Is Liftopia’s New Tiered Pricing Bad News for Skiers?

Liftopia introduced multiple pricing options on lift tickets with “varying levels of flexibility.” Find out what this means for travelers.

Given the public attitude toward airline pricing shenanigans, you might assume that a travel provider in any other marketplace would think very carefully before copying anything an airline does.

But Liftopia, the big online discounter of ski-lift and mountain-activity tickets, sees some value in the airline-inspired concepts of “dynamic pricing” and “capacity control.” Starting immediately, Liftopia offers three different ticket options:

  • Value tickets, at the lowest prices, are valid only for the dates specified at the time of purchase, and they’re nonrefundable and unchangeable.
  • Value Plus tickets, at higher prices, allow one date change during the ski season.
  • Flexible tickets allow unlimited date changes.

As an example of the price spread, Liftopia quotes rates for Snowbird for the last week in January: A value ticket starts at $56.99, or 40 percent off the walk-up rate; a Value Plus ticket starts at $64.59, or 32 percent off the walk-up rate; and a flexible ticket starts at $69.59, or 27 percent off the walk-up rate. You might be interested to see how quickly other ski-ticket outlets pick up on this idea. In line with the airline model, the allocation of ticket inventory to each category will vary based on availability. But if you find you need to change an unchangable date, you can do it by paying the difference, with no extra change fee.

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By Ed Perkins

A nationally recognized reporter, writer, and consumer advocate, Ed Perkins focuses on how travelers can find the best deals and avoid scams.

He is the author of "Online Travel" (2000) and "Business Travel: When It's Your Money" (2004), the first step-by-step guide specifically written for small business and self-employed professional travelers. He was also the co-author of the annual "Best Travel Deals" series from Consumers Union.

Perkins' advice for business travelers is featured on MyBusinessTravel.com, a website devoted to helping small business and self-employed professional travelers find the best value for their travel dollars.

Perkins was founding editor of Consumer Reports Travel Letter, one of the country's most influential travel publications, from which he retired in 1998. He has also written for Business Traveller magazine (London).

Perkins' travel expertise has led to frequent television appearances, including ABC's "Good Morning America" and "This Week with David Brinkley," "The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," CNN, and numerous local TV and radio stations.

Before editing Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Perkins spent 25 years in travel research and consulting with assignments ranging from national tourism development strategies to the design of computer-based tourism models.

Born in Evanston, Illinois, Perkins lives in Ashland, Oregon with his wife.

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