EDIT: 1/15/2015: Current price for a day lift ticket is $145. See up-to-date Vail lift ticket prices here.
A walk-up single-day ticket at Vail will run you $160 until a few days into the new year (1/3/2015). While very few people buy walk-up single day tickets (and Vail, Colorado is, of course, a ski resort which caters to rich people), the price still reflects the growing economic barrier which keeps many people out of snowsports such as skiing and snowboarding.
Most of my friends from college are people of color. Most of them have never touched a pair of skis or a snowboard despite spending their entire lives in Colorado. “I don’t have the money bro,” they say.
My ski-with-a-friend (SWAF) passes attached to my EPIC pass only secure a $30 discount during this time period. A friend would still have to pay $129 to come ski with me this week. That’s absurd.
If you plan on doing any amount of skiing or snowboarding in any given season, it’s a stupidly simple choice: buy a season pass. The Vail Resorts EPIC pass is an incredible deal. Unfortunately, almost all season pass sales are halted early in the season— usually late November. You cannot still buy a 2015 EPIC Pass, for example. This means that even if a person discovers that they love the sport by buying a day lift ticket, there is no economical way for them to get more than a few days on the slopes that season. They will still have to go to the ticket office and pay and full price for a day ticket.
The price of a lift ticket at Vail is currently a third of a week’s work at minimum wage. Think on that for a bit.