Airlines are raking it in with their fees these days…$1.38 Billion (for baggage and reservation changes) in the first three months of this year alone! Now, I don’t agree that airlines pay no taxes on the fees they collect from things such as checked bags, assigned seats, itinerary changes and those lovely ‘snack packs’. In particular, I find a statement from Spirit Airlines’ CEO Ben Baldanza in his testimony before the House Transportation Committee that checked bags are “not essential” to travel. Well Mr Baldanza, for anyone going on a vacation other than to a nudist colony, you might want to pack along a change or two of clothes, and if you’re taking a ski vacation I can think of a few other items to pack along as well.

This did get me to wondering if perhaps the airline fee-based model could work for the ski resort industry. In fact, here are a few ideas for fees that ski resorts could charge as well as a “lift ticket”:

  • Parking Fee – how about charging even more for people who don’t pre-pay for their parking?!
  • Man-Made Snow Access Fee – this would a great revenue producer in the early season, if you don’t pay, you don’t get to ski on the runs with man-made snow
  • Grooming Fee – those fancy grooming machines aren’t cheap and the people who drive them don’t work for free, so why not a fee to ski the groomed runs
  • Terrain Park Fee – jibs and jumps need a huge amount of building and maintenance
  • Mountain Evacuation Fee – I figure this could apply to any number of things, from toboggan rides to lift evacs
  • First Tracks Fee – for those who adhere to the “No friends on a powder day rule” and can afford to buy their fresh tracks
  • Front of the Line Fee – lift-line cutting fee for those who hate to wait
  • Gear Fee – you can ride the lift, but if you want to bring along a ski, pole or snowboard…pay up

What do you think about this shift to à la carte based pricing in the travel industry? Is it good, bad and what other crazy fees do you think a ski resort could charge for?!

Photo Credit: rcmaclean on Flickr