Original Post

Tnooz: New Five-Resort $349 Pass

08/20/2012 by Nick Vivion

San Francisco-based lift ticket company Liftopia will power the new consumer-facing ski pass technology for the newly minted The Mountain Collective.

The Mountain Collective is an unprecedented joint effort of 4 American ski resorts: Alta (Utah), Aspen/Snowmass (Colorado), Jackson Hole (Wyoming), and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows (California). The Collective will be the centerpiece of a seasonal ski pass that gives skiers and boarders access to all of these resorts for the season at a discounted rate.

The pass costs $349 for adults and $229 for kids, which includes 2 free days at each resort, unlimited 50% off lift tickets, and up to 25% off lodging.

The pass will be hosted fully on Litopia’s SaaS-based Cloud Store technology, allowing the resorts to target specific pass holders, offer resort-by-resort deals and deliver a seamless experience across resorts.

This is the first partnership of its kind, driven by Liftopia’s easy-to-implement technology and the ski resorts’ willingness to join together to create one centralized mega-resort for their most frequent guests.

There are more lift tickets sold in the ski industry than the NHL, NBA and NFL combined, and yet 90% of all lift tickets are purchased at walk-up windows.

To put that in perspective: there are 79 million skier visits annually, and Liftopia sold 1% of total North American lift tickets last year.

This volume represents a tantalizing market share for whomever gets in first and establishes themselves as the dominant player.

The opportunities for further integration are quite sizable – a loyalty program for avid skiers and boarders across resorts in different regions, the ability to target particular users most likely to get on the slopes with a specific deal, or even the ability to pay for food on the mountain using the Liftopia app that holds the pass.

Founded by two ex-Hotwire team members, Evan Reece and Ron Schneiderman, Liftopia aggregates ski pass purchases, similar to what Expedia does for travel suppliers and OpenTable does for restaurant reservations.

Liftopia has raised more than $3 million to date and is backed by First Round Capital (early investors in Uber, Square, Mint and One Kings Lane), Lowercase Capital’s Chris Sacca (an early Google employee and early investor in Twitter, Uber and Instagram), Dave Morin (an early Facebook employee and founder of Path.com), Erik Blachford (early Expedia employee and CEO of Expedia, Inc./IAC Travel; investor in Hipmunk, Room 77 and Farecast), Sam Shank (founder of HotelTonight), and Gregg Brockway (founder of TripIt).