One of the Sierra Nevada's largest ski resorts is cutting daily fees by one-third and capping the number of people allowed on the slopes near Lake Tahoe during peak days.
Alpine Meadows Ski Resorts is lowering the price of a daily lift ticket from $53 to $39 to try to boost visitation that has flattened out the past 15 years, resort spokesman Brad Wilson said.
"Growth in skiing and snowboarding visits is not what it could be. We feel that could be tied to the increase in daily ticket prices," Wilson said.
"They have risen to a point where it could become a barrier to the sport or to coming here frequently," he told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
The ski resort about 5 miles west of Tahoe City, Calif., also intends to limit daily ticket sales but has not decided what that limit will be, he said.
"What we can assure people is that on peak days well have far fewer people than we have in the past," Wilson said. "We feel that the best way to grow the overall sport is to focus on the people who are buying daily tickets."
Like ski resorts everywhere, the Sierra has seen a drop in skiers over the past decade balanced off by the growing popularity of snowboarding.
"Lower day ticket rates may also motivate ex-participants to revisit skiing and snowboarding," Wilson said.
Boreal Mountain Ski Resort, which is owned by the same company as Alpine, significantly dropped its prices in the mid-1990s for the same reasons, said marketing director Jodi Churich. It's daily lift ticket is $36, up $1 from last year.
"Our belief is the same as Alpine, that you got to put an affordable product for the sport to grow," Churich said.
At the Diamond Peak Ski Resort, the daily lift ticket was raised $3 this year to $44. Marketing head Milena Miteva said they don't plan to drop their prices this season but will discuss Alpine's strategy within the company.
"We've never been into price wars," she said. "We have a good product and we sell a good experience."
Officials at Mt. Rose-Ski Tahoe won't drop their $48 ticket price, either. Marketing director Mike Pierce said their deals are "hidden."
The ski resort has special offers most days of the week, such as two-for-one Tuesdays, a $19 deal for college students on Wednesdays and the same price for women on Thursdays. He said most hotels in the region also offer ski-packages.