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$9 Ski Passes: Purgatory’s ‘Dynamic Pricing’ Sounds Way Too Good to Be True

Purgatory expanded the range for its dynamic pricing for the 2023/24 season, so visitors can purchase day passes for as low as $9 this season — if you can snag them early.

Purgatory Resort's demand-based pricing means you can get lift tickets for as low as $9(Photo/Purgatory Resort)
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Ski season is just around the corner, and resorts are pushing lift ticket deals, discounts, and campaigns in every direction. On August 18, Purgatory Ski Resort in Colorado announced that it was opening sales for this season, with day passes as low as $9.

But not every day will be that cheap. It’s a demand-based pricing system. Purgatory Ski Resort designed and implemented it to help spread out the number of people on the mountain on specific days. So, if you want to ski Purgatory for $9, you’ll have to act fast. Look for early- or late-season days that aren’t highly sought after, Dave Rathbun, Purgatory’s GM told GearJunkie.

“Demand-based pricing is just what it sounds like. As more tickets sell, prices go up,” Rathbun said. “On holidays, big powders, and other traditionally busy times, our rates are higher and rise quickly with the demand.”

There is no price ceiling to this system, Rathbun explains, adding that there also isn’t a floor. Currently, all of the dates on Purgatory’s day pass calendar are between $9 and $98.

Old System, New Range: Purgatory Demand-Based Pricing

Purgatory Resort's demand-based pricing means you can get lift tickets for as low as $9
(Photo/Purgatory Resort)

Purgatory, located in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, is 30 minutes north of Durango in the southwestern corner of the state. It encompasses 1,600 acres and has 105 trails, 11 lifts, and multiple terrain parks

This isn’t the first time the resort has implemented demand-based pricing for its ski passes. But, it is the first time they’ve used a range of prices that’s so open-ended.

“When planning your next visit, be sure to purchase your ticket well in advance for the biggest savings,” said Rathbun. “If you arrive the day you expect to ski and have not purchased a ticket, please understand prices may be higher than the previous day. All ticket purchases can be exchanged for a credit up to 11:59 p.m. the night before your arrival.”

Purgatory opens for the season on November 18. Currently, Rathbun said, there are days just after Thanksgiving and in April that are still just $9 at the moment.

Visit Purgatory’s lift ticket webpage to browse the ski resort’s calendar. Every day has its current price listed. As of this writing, none of them are over $100, and many of them are between $30 and $70 — which is still an incredible deal compared to a lot of resorts.

So, you can still secure a day pass on the cheap. Just don’t wait too long to pull the trigger. Those days will be gobbled up fast and as they are, the price for those dates will steadily rise.

“Our suggestion to you for the best deal is to review our ticket calendar, purchase your ticket well in advance of your arrival day, and avoid peak periods,” said Rathbun. “When you plan well in advance and choose to visit on off-peak days you’ll get the best rates.”

Undercutting the Competition

Purgatory Resort's demand-based pricing means you can get lift tickets for as low as $9
(Photo/Purgatory Resort)

The idea behind this pricing system is simple: Break up the flow of visitors during peak periods. Lower prices for slower days will motivate people to plan their trips around times when the mountain isn’t teeming with visitors.

Purgatory isn’t the only resort that uses dynamic or demand-based pricing for its lift tickets. A number of other independent resorts and a few Alterra, Powdr, and Boyne resorts implement similar systems.

But there is one big difference: none of those resorts have opened up their range of prices to the extent Purgatory has this year. Most have a price floor that’s often over the $100 mark. And none of them go below $10 — except for Purgatory.

There is also a big perk for families who want to ski Purgatory.

“All kids 12 and younger ski and ride for free at Purgatory, no blackout dates or restrictions,” Rathbun said. “In addition to dynamic pricing, this is part of Purgatory’s commitment to make skiing and riding more accessible for families and grow overall participation in the sport.”

Truly, the price of day passes acts as a barrier to entry for many individuals and families who would otherwise love to try skiing or riding. By offering free entry for youth under 12, and dynamic pricing options that allow adults to snag affordable day passes, Purgatory is effectively lowering those barriers. Check out the resort’s day-pass calendar to plan your trip around the lowest prices.

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