Eaglecrest looks to gauge public opinion about the cost of skiing

Ski area will conduct online survey about possible price increase

Posted: Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Eaglecrest Ski Area wants to know how much skiers and snowboarders will pay to ride the lifts this winter.

The ski area will conduct an online survey this month to gauge the public's perspective on the costs of skiing in Juneau.

An adult season pass cost $349 last year, and $299 during the 2006-07 season.

Ski area managers would like to raise the price to $399, but because of the slow economy and inflation, General Manager Kirk Duncan said he is unsure how to set pricing.

Retaining last year's pricing, or even lowering it, are options, he said.

"There are a lot of worried people out there right now, and skiing and snowboarding is a discretionary sport," Duncan said. "We need to figure out how to provide value to residents of Juneau and still keep our commitment to the Assembly to run an economically feasible business."

Inflation will drive up costs to operate the city-owned ski area this year, Duncan said. In particular, he listed the higher cost of diesel fuel as a contributing factor.

The ski area sold about 2,100 season passes last year.

The price of a lift ticket also is in question. A one-day lift pass cost $35 last year and $32 the year before.

Alyeska Resort charges $55 for a day pass. A season pass to the ski area near Anchorage costs $1,080 if purchased before the end of August and $1,210 after that.

Eaglecrest operations are subsidized by the city's general fund at a price of about $600,000 annually.

The price for a junior-senior pass at Eaglecrest, at $299 for youth in grades seven through 12, also could change, Duncan said, while children's passes are likely to remain the same. A preschool-aged child can ski for $49, and passes for children in elementary grades cost $149.

Adults and junior-seniors make up 70 percent of the area's clientele, Duncan said.

The survey will be available through a link on the area's Web site (www.juneau.org/eaglecrest) on Aug. 15. Survey responses will be collected for two weeks, then analyzed before season passes go on sale on Sept. 15.

Duncan estimated the survey will take about 15 minutes to complete.

• Contact reporter Kim Marquisat 523-2279 or e-mail kim.marquis@juneauempire.com.

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