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Season Passes
The Snowshoe “Ridiculous Pass” Returned in 2015….and I Like it More Than Ever

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It’s back. Or, rather, it was back.

Now in its third year, Snowshoe’s Ridiculous Pass returned with a few interesting tweaks. But rather than tell you those tweaks, let me tell you what those tweaks led to.

On the morning of February 17 at approximately 8:00am EST, Snowshoe’s servers cried uncle. Thousands and thousands of people refreshed and refresh, called and redialed, trying to purchase their passes. Some persevered for hours until they emerged rather triumphantly with a receipt for nearly a thousand dollars worth of passes.

Piece #1: The Price
So how did they get there? The first part is the price.

The first year they came out, the ridiculous pass cost $199. After worrying it was going to be a frog-in-bpiling-water scenario, they proved me wrong with a $209 price tag in 2015.

Not only that, but they included (as they did last year) skiing for the rest of this season as well.

Piece #1B: The Price’s Purpose
Before we go any further, let’s draw a 3-hour drive radius around Snowshoe. What major cities are we going to find in that area? Well, none really.

But expand that to 4-hours and…abracadabra…we get not one, not two, but three – Pittsburgh, DC, and Richmond.


In other words, Snowshoe isn’t a “oh, I’m just gonna take a few runs before work” type of resort. It’s a “oh, I’m gonna go spend the weekend” mountain.

So for the vast majority of skiers a $200 pass can only be used by spending many times that price in lodging.

Piece #2: The Sale Structure
Next, Snowshoe applied a combination deadline/tiered model:

  • First 2,500 – $209
  • Next 5,000 – $219
  • Rest Until Feb 26 – $229

As we’ve seen, tiers are extremely effective at driving sales immediately when the the doors open while deadlines are awesome at driving sales as the doors are about to close.

By using both, Snowshoe was able to build a big wave of urgency at both the beginning and end of the sale. Clever, no?

Smart, for Snowshoe
While this is incredibly smart marketing, remember where Snowshoe is before looking for applications of this pattern in your own marketing.

A hybrid of this discounted-destination-pass model works for the EpicPass in part because no matter where you buy it, more than half of the value lives outside of your state (and because they are selling it at or near a typical season pass price to one resort anyone buy doing more volume than individual resorts would do on their own).

If every skier can buy a pass for $200 but doesn’t need lodging, this breaks. With ancillary spend (and their pricing model), however, the Ridiculous Pass is a really clever marketing move.

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