To improve is to change.
On Sunday, April 1, we put next year’s season passes for sale online. The blog headline announcing no more Unlimited Passes was not entirely correct and we apologize for the scare. A more accurate description is that we are simplifying our pass purchase process by starting everyone with a base value pass and giving the option to add unlimited access or adding just one or two peak days.
The purpose for this change is to streamline the pass purchasing process and allow the pass to be customizable based on the access or visitation desired. In the end the price for the value pass with unlimited access is the same that we would charge for an unlimited pass on its own. It is essentially, the same pass. We understand the trepidation the headline caused our loyal guests; and for that we want to say we’re sorry. In a world of uncertainty, the Meadows family strives to add stability and enrichment – not ambiguity.
We care passionately about our team, guests and stakeholders of the Resort. We provide a forum and listen to all of our stakeholders, analyze data and understand trends to make the best long-term decisions that will create a life enriching experience when visiting Meadows. And we thank those who have contributed to this conversation through this blog, on social channels and directly.
So why the change? Weekend after weekend, the number one complaint from passholders is do something about peak days! The change we made in the process will make sure everyone sees the price of a value pass and the additional cost of adding unlimited peak day access and we are hoping the price difference will encourage more guests to ski and ride off peak days or evenings, spreading out the crowds and making the experience more enjoyable for everyone.
There is, has been, and always will be demand on peak days. Holidays and weekends are when most people have days to pursue their passion, to head to the mountain and enrich themselves. So we can expect these days to be busy. But working together we can improve the peak day experience.
This past season we initiated a free Peak Day shuttle from Hood River that removed up to 100 vehicles from competing for parking spaces. We opened the Hood River Express at 8:30 for a half hour of exclusive riding. And we started split flow parking in the main lot. The results were dramatic – where as last year we heard complaints about 25 minute back ups on the access road waiting to park, this year we parked these vehicles in record time, as signified by our parking lots reaching capacity an hour earlier than last season. We received several guest comments opposing these changes, but noted the result was a much more efficient parking system that allowed guests to arrive early and in many cases leave earlier and open up space for later arriving guests.
Another component to managing Peak Demand is basic economic principles. The supply and demand curve during Peak Demand must be adjusted via pricing. Consumers experience this daily whether it is going to the movies, studying your electric bill or taking Uber home after attending a popular ball game. Given Mt. Hood’s Peak Demand that we all experience, we have to adjust pricing during these time periods.
We feel all Northwesterners deserve the Mt. Hood Meadows experience and that process begins for many with selecting and budgeting for the right product to match the experience they are seeking. In balancing all of the variables (some of which are discussed above), the Value Pass is our best attempt to set our guests up for the experience they desire:
- It offers an affordable option to ski/ride nearly every day of the season
- It provides a better experience for all who wish to come to Mt. Hood Meadows
- It creates a seamless purchasing experience that gives our guests the power to decide what level of access is right for them.
So will our new pass purchase process solve peak day problems? Not by itself. But it will provide the opportunity to discuss what we all, working together can do to improve the situation.
This approach may be revolutionary or maybe not. Regardless, Mt. Hood Meadows is going to innovate, problem solve and do whatever is in our power to create the most life enriching experience possible.
You cannot improve without changing. We will continue to improve (change) for the purpose of serving our team and our guests better. We will also endeavor to be more sensitive to how real and perceived changes affect our guests – the extended Meadows family.