Skiers express mixed opinions on Seven Springs purchase


Western Pennsylvanians are in for four long months of frigid temperatures, large coats and icy roads. While many dread the upcoming weather, others are looking forward to the few outdoor winter activities they partake in: skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing. People in this area predominantly visit Hidden Valley and Seven Springs Resorts for their skiing and snowboarding needs. Recently, both resorts were purchased by Vail Resorts. This purchase is creating change in how skiers may want to purchase lift tickets, and how the resorts will be operating. 

The Ski Club specifically has obstacles to tackle when purchasing tickets. Ms. Linnea Homa, who sponsors Ski Club, is working hard to push for fundraisers so that new skiers can better afford passes and rentals. 

For starters, Vail Resorts is heavily pushing for customers to invest in Epic Passes rather than single-use lift tickets.

“Not much has changed [when planning ski trips]. The contact person has changed. When [Seven Springs Resorts] sent the information, they were pushing for groups to buy Epic Passes,” Homa said.

Epic Passes will allow for prices per ticket to be as low as 41 dollars per trip (not including rentals). Other benefits to Epic Passes include 20% off food, lodging and rentals. Epic Passes will also be scanned before riding lifts. 

“I know my brother bought a season pass, and they are being more strict with that kind of stuff, with whether you’re a student and whether you get the discounts or not. Other than that, I think they will keep a lot of policies the same,” senior Colin Fricke, Ski Club president, said. 

As far as renting goes, the main change made is that ski rentals and snowboard rentals will go up, but a helmet will be included in the cost.

“I think that it’s a good thing that [helmets] are included, that way people don’t have to go out and buy ones if they don’t have one. It’s a good thing for safety, especially for new skiers,” Homa said. 

Other changes made with Vail Resorts will be workers’ wages. Vail has announced that their minimum wage at Seven Springs will be raised to twenty dollars an hour. 

“I think it is good that the workers are getting paid 20 dollars minimum wage under Vail because they work hard on the slopes, so they should be getting paid well,” senior Megan Jones said. 

Although Vail Resorts is making some positive changes, many skiers express concern about one company buying out so many Ski Resorts. In fact, according to National Ski Area Association, Vail owns 38 resorts, being the largest ski resort company in the world. 

“I think it’s starting a monopoly because Vail is going to buy every ski resort out. Skiing is going to become more expensive,” senior Sydney Beringer said. 

Altogether, experienced skiers are excited to get back on the slopes and welcome new skiers through Ski Club. 

“Obviously there’s a learning curve to it, that can be pretty big to some people, while some people catch on quickly. I’d say to try it, and if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come to the next trip. But, I think people will really like it if they give it a try,” Fricke said.