October 8 2008, 10:44 AM
I had to laugh when I received a press release from Vail Resorts yesterday touting a new "Baggage Bailout." Meant to subsidize the fees that many airlines are now charging for checked luggage, the $50-per-adult and $25-per-kid incentive will supposedly sweeten a ski trip. Rob Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, is quoted in the release: "At Vail Resorts, we have decided to help carry the load for our guests by addressing airline baggage fees." Thanks for your overwhelming generosity, Rob. To qualify for the baggage bailout, you need to book four nights at a Vail hotel and four days' worth of lift tickets. I spent 10 minutes clicking through Vail's reservation website, booking a hypothetical January ski trip for a family of four. Here's how it adds up: Four nights in a two-bedroom condo at Timber Falls Lodge ($750--actually, that's a good deal), lift tickets ($340 per adult for four days; $204 per kid for four days), and a round-trip shuttle from DIA ($178 per person). Figure another $1,200, minimum, for airfare, and you're looking at a $4,000+ vacation. That's not counting meals, rental equipment, or your souvenir Rasta ski cap. It's four grand just to get to the mountain, have a place to stay, and be able to get on the chair lift. I'm not begrudging anyone who wants a sweet ski trip--please, take me with you--but is $150 really a big incentive for the kind of folks willing to spend thousands of dollars for some fresh powder? Um, no. It'll barely cover their lunch bill at the mid-mountain lodge.