A mountain of money

Washington skiers negatively affected by corporations

by Ursula Stickelmaier, staff

As early as Thanksgiving you can hear the buzz among snowboarders and skiers as the upcoming ski season approaches. With ski resorts like The Summit at Snoqualmie, Crystal Mountain Resort, Stevens Pass Resort, and Mt. Baker Ski Area, there are many choices for anyone looking for a good time in the snow. These resorts have been known to offer hills that can work for both beginners and pros and provide a fun atmosphere for their guests.

But for the past couple seasons some skiers have noticed something start to change when it comes to some of these mountains. This change has been a drop in the number of people heading towards mountains such as Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain, both being bought by big corporate ski companies, such as Vail Inc. and Alterra Mountain Company, back in 2018.

Over time, some have noticed that runs aren’t open and tickets cost way more than they used to. “No one wants to work there so all the lifts are closed and the lines are longer because there isn’t anyone to operate the lifts,” says skier Liam Gallagher, sophomore.

by Eliana Megargee

Another issue is the rising cost of tickets due to inflation in the ski industry and complications with the ski season in the past years due to Covid-19. From day passes at the lower end of the price range to season passes on the higher side, the options are endless when it comes to buying a ticket at resorts like Stevens Pass and Crystal Mountain Resort. But with around half the mountain closed people aren’t always willing to pay for the full price of tickets. “You think that they’d at least adjust the prices a little bit for some of that stuff,” says Dane Polzin, sophomore. Currently passes cost between $89 to over $900 at Stevens and $90 to over $1,000 at Crystal. “These places don’t end up helping the places they buy like they say they are. They actually just end up making it more expensive,” says Matthias Jackels, sophomore.

And the problem goes back to the fact that these customers are paying for a ticket that doesn’t even get half the stuff it promises. “You’re paying full price for a ticket, but all you get is a little less than half the mountain,” says Polzin.

With all these problems popping up left and right, online petitions have been started to return Stevens Pass to the fully open resort it used to be and for Vail to refund all the money people spent on season passes this past season. Currently the petition “Hold Vail Resorts Accountable,” which can be found on change.org, has 45,271 signatures though Vail has yet to offer any real response to the petition that has quickly gained traction on the internet.

While attendance at mountains like Stevens and Crystal has gone down, there has seemed to be an uptick in the amount of people heading towards other local resorts such as Mt. Baker. “Places like Mt. Baker, they’ve pledged never to join a ski resort like that ever and they’re great. It’s one of the best mountains in Washington State,” says Jackels. For Shorewood skiers, and anyone looking to get a few more trips in the ski season, Mt. Baker may be the place to look.