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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.
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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.