With the start of ski season on the horizon, Liftopia is now offering consumers greater flexibility when booking their lift tickets. Following in the footsteps of the hotel and airline industries, the site has launched tiered dynamic pricing, a first for the ski industry. Until now, Liftopia, the largest online marketplace for advance-purchase lift tickets, has only allowed its customers to buy tickets for specific dates, with no refunds or date changes; the new pricing options cater to those who are budget-conscious or have unpredictable schedules, and also provide a smart way to deal with unpredictable weather conditions at mountain resorts.
Here’s how it works: Liftopia now offers three pricing tiers—Value, Value Plus, and Flexible—at participating mountains (out of the 250-plus North America resorts who sell through the site, an estimated 110 will be on board with the new pricing program soon). Value tickets offer the greatest savings (up to 85 percent off walk-up window rates), but they’re date-specific and cannot be rebooked. Value Plus tickets are slightly more expensive but allow for one change of date. Flexible tickets are the most expensive (though still reflect a discount on walk-up window rates), and allow for unlimited date changes during the season. Keep in mind that tickets in all three tiers are non-refundable and must be used during the 2014/2015 season. Also important to note: Changing dates for Value Plus and Flexible tickets is free of charge, but you will have to pay the price difference if you’re rebooking for a more expensive date.
So, how are the savings? At Mount Snow, during the week of Christmas, Value tickets start at $46.99 (48 percent less than the walk-up rate), Value Plus tickets start at $55.59 (38 percent discount), and Flexible tickets start at $60.59 (33 percent discount). At Killington, during President’s Day Weekend, Value tickets start at $76.99 (16 percent discount), Value Plus tickets start at $81.99 (11 percent discount), and Flexible tickets start at $86.99 (five percent off window rates.) All rates are based on availability and will change dynamically in accordance with Liftopia’s algorithm. It’s worth noting that non-holiday weekends and weekdays, as well as less-popular mountains, will see greater savings, even with the Flexible ticket option. As the program expands, keep an eye out for resorts that offer bundled packages including equipment rentals and meal vouchers.