The Colorado mountain community of Aspen is famously posh, and with the onset of winter comes an offer that won’t be found anywhere else, designed for skiers and snowboarders who want to feel truly special: a season pass that costs $25,000.
“The Ultimate Ski Pass” affords major benefits, such as allowing access to the slopes before they open to the public, for up to four people per pass. That means first tracks at any of four area resorts in the pristine crispness of dawn.
Even better, some might say, is being able to hob-nob with the U.S. Women’s Ski Team, which is likely to include Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso, among others, during the Aspen Winternational World Cup event scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend.
The promotion, offered through the Aspen Skiing Company, is designed to support public schools but also to help fund events related to World Cup skiing, which has a rich history in Aspen. And another related perk for pass holders is enjoying a breakfast with U.S. Ski and Snowboard Assn. president Bill Marolt, an Aspen native.
Perhaps a more exciting draw is being allowed to ride on snowcats during slope-grooming missions, or taking behind-the-scenes tours with ski patrollers at the four resorts: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk.
As great as this may seem, however, and as wealthy as many Aspen residents may be, these are hard economic times, and so far only one pass has been sold.
Said Matt Hamilton of the Aspen Skiing Company, about the 18 passes being offered as part of what a sales promotion in its third year: “We’ve typically sold two or three [per season], so we don’t have an expectation that we will sell them all.”
Interestingly, the promotion does not involve the Winter X Games, a four-day action sports festival held annually at Buttermilk. After all, who wouldn’t want to hobnob with Shaun White and local superstar Gretchen Bleiler? Then again, the X Games extravaganza is not World Cup skiing and that’s what this promotion is mostly about.
For the sake of comparison, regular season passes, good for the four mountains, sell for anywhere between about $500 and $1,800, depending on time of purchase and the desired level of benefits.
— Images are courtesy of the Aspen Skiing Company