(Mt. Crested Butte) Crested Butte Ski Resort has big plans to increase season pass sales this winter. In what many are calling a quick fix response to lower lift ticket prices across the industry, the ski giant will give away trips, gear and appliances with the purchase of a pass between now and mid-December.

For example: If a prospective season pass holder buys what amounts to a Gold Pass, by industry standards he could receive, absolutely free, a microwave oven or a television set. A lower commitment would then net a toaster or a weekend in Grand Junction.

“We feel that this gesture puts another human face on the ski industry as a whole,” said Exhale T. Hollandaise, one of over 400 vice-presidents here. “Our marketing budget is already stretched way out of proportion by June and this incentive concept should relive some of the pressure. This is progressive. This is cutting edge marketing right out of the box!”

All the other VPs were busy E-mailing each other and could not comment on these developments.

One local skier, Marcia McQuiggly-Mogul, received a pair of goggles and some sun screen when she purchased season passes for her family.

“Those were some damned expensive goggles,” she frowned, “but of course the price does include four months of skiing.”

A drop in season lift ticket prices at nearby Monarch seems to have precipitated the move toward more lucrative options. Also, a well-guarded drop in skier days is said to have prompted the decision here at CBMR.

“We’re canning the circus bigtop approach, and instead giving our bread and butter skiers a gift at the ticket window,” tactfully whispered marketing ace, Angela Wahoo.

Unreliable sources at the Grand Butte/Marriott/Club Med/Bates Hotel say that facility will reserve all incentive packages for their less motivated employees who often forget to come to work, unless it happens to be payday.

Whether or not these dubious approaches will revolutionize the one-horse sideshow remains to be seen, but already hundreds of skiers are walking away from the ticket window loaded down with everything from insulated gloves to digital clock radios. Some will be put to good use in homes and hotel rooms while most will be sold on the thriving black market down in Gunnison.

Meanwhile over in ultra-trendy Vail, prices will remain high unless there’s no snow and then they will miraculously drop to almost nothing. (Don’t forget: Two bank/investment references are required to ski the back bowls on weekends – Just ask your broker to file Form 445-3ADB with the business office). In Aspen, where a registered pedigree, and often  real estate license, doubles as a lift ticket. “Just put it on my room”, well-heeled skiers say, generally donating awards such as trips, gear and appliances to the indigent over in No Name, before getting on the chairlift.

“The days of the dirt bag winter sports enthusiast are over,” said Wahoo. “Today’s skier/snowboarder is looking for instant gratification, you know the full tilt experience without fighting the hordes on the slopes. He doesn’t mind paying a little more money for a little more thrill and that includes walking away with a new toaster oven or a DVD player.”

In a related piece, LaPlata County authorities have arrested three New Mexico men who attempted to buy a case of season passes with food stamps. Although at first thrown in jail, the three have been bailed out and adopted by employee-desperate restaurants here. They will reportedly start work Friday.

– Kashmir Horseshoe

Filed Under: Featured Peeks


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