ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — Want first crack at the runs in Aspen? The Aspen Skiing Co. is offering an "Ultimate Ski Pass" that will let you have unlimited first tracks before chairlifts open to the public — for $25,000.
The exclusive passes also allow holders to meet members of the U.S. Women's Ski Team when they race in Aspen on Thanksgiving weekend. The pass also buys them breakfast with Aspen native Bill Marolt, president of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association.
When Ultimate Ski Pass holders are ready to ski, they can bring up to three friends. They can take a private tour of the four ski areas of Aspen-Snowmass with a member of Skico's management team and ride on a snowcat on a grooming mission. They also can take a "behind-the-scenes tour" with the ski patrol.
The pass is transferable and valid at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk.
It's the third year the ski resort has sold the high-cost ski passes. Aspen Skiing Co. says it is offering 18 of the passes this season and has sold one, The Aspen Times reported (http://goo.gl/VOLhK ).
"We've typically sold two or three (of the passes per season) so we don't have an expectation that we will sell them all," said Matt Hamilton, Skico director of sustainability.
The Ultimate Ski Pass has perks for more than just the few who can afford it. The passes raise money for public schools in the Roaring Fork Valley and support events tied to World Cup ski racing in Aspen.
In a promotional piece for the Ultimate Ski Pass, the resort says, "Education has been one of the pillars of successful societies, but it's under assault in our valley." The promotional pitch also tries to fire up prospective Ultimate Pass buyers by saying their purchase will help the resort keep the World Cup racing tradition alive after first hosting the World Championships in 1950.
The Ultimate Pass morphed out of the Foundation Mountain Pass, which raised funds for the Aspen Community Fund and a foundation connected to the owners. In that program, a pass good for four seasons was sold for $135,000.