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Summer
How three resorts package, name, and price their summer activities.

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GREGG
BLANCHARD
       

When I spend time at resorts in the summer, it’s usually more about getting away from people and wandering dirt trails than buying tickets and doing village or lift-served sorta things. But when my side of the family all got vaccinated and was able to get together for the first time in 18 months it was decided we’d head to Snowbird for the day.

I’d heard of resorts doing activity passes, but seeing how many people bought those passes on a random summer Thursday, how much fun we had, and the questions I had along the way? That was insightful enough to put some thoughts down.

Snowbird

I’ll start with snowbird. Snowbird offers a pretty long list of activities:

  • Summer Scenic Tram Rides
  • Mountain Coaster
  • Alpine Slide
  • Woodward WreckTangle
  • Peruvian Chairlift
  • Summer Tubing
  • Ropes Course
  • Bungee Trampoline
  • Climbing Wall
  • Tree Climb
  • Mini Tree Climb
  • Mini Ropes Course
  • Spider Mountain
  • Kids’ Inflatable

Snowbird bundles these into what they call an All-Day Activity Pass (or ADAP for short). The price is $52 with advance-purchase discounts bringing the price down to about $42 at the lowest.

Interesting Note
Snowbird does offer a cheaper version but they draw the line at height rather than age or weight. This was a little bit tricky for our family because our kids were too tall to use that pass, but too light to do some of the adult activities. There’s probably not better way to slice it, but it also highlights how tricky it can be to draw these lines with activities like the ones we offer in summer.

Blue Mountain

Blue Mountain offers a similarly diverse set of activities.

  • Cascade Putting Course
  • Chutes and Lumber Ball Run
  • Climbing Wall
  • Hiking
  • Mill Pond Activity Centre
  • Open Air Gondola
  • Plunge! Aquatic Centre
  • Ridge Runner Mountain Coaster
  • Wind Rider Triple Zips

The name they bundle these activities under is the Play All Day Pass which comes in at $65 CAD, which is almost exactly identical to Snowbird in USD ($52). Blue does divide pass options by age (adult, young adult, youth, tyke), but they also appear to have fewer activities that might be designed around specific heights or weights.

play all day pricing grid

Park City

When we decided to go to Snowbird, the expectation from most of us was that we’d buy activities a la carte. I overheard a conversation in line for the mountain coaster about how they were expecting a la carte, had a little bit of sticker shock at the price of the ADAP, but then did the math together and realized that, yeah, it was a better deal.

So let’s wrap this up by looking at a resort that still does things on an activity-by-activity basis. Part City has a pricing table for their activities and here’s how it breaks down.

screenshot of park city activities page

I’ll admit, I had a moment of sticker shock as well and wondered if an a la carte approach might be easier for our family, but in the end that feeling the pain of paying once and then being able to play and play and play as long as we wanted was, at least for us, a better experience.

On the flip side, however, there is certainly a case to be made about generating more revenue per guest by making the only option to spend another $30 for another ride on the mountain coaster instead of charging $50 for unlimited.

Future?

Resorts aren’t far down this road of creating (and naming) an all-inclusive summer pass (well, mostly inclusive, both Snowbird and Blue had larger upgrades), but I think it’s one to start studying and learning from.

I went in expecting my kids to last a few hours, to feel some regret about the price we paid, to have the place to ourselves because of the combination of weekday and price…but we stayed almost until closing, had zero regrets, and were surrounded by hundreds of other families having an equally great time.

Summer activity passes…that’s something to think about.


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