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A season pass for non-skiers? Well played, Snowbasin.

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There is a ton of innovation going on with beginner products which is completely awesome.

I’m going to talk about one today that I’ve noticed mainly because, well, it’s happening down the street from me at Snowbasin.

It’s called Learn & Earn, and what’s awesome about it is two fold:

  • It’s a great package for beginners.
  • It’s on sale now…for next season.

Let’s take those one at a time.

A Great Package
The idea of “all inclusive” is, to use a rhyme, elusive.

But this package gets a few free meals sky of that concept for beginners. Take a look.


Marketing usage of “FREE” aside, it’s a package that includes:

  • *A season pass.
  • A season rental
  • Three lessons to get you started.

That asterisk represents the fine print that you have to complete all three lessons to snag that season pass (hence the “earn” part).

The price is $399. The value within that price may not be readily apparent to the average beginner (though I’d be tempted to show some math to clarify), but we all know that’s a pretty good deal.

Buy Now
What’s awesome about it though, and what has me most excited, is that as a package, as something that’s not date-specific, as a product that has everything you need to have as successful a first season on snow as possible, they can start selling it now.

And they are. What this and the EpicPass and 4-packs do is create opportunities to lock in revenue and loyalty from now just loyal locals, but the full spectrum of demographics during the entire off season. Which is awesome.

The traditional season pass has long since proven itself, Vail really brought to prominance the idea of a destination season pass, and now we have something else: the never-evers season pass.

It carries the same attributes – earn season revenue, better deal than buying as you go, etc. – but is something that can be marketed, somewhat paradoxically, to people who have never skied a single day in their life.

Close Eye
This is one I’m going to keep a close eye on.

If we’re honest, a program like this will probably take 5+ years to dial in terms of language and distribution and visuals, so I hope that Snowbasin sticks with it for a while and gives it a chance to pivot a few times to fit that right fit in the market.

As is, though, I love the direction, I love the concept, and I love the effort to turn more Utahns into skiers.

  • Eric

    Bogus Basin has been doing this since about 2000. Although, it has been very poorly marketed.

    • That’s awesome. Thanks for the heads up, Eric! And I love the spring version that includes the pass for next year.

  • Tom Horrocks

    $399 is a huge nut to crack to get folks to try a sport and learn for the first time. I still feel that as an industry we’re tripping over the quarter to grab the nickel when it comes to LTS/LTR. Why do we need such a high barrier for entry into what is one of the most expensive sports available? The goal should be to knock down the barrier to entry and grow NEW skiers and snowboarders, not filter out folks for $399 and hope thy like the sport and continue on.

    • That’s a great point, Tom.

      And in some ways I think this package does a pretty good job of addressing the cost of skiing despite it’s price point because it’s all-inclusive-ness also acts as an implied cap to skiing spending.

      For example, rock climbing can also be expensive. And when my brother bought his first climbing harness the cashier said, “get ready to spend a ton more money on climbing”…but what was he walkign into? $100/yr? $1,000/yr? $10,000/yr?

      With this package a beginner knows that for $399 they can ski for a year. No concerns about spending more or buying more or whatever. They have a pass, lessons, and rentals. It’s not $100 followed by a black hole of uncertainty if they like it and want to go again. It’s $399. Period.

      Now, to your point, $399 is high and I agree that, as I once said, the business of ski school is getting the way of our growth, but as a beginner product at a resort with that focus, it’s a solid approach to try.

      Btw, did I see your name on the attendee list for Inntopia Insight? If so, excited to see you again!

      • Tom Horrocks

        All great points Gregg! Yes, We can continue this conversation over a beer at the Insight Conference. Looking forward to catching up!

  • Charlie Herrington

    Eaglecrest in Juneau has a Triple Play Learners Package. Three lessons, rentals, lift tickets for $119…after completion you can buy a season pass for the price of a Spring Pass (like $200).

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