Every year for the past ten years, Wells Fargo has teamed up with Winter Park and Copper Mountain to offer two Rocky Mountain Super Passes for the price of one to any person who opens a new checking account. However, this year, the offer is no longer available.
Many Colorado college students and ski bums alike have expressed their disappointment with the discontinuation of the passes. No longer will people be able to split the cost of a ski pass to enjoy the knee-deep powder Colorado’s ski season seems to offer every year.
Mark Stratford, CSU student and self-declared “shredder of the gnar,” has expressed his concern with the extinction of the two-for-one Rocky Mountain Super Pass.
“It’s nice for a college student to get this discount because some people don’t have enough money to afford a season pass normally, and now they could,” Mark says.
Over the past few decades, ski resorts have substantially increased their prices. The price of lift tickets have doubled if not more in the last 20 plus years, making the sport harder and harder to fund for students like Mark Stratford. Many people are discouraged by the price of skiing and riding in Colorado, resulting in lower numbers in the lift lines. An average day in Copper Mountain can cost upwards of $140, not including ski and board rentals, lunch or cost of gas. With such a high price for just one day at a ski resort, it makes sense for regulars to purchase a season pass. The Copper, Winter Park, and Wells Fargo offer was the most affordable pass for skiers and riders available.
I’ve been a regular at Keystone and Arapahoe Basin since I started skiing at age five. When I heard about the offer from Wells Fargo for Winter Park and Copper Mountain, I was more than willing to trade my usual Local Season Pass for the Rocky Mountain Super Pass. Since the deal is no longer available, Copper and Winter Park have now lost my business as a new season pass holder and I will continue riding at Keystone and A-Basin.
The point of the Rocky Mountain Super Pass offer was to generate more business for both Wells Fargo and the ski resorts. With the discontinuation of the deal, Wells Fargo has lost the potential for new account holders and the resorts have lost new season pass holders.
The deal allowed new customers to try out skiing and riding at a new location for half of the price, creating the potential for customers to continue purchasing season passes at the resorts for future years to come. For CSU student and “pow-slayer” Ryan Ernst, he will continue to ride at Winter Park because he was able to experience the resort thanks to the pass he got through Wells Fargo last year.
“It’s tough to afford ski passes as a college student, but thanks to other student discounts available, I am still able to ride at Winter Park. I really like the resort,” Ryan said.
To suspend the pass was bad business on behalf of the resorts and Wells Fargo. Ski resorts have become increasingly more commercialized, and a sport for those with the resources to participate. Season pass holders generate much of the revenue for resorts, yet are taken advantage of by the continuous increase in pass prices. Ski resorts know that they can keep racking up the cost because of ski bums’ addiction to “the stoke.” The Wells Fargo deal had finally cut skiers and riders a break, and now we are back to paying the full amount for passes.
The point is, season pass holders are the resorts’ most loyal customers and they should be treated as such, whether that be a cheaper pass offered through a bank or not. For this season, I’ll be banking at First National and riding the backside of Keystone, for much cheaper.
Collegian Columnist Bridgette Windell can be reached at email@example.com, or on Twitter @Bridgette_Rae.