Sales for next year’s season passes are beginning earlier and earlier, with competition slicing prices to the bone. But one Idaho resort has decided that enough is enough.
Four years of low snow, a 50 percent drop in skier visits and mounting financial losses have all forced Bogus Basin management to abandon one of the lowest season ticket prices in the West.
The nonprofit Idaho mountain recently announced that, during its annual February season pass sale, Bogus’ iconic $199 season pass will now cost $299. After that, the price incrementally increases to $499 Oct. 1.
“It was a necessity (and) really wasn’t a choice if we wanted to continue to operate a viable business,” said General Manager Brad Wilson. “I can’t think of another business that’s had the same revenue for 18 years with the increasing costs of doing business. ... Really, we revolutionized the ski industry when we dropped to that $199 pass. Everybody else (who emulated that) continued to bump up prices to the point where the vast majority of season passes are well above the $299 price.”
Mounting debt for the nonprofit located less than an hour from downtown Boise finally forced Bogus Basin’s overseers to raise the price. For the past 18 years, the 2,600-acre day-trip mountain has run the $199 sale; the price moved up $30 in 2003-2004, but went back to $199 the next season.
Several privately held Idaho resorts followed Bogus Basin’s lead – for a while. Tamarack Resort, which is a two-hour drive from Boise, is now at $299 for its February sale, after the resort has emerged bankruptcy. Brundage Mountain near McCall joined the discount trend in 2001-2002, but has slowly raised its sale price to $349.
Photo: The sun sets on Bogus Basin's $199 season pass (Bogus Basin/Facebook)