Discounted season pass prices appease Squaw regulars, convert others |

Discounted season pass prices appease Squaw regulars, convert others

Nick Cruit
Sierra Sun

SQUAW VALLEY USA “-By 9:30 a.m. on Friday, hundreds of skiers and snowboarders had logged on to Squaw Valley USA’s website to purchase a 2009-2010 season pass and nearly 80 had appeared in person at the special tickets office to do the same, according to Ivan McGurk, Squaw’s ticket manager.

Friday was the first day the celebratory “50/60” discounted passes went on sale at Squaw, and with prices starting at $369 for a “Bronze” pass ” least expensive and includes holiday blackout dates ” some said they couldn’t afford not to ski Squaw next year.

“We haven’t been able to afford a pass here since having kids,” said Shannon Tonin, a mother of three who bought four bronze season passes Friday morning. “It’s a great deal for people with families.”

Tonin, who said her family has been skiing Sugar Bowl Ski Resort this season, knew of at least two other families that would be purchasing Squaw passes in the next few days. And both families are skiing resorts other than Squaw this year, she added.

“This is the most dramatic price change I’ve seen since I’ve been working here,” said McGurk, who has worked at Squaw for 13 years. “I’ve seen an overall positive response, people are psyched to see prices like this.”

None more psyched than Squaw regulars.

Jim Zellers, who has ridden Squaw since they started allowing snowboarders in the late 1980s, said “it’s about time” Squaw lowered their prices. According to Zellers, Squaw is one of the five mountains in North America that “count” ” Whistler Blackcomb, Jackson Hole, Mt. Baker and Snowbird are the others ” and now it’s the cheapest to ride.

“Go talk to their IT guys. Their computers are going to crash,” joked John Black about the amount of people buying season passes online. “This is great; they’re the best prices I’ve seen in 25 years,” he added.

But despite the buzz, there is limit to how many discounted passes will be sold. According to McGurk, the price will go up on May 11, or when supplies for the current discounted prices run out. McGurk also said that the limit pertains to the overall amount of tickets available, not to the amount of tickets in each price range.