Let's face some facts—skiing is an expensive hobby. Even after spending hundreds of dollars getting kitted out to spend a day on the mountain, stopping by the ticket office for your pass takes another hefty chunk of change out of your wallet. Arguably the most affected by these skyrocketing prices is the younger generation of skiers, but the East Coast's Peak Resorts is looking to change that.
Coming in at $399, Peak Resort's Drifter Pass is an affordable season pass specifically priced for 18 to 29 year olds that offers unlimited access, with no blackout dates, to Peak's seven ski resorts across the Northeast, including Jack Frost and Big Boulder in Pennsylvania, Hunter Mountain in New York, Mount Snow in southern Vermont, Crotched Mountain in southern New Hampshire, and Attitash and Wildcat in northern New Hampshire.
"About three years ago, we started our unlimited pass for those seven ski areas up in the Northeast and we identified the millennial skier as a target for us," says Jesse Boyd, VP of Operations for Peak Resorts. "We really feel like this is the time in their lives where they're going to decide where they're going to ski for the foreseeable future. They are a passionate group, and we thought that really fit in with a lot of what we're doing at our resorts with terrain parks and events."
With close proximity to metropolitan areas like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, Peak's Drifter Pass offers easy access to East Coast millennials who want to go skiing without breaking the bank. While their other passes feature tiered pricing, Peak Resorts locks in the $399 Drifter Pass until mid-December, offering often cash-strapped college students and young adults the chance to not drop their entire winter savings on next year's pass in May.
Since the introduction of the Drifter Pass, Boyd says that the 18 to 29-year-old age group has quickly become the largest demographic across the board for Peak Resorts, but for him, it's not about winning or losing that millennial demographic. "We have a passion for creating new skiers," says Boyd. "We feel like this product not only gets people coming to the mountain but coming to the mountain more often by making it affordable."
Jamie Storrs, the communications manager for Mount Snow, agrees, saying that by making skiing more accessible for younger generations, the more they will continue to come back year after year. "If the majority of your pass holders are 18 to 29, they've still got another 30, 40, or 50 years of skiing ahead of them," says Storrs. "The crowd that's on the Drifter Pass today is tomorrow's families bringing their kids skiing. If they fall in love with our mountains, they'll bring their kids here to ski and that's the next generation of skiers after that."
To support their push for creating new skiers, Peak Resorts is also promoting their Peak Discovery Program, which includes three lift tickets, three rentals, and three lessons at any of their seven resorts, all for only $99. "We know that plenty of Drifter Pass holders have a friend that comes along on the ski trips, but they just sit in the hotel all weekend," says Storrs. "For $33 a day, to get that friend out that you've always wanted to introduce to the sport is pretty hard to beat."
With live music events like Mount Snow's Minus Zero Festival this April, Peak Resort's efforts to attract the millennial skier also duck the ropes into après territory. A three-day EDM festival featuring headliners like Odeza and Zeds Dead, Storrs says the festival was both a celebration of how great the season was, as well as a three-day party geared directly towards the Drifter Pass audience. "While the pass product is great and the terrain parks are great, being able to add in more events and more opportunity for après definitely helps," says Storrs. "As we all know, that group's day doesn't end at five or six, you want to stay out, party, and then ski all day the next day. We're putting a big commitment into après."
So whether it's their wallet-friendly pass pricing, incredibly affordable learn-to-ski options, or commitment to making après even better, it's easy to see why Peak Resorts is becoming the go-to for millennial skiers on the East Coast. This ain't your grandma's ski pass.