Our co-founder and CEO Evan Reece recently joined the Next Level Skiing Podcast with Jason Blevins and Wagner Skis to discuss all things lift ticket related: from the reason Evan started Liftopia.com to how different lift ticket and season pass options cater to various behaviors.
Here’s a tidbit: Wonder what makes skiers so unique, and what that implies for the ski industry? “It takes so much work to become a skier,” says Evan. “You have to be somewhat adventurous, which means you are going to constantly seek new experiences. And that’s sort of baked into a benefit that the ski industry has relative to the travel industry in [that they can adopt their own unique] pricing and distribution practices.”
Listen to the podcast to learn what those pricing and distribution practices are, why these practices are particularly innovative to the ski industry – and to learn which ski areas at which Evan wishes he could spend more time.
More topics from the podcast, below:
2:44: Why Evan co-created Liftopia in 2005 – and why no one had innovated online lift ticket sales earlier. “If you look at the travel industry, a lot of people book their tickets in advance with travel agents. And so the behavior existed, and the technology changed. In the ski industry, the behavior didn’t really exist. And because they didn’t buy in advance, this led the industry to believe that they wouldn’t buy in advance,” says Evan
7:10: The way discounted lift tickets used to be sold. “When you look at the way discounted lift tickets used to be sold, like at ski shop, that really did more to drive consumers into ski shops than it did to drive beneficial behaviors for ski areas. And so, what we saw is that the way they were selling their products was inefficient. We wanted to help them reduce operations risk and increase profits over time,” says Evan.
8:05: How a season pass affects a business over time, and what the typical behavior is from consumers who buy season passes. “The season pass is a statement of loyalty for buyers… but skiers are adventurous and they’re likely to be disloyal – because they want to try something new,” says Evan.
16:00: Which tickets to buy (and why), and why people tend to switch season passes from year to year.
19:02: What you’re really looking for when you buy a certain lift ticket or pass. “We as skiers love to find new experiences. What I get more and more is less ‘Which pass should I buy?’ and more ‘Which ski area should I go to?’ Ultimately, what people are seeking is value. If you’re not looking for a season pass, you might be looking for an area that’s less crowded or some culture or culinary newness,” says Evan.
25:29: How low prices of season passes have led to increasing costs to entering the sport. This also begs the question, how do ski resorts cater to their existing, core user base while also welcoming new consumers?
28:28: Advice for planning a trip, and how ski areas will award your commitment across the spectrum.
34:20: Great ski areas to visit. “If I lived on the East Coast, I would be spending a heck of a lot more time in Europe because the return on your money for going skiing is tremendous,” says Evan – partly because the cost of skiing is much lower than in the US., and also for the culture and culinary experiences themselves.
35:34: Efficiency in how ski areas are pricing and selling their products… “The only way to get someone who’s never skied before to buy a season pass is if that pass is less expensive than a day pass.”
39:18: The changing definition of the core or die-hard skier 25 years ago and within the next 25 years.