Deer Valley COO Says Ikon Pass Exposing Different Crowds To The Resort

Feb 22, 2019

The Summit County Council on Wednesday heard from the Chief Operating Officer of Deer Valley that the resort has had a phenomenal year.

And in particular, Todd Shallan talked about the impacts they’re seeing from the sales of their Ikon Pass.

The council talked to Shallan as part of their regular effort to touch base with the operations of both Deer Valley, and its rival, the Park City Mountain Resort and Canyons Village, held by Vail.

Shallan said the FIS World Championships held at Deer Valley, PCMR and Solitude were a big success. For President’s Day Weekend, they were sold out.

And he joked that he’d been working with late-night host Stephen Colbert. That was a reference to the Colbert monologue where he talked about the skier-collision lawsuit filed against Gwyneth Paltrow—and spent much of the time on a glowing review of the resort.

He also talked about the sales of their Ikon Pass—allowing a pass holder access to all 14 resorts in the U.S. held by parent company Alterra—including Solitude on the other side of the Wasatch Range. He noted that the rate for the pass has some difference for holidays.

“Especially on holiday days there’s restrictions on the pass anyways so you have to have the upgraded pass,” Shallan said. “Which is probably about 30% across the nation, 30% of the passes sold were the upgraded pass and 70% were the base pass.”

Shallan said with the Ikon, they are seeing a different turn-out.

“What we’re seeing is more people on the mountain on the non-capacity days and that’s a change,” Shallan continued. “It is a change and we have different ownership now that cares more about increasing the business then I think our past owners did. Their focus was just different, it wasn’t right or wrong it was just different. An average day we probably have 700-800 people on the mountain more than we would have a year ago because of the Ikon pass. On the other hand, I got a letter yesterday from a 20-year season pass holder who was so excited about the fact that she met people on the lift from Maine, from Canada, from other places that would never have come here before, and younger people that may not have been able to afford Deer Valley before.”

He said that with an aging skier demographic, their resorts have to attract more of the next generation.

Shallan said this season, Deer Valley hit its daily capacity on six days.

“It’s the other 112 days a year that it’s helping us,” Shallan explained. “It’s helping us in food and beverage. It’s helping us in retail and ski rentals and ski services. Across the board we’re busier which from our perspective is good. I do recognize that for 38 years it’s been kind of a sleepy place on many days and that’s going to change a little bit with more Ikon pass holders. We’re learning like everybody is, it’s the first year of Ikon pass for all of us. So we’re all learning who’s going where and what the move is. What is interesting is because of the technology we now know if we had 100 Ikon pass skiers today, we know where they came from, so we know now how to market better.”