Reviewing the News w/ Cody Townsend (Oct 2021) (Ep.188)

On the Blister Podcast, Cody and Jonathan discuss ‘fast pass’ programs at ski areas; Angel Collinson’s retirement announcement; the recent climate change / energy bill; bighorn sheep terrain closures in the Tetons; what we’re reading & watching; and more. (And note: yesterday, Jonathan talked to Angel about her recent announcement, so stay tuned for that conversation.)
Cody Townsend at Palisades Tahoe during opening weekend. (photo by Kate LeMasurier Abraham)

Cody and Jonathan discuss ‘fast pass’ programs that let people skip ski lines; Angel Collinson’s retirement announcement; the recent climate change / energy bill; bighorn sheep terrain closures in the Tetons; what we’re reading & watching; and more.

And note: I am talking to Angel Collinson later today about her recent announcement, so stay tuned for that conversation.



6 comments on “Reviewing the News w/ Cody Townsend (Oct 2021) (Ep.188)”

  1. First off congratulations on the baby! Speaking from first-hand experience on the fast pass before everyone gets all excited or upset. The skip the line still has a long line on peak days. Pay extra to wait in another line.

    Also, you are so right about doing good things like carpooling or anything that is acknowledged as going above and beyond should be rewarded. No one really gives back in today’s world on good deeds (except karma). Wouldn’t it be cool to see an industry that thrives on society changing (climate change, protect our winters) have more incentives for doing your part.

  2. I thought the comments on the “Fast Pass” program were thoughtful and I too think this will be a problem for implementing ski areas. Back in the 80’s Mammoth offered a season pass called the Black Pass that allowed you to cut lift lines. I think they charged $10,000 (a ton of money, especially back then). This was a time when Mammoth could have lift lines over an hour on a regular basis. The backlash was huge, to the point when the very few who bought the pass attempted to use it on a powder day they were berated to F*** the Black Pass every time and pelted with snow balls. Mammoth canceled soon after. Dave McCoy said it was a mistake.

    The reference to using a guide or ski instructor is, in my mind, different. The idea of pooling your money with your friends to hire a ski instructor for a powder day is done all the time and has existed for a long time. I guess I think of this differently because an individual instructor is benefitting and helps them stay in expensive ski towns. My buddies and I did this back in the 70’s and then slept in our car, so not just for the rich. Back then it was about $100 for an all day private or $1,000 in todays dollars, about the same. My guess is the instructors and guides will be very against the “Fast Pass” because it will cut into their income and eliminate a great perk of the job, being able to ski with decent skiers on a powder day.

    • The Black pass at mammoth still exists, and has existed for as long as i can remember.

      So it’s not like they’ve seen the light and started being champions of diversity, equity, and inclusivity. Skiing is an elitist pastime. As shitty as it feels, in a capitalist society “Pay to play” will always be part of the equation when trying to apportion access to a scarce resource.

  3. My local resort (Lake Louise) is implementing a fast-pass system as well, while I hate the idea of it I’m not actually bothered by their implementation so far. It’s only for the base area lifts (2/7 lifts), plus they opened a massive new bowl last season and are in the process of building three new chairlifts. If the pass is helping to fund the expansion/improvements I can’t really complain.

  4. The fast pass may actually help keep the other tickets at a lower cost. Prices of everything rises. Resorts need to raise prices to cover costs and pay employees etc. If fast passes for those who can afford them and see value in them help cover those costs and keep other prices low awesome. Not everyone sees the value in paying extra for more laps in a day. Most people also don’t have a quiver of skis/ boots/ ski kit etc. Lots of people can’t physically ski 20 laps in a day so why pay extra to do so? To some it’s important just like their 5 pairs of skis etc. Don’t hate on people who value these things can, and are willing to pay for them as it helps fuel the sport we all enjoy. Some people drive 100k cars and ski 4 days a yr. some drive beaters and ski 90 and would happily still pay more to ski more. It’s not about wealth it’s about values and priorities.

  5. One of the reasons people don’t have a problem with ski school cutting the line is because we almost all started there… And we all know that the poor instructor has a freaking impossible job, corralling 6-8 kids for a whole day. Making them wait in the regular line is insane.

    Allowing Jerry Warbucks to just blatantly buy cutting past everyone else is gross.

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