct if we’re lucky, Thanksgiving if Ma Nature is holding back) – Spring (Which is often actually SUMMER – 4th of JULY, as last year and likely this year). If you hold a season pass, you ski/ride unlimited for 2010/2011 operations. If I were a Crystal pass holder, and you told me you were operating past 4/17 but I couldn’t hit your slopes, I would be mighty pissed off. I am the type of consumer who would consider a pass at another local resort, instead.

    Crystal’s addition of the Gondola, and attached pricing, has seemed out of line with the policies of other Premier Resorts in the U.S.. Vail – for example – does not distinguish a winter/spring season either, and EPIC pass holders can visit any of their 8 mountains in CO, UT, and CA until the season ends at each respective resort. These resorts also do not charge extra to use the Gondola for day pass purchasers, as Crystal has tried to do. My opinion is that you would be better served raising ALL ticket prices by about $3/day and including Gondi access as a non-negotiable part of the Crystal experience.

    You seem to be omitting a critical piece of logic in the argument to close just because you don’t want to extend access to pass holders. That piece being the DAY PASS crew, which makes up MUCH of your revenue, will continue generating additional cash flow. You will be selling many more day passes, at a higher profit ratio, the longer you stay open. Plus, offering NEW pass members access – that you are considering keeping from existing pass holders – could hurt loyalty. Especially with the awesome improvements happening at White Pass!

    I think it’s great that Crystal is expanding. It is my favorite place to ride when I am in WA, but you have a lot of local competition. IMO you should sell season passes and call it the 2010/2011 or 2011/2012 season, and operate based on Mother Nature’s offerings. That way, you don’t have to give refunds if the snow doesn’t come, and you don’t limit access when the season runs long.

    Thanks for encouraging the dialog ~ I hope that you decide to extend your season AND extend your 2010/11 current pass holder access. This is an excellent time to rethink your business plan.

  11. p.s. I should also include that I will have to renew my pass in April to get my MVP rate for 2011/12, but I will continue to use my 2010/11 pass until we close ~ whenever that may be. New members will have to purchase by 4/30, and can start using their pass on 5/1 – end of this season.

  12. Most resorts offer a “Season” pass that covers the ski season. Not the winter season or the spring season, but the ski season. Most skiers realize that snow is unpredictable and do not expect that the season start or stop at any pre-determined dates. Over several years, for both skiers and the resort, the numbers will wash in terms of days available to ski for the overall price of a “season pass.” I have personally never seen a mountain tell me my season pass is no longer valid even though the season is still going, and if Crystal does this, I think it is unfortunate. However, I plan to buy another season pass for next year so for me personally (and probably for most pass-holders) the issue is moot if you buy your 11-12 pass in the spring.

    I think this year and every year into the future, a season pass should be valid from opening to closing of the “ski season.”

  13. Well, when you buy a season ticket, you buy it in accordance to the terms, and not knowing if the season is going to be a good one or not. You could get to the mountain 10 times you could get there 30, some seasons the weather cooperates much better than others. My question is; what is the difference in paying for your pass a few months early if the whole next season is included? I am stoked and think that this is the best news I’ve heard all week! Please don’t waste all this amazing snow! Let us ride until June! We’ve all been waiting for snow like this, and now no one is willing to shell out for their pass early? Well I will! And so will my husband! Please stay open!

  14. In any business, it is a fine line you must walk when you offer something new after someone has purchased the old option. From a business standpoint, you would be better off extending their season pass through spring for free or at a cost less than $50. It is not about making sure they pay the going rate at this point, it is about maintaining the clientele that you have, rather than pissing them off and losing their business for good. The aim should be to turn a profit on non season pass holders for spring season. If you revoke the spring season on account of season pass holders fussing about the price, then you ultimately lose the opportunity to make ANY money off of anyone else throughout that period of time. In such a case, you have lost out on an opportunity, and potentially alienated some of your loyal pass holders.

  15. So the year now runs spring-to-spring. You still get one full year out of your season pass. I for one am stoaked to spend May and June weekend on the slopes. Think about the views, the sun, the slushy bumps, a cold beer outside the summit house, I could go on and on. My kids are excited about the opportunity for spring Free Ride and more fun with friends. Please stay open!! I’ll gladly buy next years pass early.

  16. I will gladly buy next years Bronze Pass before April 17th. I think that it’s a great deal as it’s presented. I won’t miss the quad pass logistics boogie. I’ll look forward to great spring skiing and riding the Gondola to the best mountain scene (lift served) around. A great year to be in the mountains.

  17. Let me get this straight…

    CM decides it wants to extend the season. Great! Love to ski. Want to ski more. The pricing is weird. But that quickly became the background issue to me. It’s the communication piece that sticks in my craw. This new “season” was never really communicated to the season pass holders. (How about an email? A postcard? A poster?) You learned about it from the controversy on FB or if you just stumbled across it on the web site.

    Season Pass Holder Blow back.

    Then comes CM acting like Cartman. “Screw you guys. I’m going home.” OR “The Season Pass Holders are Endangering CM from extending the season in the Spring. Aren’t they selfish little greedy things?”

    So again, let me get this straight. CM will pull the plug on opening up for their “spring season” because people are raising concerns? Your business model is based on Facebook posts? Your research and cash flow models (that I’m assuming you did earlier this year and last year) have changed? You’ll tell the employees you already committed to staying open later that you changed your mind?

    Bologna.

    You’re trying to deflect. Blame the customers while say you’re listening. You’ve seen the posts. “Don’t listen to the whiners. STAY OPEN!” Funny. No Season Passholder ever questioned staying open longer. Everyone agrees. Yes more skiing. So, are you really listening? Or deflecting and trying to quash open dialogue?

    If this had been communicated effectively, the whiners (me included) would have been dancing in the lift lines. WE WANT TO SKI. I’d be telling everyone I know how cool this is and making plans. Instead you threaten not open at all. (That’ll teach ’em is what I read.)

    Communicate. Talk to us. Do a freaking survey. At least give us the perception that we aren’t just pockets for you to dig into, because that is what this blow back is about. Feeling like CM doesn’t give a crap about your season pass holders. BTW. This is not a new feeling. And it isn’t hard to fix. Be upfront. Be honest. (See Dave’s post above.) Take care of your loyal people.

    This should have been a happy announcement. But the communication has been bungled. Again. Kind of like charging extra to ride the gondola. (Are you the only ski area in the developed world that charges extra to ride a gondola?) Don’t even get me started on that.

    But, let’s give CM the benefit of the doubt for a second. What if this announcement that you “might not open for the spring season” really is not bologna. Is this how you make business decisions?

  18. Maybe doing a refund when there was no snow set the wrong expectation. That an early purchase pass means a guarantee of snow or good health to use it. Won’t individual tickets sales cover the operating costs of staying open? CM does not make “profit” off season tickets sales when people really “use” them anyway. Also, the additional charge to ride the gondola is ridiculous. For “walk ons” charge it- but a $67 ski pass should more than cover that ride. Isn’t it’s purpose to attract summer visitors to the mtn to help cover costs of summer month maintenance? Charge them $20 pp and keep your skiers happy. I agree some handling of “marketing/ media” choices by CM really do more damage than good….ie closing the mtn to skiers because there were so many motor homes filling the parking lots that no full fare purchasers could come spend their money! BUT Bottom line- you will always fail if you try to make everyone happy…just take care of your loyal income stream and cover those years when we have no snow and every season pass holder is kicking their rear that they had hope of another great year!

    • Tawna,
      Good points. Season pass pricing isn’t an exact science. However the revenue from passes really help during the lean months. In regards to the full parking lots, did you mean to say that was a marketing /media choice? Obviously, that was a parking issue, not marketing choice. I know that the mobile homes take up room in B Lot, and we’ve tried to find ways to mediate that. Perhaps putting them in F Lot would work. However, when the lots fill up, F Lot does too, and so I’m not sure that would solve the problem. I will tell you that on that busy day this season when we had to turn cars around at the bottom of the boulevard, we also gave them vouchers for another day. Plus, we parked every last car possible (including filling my driveway with cars), and even without the mobile homes, we still would have been a little shy on parking.
      Now that we’ve decided to stay open this spring, let’s hope for sunny days and plenty of corn skiing!

  19. Normally this would be considered still the 2010-2011 season at a mountain so it is new territory to say next year’s pass is late spring 2011-2012. Then if you do it next year you will have to do it again. Since it is based on snow pack and this is the first year having current passholders pay $50 for the extended season is the fair thing to do. Making them pay for next year’s pass now is not a reasonable request nor is charging them single day tickets each time they go up in the late season.

  20. So, the bronze is going up by $50 next year no matter what. Toss in the free Spring skiing makes it worth the price, but I suggest that you consider tossing in a voucher, or two or three, free upgrades to the gondola for next year. This would be… priceless.
    We have paid the extra $8 daily numerous times to ride the gondola this season. We remember that a year ago the gondola was not much more than a rumor.
    Thanks for your family’s committment. A lot of investment has been made this year. And all of it is appreciated by those of us who have anticipated each and every expansion planned.

  21. I think we should just have the $50 extension fee. Please don’t close in April! There is always so much snow left! Stay open!!!

  22. I am super excited for the spring season at Crystal. The only people who should possibly be upset are those who bought a season pass this year and will not be buying one again. I would guess that the majority of your pass holders buy a season pass every year, so it makes no difference whether the spring season is covered on the 10-11 or 11-12 pass. Another reason for the blow back might be that it is uncommon elsewhere for spring passes to replace winter passes. (Look within the Boyne family — Sugarloaf, Maine stays open ’til may with no new pass required.) What seems to be missing from the Facebook rhetoric is that season passes are significantly cheaper than they used to be, even with the gondola upgrade. Hopefully the first spring season will be a success and everyone will get used to buying their season passes in April. One more thing, is there going to be a Boyne Unlimited pass for next season?

    • Peter,
      Thanks for your comments. Yes, there will be a Boyne Unlimited. Stay tuned to the website for specifics. Keep in mind that setting season pass prices takes a tremendous amount of time, plus all the little details that need to be sussed out. Just see all the comments here and on FB about those details that need to be hammered out. I agree that most pass holders continue buying from year to year. And I hope that once this late-season option gets under way, people will see the logic. If we charge for a long season (and don’t enough snow to stay open past mid-April), pass holders will be rightfully upset to pay for something that doesn’t come to fruition. And yes, the pass prices are about $250 LESS than five years ago, so a significant improvement there.
      Best,
      Kim

  23. Please stay open! We are founders and dont know what that means for us but dont care! Just Stay open…also open for all of spring break..april 18th!

  24. I am all for an extended season, and so are many others. I think, for this season,.an added 50 dollars sounds fair for those who have not purchessed the gondola upgrade, and included for those who did. As sor the years to come, I think a season pass should be just that, we don’t pay more or less when CM opens early ( before thanksgiving), so why charge more when staying open late, a season should be from enough snow to open to not enogh snow to operate. So raise the price 50 to 75 dollars and call it a snow season pass. and from here out charging extra for the gondola should end. Other resorts don’t charge extra for the use of their gondolas, look at Silver Mt. in Idaho, you cant go skiing without thier gondola.

    • Michael,
      I hear you. The decision to charge extra for the gondy was due to all the complaints from people not wanting to pay for it. I know. This seemed odd to us too. Why wouldn’t skiers and riders want improvements at their ski area? Well, I don’t know. So we gave people the option. Ride it and pay, or don’t ride and pay last year’s ticket prices (with the go-card). Also, if we charge for an all-year pass, and don’t stay open past mid April, we will disappoint pass holders that way too.
      Thanks for you feedback.

  25. Although technically the contract said the pass expired 4/17, at that time you were also saying the mountain would close on 4/17. I suspect most people expected that a season pass would last until whenever you actually closed. It would help a little to, in the future, say (again in bold) that passholders will have to buy tickets to ski beyond 4/17 if you stay open. You could also assuage passholders by offering them a spring upgrade for $50. Most will probably just buy next year’s pass anyway (and you’re wise to encourage that by including this spring), but offering a $50 extension will keep you on good terms with people who, for whatever reason, don’t want/need a 2011-12 pass. Hopefully they’ll bring friends, buy food, and remain fans of Crystal, and that should be worth the few dollars you’ll lose by doing that. (And I’m saying this even though I don’t have a pass myself.)

    • Bruce,
      Good point. What has become obvious here is that pass holders weren’t aware of the potential “end” of the winter season. Even though the wording was in the original pass agreement, we failed to properly communicate this elsewhere. We still feel that offering the late-spring season only when we KNOW we’ll have enough snow seems the best method. That way, if we run out of snow in April, we won’t have a line of unsatisfied pass holders beating down the doors.

  26. As a passholder and employee of ski school, we would all love very much to extend the season! In my mind, ski season is over when the snow melts in August… but the mountain gets pretty empty once the lifts close. It’s all about the community at Crystal for me… keep the good times rollin’!

    • Jennifer,
      I second that! That Crystal community dries up after the lifts close, and this year I hope that changes. I’m looking forward to sunglass skiing, hawaiian shirts and goggle tans!

  27. I am still trying to figure out why some people got mad. I have been wishing for for spring skiing since I came back to Crystal, having grown up skiing there. Your plan is reasonable. What the naysayers miss is that Spring skiing isn’t necessarily profitable. While a lot of us love it, there is a lot to do in the area and many will put away the skis and get out the bikes or backpacks. I understand that you need more steady reliable income and getting seed money to make it through the summer is critical, especially when you are making lists of much appreciated improvements.

    Can’t wait for the Spring skiing. I have three passes that will be there!

  28. Pingback: « Another View on Extending the Ski Season

  29. I think what CM is offering is more than reasonable and am confused why people are complaining. Im assuming these are the same folks that complained about the gondola in the first place. Additional upload capacity that you can even opt out of paying for and enjoy your shorter lift lines on Chinoook and REX free of charge. Or pay a few dollars more and enjoy a quick enclosed cabin right to the top. Sounds like a deal to me.

    When I purchased my seasons pass this year I had no reason to expect skiing into the summer and felt I wasn’t paying for anymore than a typical season length dictated by recent CM season and the seasons of similar PNW resorts. The people complaining are expecting you to offer a service they cant find anywhere else in Washington, and they are wanting it free of charge. As much as that would be great, it doesn’t sound reasonable.

    Additionally as people have mentioned it is standard industry practice to break up the winter and late spring/summer passes.

    Resorts all over the country close their doors every year with tons of snow left and probably with good reason, making what you guys are doing that much more special. Keep up the good work Crystal!

    • Mike,
      Thanks for the support. Glad to know the message is getting out there. Communication with customers is often the biggest struggle–even with FB and the website and all the work Tiana and the others in Marketing do–it still seems that some never get it. Or perhaps they do, and it’s not the message they want to hear. Who knows.

  30. Kim,
    Due to my work schedule I did not purchase a seasons pass but plan to this year. I would gladly pay an additional charge every spring if the condition were right for an extended season. I understand the cost of keeping the mountain open an people employed. I am from the Greenwater/Enumclaw area and have many friends who depend on those jobs and would love to see all of them working as long as possible. Crystal Mountain is a great place and I love the direction it is taking. Great job everyone.

    • Theresa,
      That’s great. Thanks for the support. Crystal just announced that, due to such vehement support, we WILL run a late-spring season. So don’t put the boards away just yet…

  31. I got very excited when I saw on the CM website that, for $850 (plus tax), I could get full week snowboarding at Crystal next winter, plus some kind of snowboarding at Snoqualmie, plus weekend snowboarding at Crystal this spring, possibly until June! I immediately set about scheming how to afford it, and how to make sure my future work schedule would make it all worthwhile.

    I also was dismayed to see that my current Bronze Pass would expire in a month. Then I shrugged, because it would be moot if I found a way to pay for next winter’s pass. And if I didn’t, well, maybe we’d fork over the $300 or so it would cost for the four of us to make one last trip up in May. (Or maybe not, since that would be money that could be going toward next winter’s passes… I didn’t realize at first that we’d also need to buy the Gondola ticket to get up to the snow.)

    Mostly, I agree with Dave above; and to a degree with Kate. But, I think it’s great that you’re paying attention to your customers’ thoughts and feelings in the matter (i.e., noticing the Facebook controversy, which I confess I hadn’t noticed; and soliciting feedback (or maybe blowback) here on your blog), rather than just hunkering down or, worse yet, smothering us in marketeering expertise to change our minds for us.

    Over the years, I’ve noticed that communication is somehow one of the most difficult things we humans try to do with each other. I guess it went a bit badly this time — earlier and more prominent notice (on the CM website, and the various social media outlets, and heck, I don’t know, maybe radio ads or something) of the upcoming pass expiration (plus the new options for spring skiing — hooray!) would have prevented some of the controversy. And when I went back to look at next winter’s pass options, for inspiration in my scheming, there was a puzzling lack of info on the CM website… you guys should probably try not to do that kind of thing. At least put up a notice that next year’s pricing is being reviewed, and stay tuned; don’t just leave a void that has me searching the whole site to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating the whole thing… Anyway, I guess this was bobbled a bit. Live and learn; don’t let it get you down. I’m glad CM is there, and even if we don’t find a way to afford passes next year, I’m sure we will in the future.

    • Mike,
      Thanks for your feedback. Sorry to hear you had a tough time navigating the website. We will work to remedy this in the future. Our goal was never to be confusing or obtuse. Instead, we didn’t know until quite recently if we’d have enough snow to run a late-spring season. We always knew the gondy would allow us to run in the summer, but weren’t sure if we would be skiing too.

  32. Use your seasons pass in the time frame allotted to it’s maximum affect and maybe paying the extra for spring boarding will not make you whine so much! my lift tickets end up about $17 ea. if I average it out. next year will be even better with this springs days included in that equation. Good incentive too buy next years passes ASAP.

  33. I was and have been for many years that the cut off was mid April. No surprise or anger here, please do it. I am willing to pay $50 to have my pass extended for the rest of the season into summer. I would rather have the pricing done this way than paying a higher amount for a 365 day (November to November) season pass because I would feel I am paying for late spring skiing whenever the snow pack will not allow it, (paying for something I am not getting). In other words keep it as it is, (cut off April 17) and when there is an extended season charge the $50 upgrade. I think it was 1971/72 when Crystal opened about October 18th and closed July 23. My pass was good that entire time. Your many oldtimers remember this and that may cause some of the emotions. Each spring I wrestle with whether or not I will buy a season pass for the coming year. Between backcountry skiing, Whistler deals, vacations to other resorts and the Shell discount tickets it is often close to a wash for me to buy a pass. Now that I am soon to retire I am thinking about that $569 Vail pass that is also good for several other Colorado areas as well as one in Salt Lake and Heavenly Valley. I may be shifting my skiing south for significant amount of time. I still will likely want to ski at Crystal for some of the time, though.

    Eric

  34. Hello Kim,
    Perhaps you could clarify to me why the Silver Midweek pass is not included in this Spring season. Every year my husband and I buy early. But, why are we not included on the Thursdays and Fridays, especially if the gondola is additionally purchased? You do not extend any courtesy to the loyal midweekers that buy lunch every day( as we do), buy coffee and drinks, purchase at the ski shop, ect. You ignore us in all of this. I quess you figure we receive enough compensation already and so do not factor us in. Please extend the season on the midweek days of operation to us early buyers of Silver passes. PLEASE??????

  35. Jan,

    The reason the Silver Midweek pass does not include spring skiing is simply because of the price. We did not raise the price on this pass, it’s the same as it has been for the past two years. To get more, you have to pay more. Each pass is a step up in price and privileges. If you wish you include spring skiing the Bronze pass is the best option for only an additional $100. We do appreciate our midweek pass holders, which is why we’ve kept the price so attractive over the years. At the spring special price the midweek pass is paid for in less than 8 visits and most midweek pass holders have that paid for in two week or less. If you plan to ski two or more times after April 17th I suggest you consider purchasing the Bronze pass, which also gets you weekends next winter! Thanks for your questions and comments.

    Tiana Enger
    Marketing Director

  36. While I’ve skied many years at Crystal, this is the first season I am purchasing a season pass and my wife included. To me, price was not as important as what we get from your service staff. Except for your ski patrol staff, all your cusomer service staff needs to be better trained. When I had questioned about the season pass issues to your cusomter service manager, she simply said, if I am not happy with the pass, she would refund it and don’t come to Crystal. That is not how you do the business to retain customers. You also need to look at the customer demographics when considering your customer training program. You will notice your customers look very different than 10 years ago. If you really want to become a world class resort , you must consider providing world class service.

    Fred

    • Fred,
      I’m sorry you had a bad experience. Hopefully this was resolved for you. We try to offer good customer service at Crystal. If you feel you didn’t receive the care you needed, please fill out a customer comment form. These are all taken very seriously.

  37. Pingback: Stevens Extends Season, But Charges Passholders $100 | Seattle Ski Blog

  38. Pingback: Seven Springs Re-Opens the Right Way for Skiers & Marketing : Ski Resort Marketing - SlopeFillers.com

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