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

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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