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20/21 IKON: are you buying it?

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My feeling is Alterra made a mistake with the rollout of their remediations. 

PHASE 1: "double" the renewal discount.  This met with outcry on FB. 

PHASE 2: Delay re-up date by a month and allow deferral of  20-21 season pass to 21-22 if you let them know by December 10, 2020.  This met with further outcry especially by the people [edit] DID NOT GET Phase 1 remediations for their little to unused 19-20 passes

TBD PHASE 3: In my opinion this should be rolled out to exceed EPIC's single phase rollout: 20-80% discount based on 2019-20 usage and free full Covid/injury prorated insurance.  This was met with OK customer response on FB and acclaim in ski magazine articles.  

I'm thinking Alterra went in phases to test the waters on each response.  This strategy backfired and shows they were trying to do the least possible.  It gives insight into their corporate priorities. 

A recession (at minimum) is on its way.   It's not the way to build brand loyalty when they may need it most. 

I may let the $100 early bird discount deadline pass and wait until the season is closer.  

Edited by rjnakata
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Super annoyed at the whole deal. 

So I debate what to do each year. This year instead of Full Epic  The only reason to do that is to not have holiday blackouts and be able to have beaver creek call for less than $1000. And ski less at Aspen.


Instead I feel pressure to get the Aspen pass at $2600. Ugh again! No "f,n" way after the way they handled this. The Crowns , I expected something smarter and more accommodating from them.  They have so many good ideas.... but disaster mitigation isn't in line with their luxury thinking.


$2600 again  is "fricking " ridiculous. Consider THAT  Aspen has one of the shortest seasons in Colorado, high food costs (Beaver Creek is almost worse, but amazing Grand  Hyatt breakfast that allows a bit of take out so,it's almost like 2 great meals  for the $36 buffett price). Supercharging at Beaver isn't possible , so you end up slow charging  8kw/hr at Vail. But Vail has a youthful  bar  scene. The 🐢  🐢 Really get to bogie in down with fun loving  skiers taking a year off before college.


Yet Aspen has the raging on slope après ski.no,walking or reporting required and Vail's  parking is frankly a colossal shit show of EPIC proportions ...designed to suck the fun out of you ski vacation while you either get raped by ridiculous parking charges  or have to take the COVID-19 and influenza buses . Beaver Creek has a few free spaces but still you are doing the shuttle bus dance.

Here is my Beaver Creek shuttle Frusteation. 

1. Drive up to the skier drop off zone. 7:00 am Unload 65 -80 pounds of boards boots bindings onto the racks near the Chondola to avoid the 400 yard slog through the artificial ski mall of shops that offer nothing of interest. Patagonia store?... mail order, The only shop worth a lick isn't in BeVer Creek it's Buzzs boards in Vail... nice guys there. 

2. Circle the car back around . Drive up the the Grand Hyatt with snowboard boots and helmet in knapsack ( if they see ski gear they charge you a $70 valet fee - oh so pleasant) . Declare you are here for the Buffet Breakfast... check in and eat until 7:45 giving yourself 15 minutes to digest. Mention you have to get something and leave your check open. Ride until 10:30 and cone back for your early lunch. 

3.pick up your car from Valet and drive to free parking in town way down hill. Gives you a bit of time to digest. 

4. Board uncrowded  shuttle ( not needing to carry a board) back up the hill- maybe dump a layer, grab a snack for later. You swung by the rack to grab  alpine boards on way down so you  aren't worry about them  getting ripped off, or getting knocked over on the rack . Soft boot  board is in the rack up top because you brought it up first run (  The boards are much less likely to get stolen on top of the mountain at the base) . 

5. Ride until 3-4pm if you après  at Beaver you get two hours free parking in their lot - worth it to do it as shuttles down are frequent and you'll end up eating late après or doing dinner in Vail anyhow because you gave to charge there in the lot which is only free 3 pm to 3am. 

6 . Charge until full. Drive back to Beaver Creek free parking . If not full charge elsewhere.  

7. Starbucks... then repeat. 




Aspen's parking Dance. 


1. Snowmass many charging options. But all of them are slow.

2. Buttermilk has superchargers close to lifts. Plug in - take three runs and you are full. 

3. Aspen park close to lifts- it's the best . Slow charging and very limited ... you'll end up at Buttermilk. Valets hook me up with free charging .

4. Highlands , either leave car in Aspen and take the bus ...or park in the lot and wait until after 4 pm to leave through employee pass. No charging options at Highlands except for the Ritz. 

Aspen Sundeck food on mountain is better than most in town  dining options and you get a 25% discount with Aspen premier pass before 12 or after 2 pm. 

Back to the oasis quandry. 

However the only saving grace to the $2600 Aspen/baseIKON pass is when Aspen starts to melt out mid March - April 15 ... you can use the attached Base Ikon pass to go to Mammoth (tons of Late march snow and colder temps and less wind as you get into April ...less wind just means you aren't pelted with ice balls in the parking lot  ( like you are the last one left on your outnumbered paintball team) . ...and you can also do early season...possibly at SoCals Snow Summit.  This is only worth it if you do a looooooong season from late Oct. to May. 


We have a good chance of a short season either from less snow as can happen every 4 years... or if Hong Kong  keeps rioting .... oddly another NEW pandemic might start again... not kidding even the tiniest little bit.



cost breakdown. Per day ridden .

So this year, the season started late Dec 13th first day on snow, and one IKON day at Winter Park ( which was like skiing in Mt. Tremblant in January.) one IKON day at Steamboat (also iceberg city)  and zero days at Mammoth. Thanks Fauci for making us pay for the virus by funding  Wuhan with 7.4 Million to play with Bat corona virus and doing "gain of function " research to ASSIST with having it jump species to humans . This is not political because he worked for both administrations, he is just so " turdly". 


Season ended a la covid-19 on March 13.

 90 days for me Dec-March  ....of which I worked running Winter x games snowmobiles for (14)  , went to California to avoid Holiday crowds Dec 23- Jan 10 (19 days lost  )   Some days (7) were shitty no visibility foggy "1 run annnnnd done days"  . And some early season days were like just a few runs to get the legs back (5). So really averaging about $57 a day... pretty awful might be an all time  worst season pass day rate.


 In contrast had I done FULL EPIC at Beaver Creek $979  ... I would have still been able to ski aspen for 34 days  ( I get 20 comp passes for working and get to ride during those 14 days)  and my price would have dropped to about $21 a day Plus I could have ridden Beaver Creek for 11 of those days. Way better....

Clearly The Aspen/Ikon pass is not worth it at all. When facing a foreshortened season with possible "rolling black out "  like shut downs due to outbreaks. And if these outbreaks happen within the season, according to the season  pass insurance you won't get any refund. "F'd " again


 I won't even consider buying Aspens $2600 premier pass  this coming year. I'll still run the Sleds shuttling the Winter X athletes , and my friends give me their free passes (4) , and early season $69 passes (4) and I get about 2 more freebies . So that's still 30 days at Aspen .  Which if you pick the right batches of days ( chunks of clear days)  is enough. I'll still ride with my Aspen peeps and help out the ones who want to carve there and with Epic peeps , but I won't be able to ride at any IKON resort other than Aspen with the IKONITES people who pay $150 for the pass upgrade ( it's another Crown Affair?.. but I have to say ...they had to do something to limit the IKON impact on holiday weekends which kinda killed Aspen's normally uncrowded slopes and on some days made it feel like Vail.)

The on,y drawback  of no IKON is that I like Mount BACHELOR ski resort quite a bit, and I haven't been to Jackson hole yet, (Grand Targhee is the powder gem there anyhow )  Steamboat  didn't have a very challenging trails for carving and I'll miss out on Sun Valley for the first time yet again.  Plus no Zermatt , which sucks as I have use of the Van Clef and Arpels ski chalet there for free. ( Got that from a dog and turtle sitting gig , not some fancy Aspen party ) .

But seeing as there is nothing stopping these weasel  mountain conglomerate  penny pinching accountant scum sucking bastards  ( and I say that with restraint) from screwing us all over again next year ..... it's  the only viable " PAYING for a pass" strategy .

However... I still lose Snow Summit early season which is good for "SoCal early season soreness hit and  run day trips". ...and I lose Mammoth Late season... and because A- basin isn't in the mix on EPIC anymore  I can't rely on that either ( that early season ribbon of death is a slaughterhouse  designed to feed EMTs) .  Maybe with all the money I save I could do June in NZ. 


Mammoth late season can be hit by rain intermittently so sometimes I bid a hasty retreat to SoCal and dive for  lobsters to bring back up to the slopes until the snow returns after 2 storms. BUT without IKON  the lobsters for lifties program I donis dead for Mammoth. ( I cook lobsters for Aspen lifties birthdays at the chair lifts if they get stuck  working on their birthdays )

So that strategy of no late season Mammoth  ain't so good either.  But when faced with a possibility of a season cut " virus short" ...buying the Aspen Pass is just a crappy idea.

The alternative is going back to race dept.  Which is in the cards and not paying anything. Because it wouldn't have cost the mountains much do do smoothing nice for all of us. And if it's going to be a short season... at least it's free Aspen .


What ELSE could thay have done? To make this easier for all the season pass holders in the USA who were "F'd" this year? 


God help you if you got this far..... here is the reward.

 Here's the "Gilmour everyone wins plan". Or why I should work for marketing for one of these companies....


Well at ZERO COST  Epic and Ikon could have gotten together ( "WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER" ...except EPIC AND ALTERRA who are out for themselves) and traded days ...

yes cooperated! Just for one little possibly foreshortened season...

.....and offered skiers who bought EPIC or IKON  pass 30 days at  EACH OTHERS resorts ( Aspen days limited to 5 unless you pay an extra $150 and get 10 more) the same deal works the other way for Beaver Creek


 .  Maybe even Mountain Collective could have jumped in .

How does this help? 

Now that we'd get the  airline industry going again  , hotels would flow with cash, and for  everyone could ski together instead of being divided by Epic and Ikon. We would truly be " ALL IN THIS TOGETHER ". No snow in EITHER your EPIC or IKON network this year ??? ... no big deal,  you could go almost anywhere.  


The  mountains could have put a smile on our last season horrified ripped off faces...for really No cost at all.... fricking nothing, in fact they could have written that "gift" off as a loss and made more money by " pretending to purchase days from their competitors to do this ( instead of bartering)  .  Could have had   a nice fat tax write off when they needed it most. By pretending to buy the passes at single day rates .. some day rates are $229! That's a instant write off.


Instead they pushed their customers off a cliff into the rocks below, without giving it a moments thought. Typical corporate short sightedness. 

That last plan  should be the post of the decade for ski comglomerates. 









Edited by John Gilmour
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@John Gilmour  Check A-basin and Crystal mountain's reopening strategy for the end of this season: Make a lottery reservation, prepay (or have a pass) and social distance.  This is a likely model for next season. We may not be able to get as many days as we like.   Large buddy groups may be out. 

There will be minor changes to these procedures (maybe to accommodate families at destinations?) but I think it's a window into the future.

So far IKON has done this:

On 5/3/2020 at 8:22 PM, rjnakata said:

PHASE 1: "double" the renewal discount.  This met with outcry on FB. 

PHASE 2: Delay re-up date by a month and allow deferral of  20-21 season pass to 21-22 if you let them know by December 10, 2020.  This met with further outcry especially by the people who [edit] DID NOT GET Phase 1 remediations for their little to unused 19-20 passes

new PHASE 3: Changed early bird deadline from May 27 to June 16. 

PHASE 4: ???  Rusty Gregory said there might be some adjustments to their Covid remediations after June 17.  His father once told him the easy part is knowing what to do.  The hard part is doing it.  At this point they don't know what to do and are unwilling to do it!  I'm not holding my breath on this.

The more this unfolds I think I'd have a tough time wearing the IKON pass on my neck and feeling I sold out.  Does anyone proudly use all those IKON stickers they send out...I don't and I don't see many.



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17 hours ago, John Gilmour said:

they pushed their customers off a cliff into the rocks below, without giving it a moments thought. Typical corporate short sightedness. 

@John GilmourI like your plan and i would be excited about it.  I agree with your assessment of what they are choosing instead.

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New PHASE 4 of remediations:

From Alterra,

"More Time to Defer Your Unused 20/21 Pass*
For any reason, if you don’t use your 20/21 Ikon Pass, you will have the option to defer the purchase price paid for your 20/21 Ikon Pass toward the purchase of a 21/22 Ikon Pass using the new Zero-Day Credit — no questions asked. Now, you can make this decision anytime between September‌ 10, 2020 and April‌ 11, 2021 (previously September‌ 10 - December‌ 10, 2020).

Added Assurance Due to Possible COVID-19 Closures*
In addition, should any eligible Ikon Pass destination close due to COVID-19 between December‌ 10, 2020 and April‌ 11, 2021, Ikon Pass holders will receive a proportional credit towards any 21/22 Ikon Pass."

This is sounding better to make up for possible future closure during the second wave.  I'm sure this will meet with tepid approval, and continued outcry by those burned in 2019-20. (The folks who got limited/no riding due to the closure)  So...

ALTERRA it's time for PHASE 5: remediations for those that lost out on the 2019-20 season.  

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Here is a copy of my post to IKON's FB page:

IKON, Leadership, foresight and care for your customers should be your goal, but I believe your phased rollout of remediations is not communicating those qualities to your customers. Next time, please don't phase, just roll out the right thing from the beginning. People will better understand your remedies (I can't clearly articulate your latest remedy to a friend) and it won't build frustration with your product. BTW you still have one more phase to complete.

Here is as summary of your phased rollout of remediations.

PHASE 1: 4/15/20, add double discount on already raised pass prices.

PHASE 2: 4/17/20, delay price increase date from 4/21 to 5/27 and allow deferral of 20-21 season pass to 21-22 if you declare by 12/10/20.

PHASE 3: 5/20/20, delay price increase date from 5/27 to 6/17.

PHASE 4: 6/4/20, change the deferral date from 12/10/20 date to 4/11/21, add partial refunds if Resorts close in 20-21.

PHASE 5: ??? This should be proper remediations for the partial loss of the 19-20 season - (phase 1 was insufficient).

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51 minutes ago, Hey John said:

For me the deal breaker was removing Aspen from the base pass. I would have already renewed had they not done so.

I believe that was done to reduce crowds there.  But that may not be an issue this season.  I think they should add it back in.  

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On 6/4/2020 at 1:06 PM, rjnakata said:

I believe that was done to reduce crowds there.  But that may not be an issue this season.  I think they should add it back in.  

I remember reading about that in one of the Aspen newspapers. At the time I thought it was odd because they’ve never been concerned about the crowds on a normal weekend at Mammoth.  At least that was the case until they thought of surge/dynamic pricing.  It’s easy to imagine Rusty Gregory saying “Damn, why didn’t we think of this scam 20 years ago.”  

if I do buy in, it won’t be until the very last minute.  I have no enthusiasm for next season. Alterra is clearly taking us for granted and why not?  I’ve been renewing every year since the original MVP.  But this year it’s different. There are too many uncertainties and in the theme of your Facebook post, they should be showing us way more appreciation than they have been willing to so far.  In fact the latest one about a partial refund for 20/21 is more of a meaningless gesture than anything else. 

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PHASE 4.5 is in: Transfer unused 2019-20 passes to 20-21. 

It appears IKON has privately emailed people who didn't use their 19-20 pass AT ALL and informed them they can transfer that pass to 20-21.  

...No concession given to those who used their pass 1, 2 3x.... but at this rate who knows.

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