RUMFORD — When skiers return to Black Mountain Ski Resort this winter, they’ll find that the all-day lift tickets are a little more expensive.

Roger Arsenault, president of the Black Mountain Operating Board, announced Tuesday that Black Mountain plans to raise the price of their all-day lift tickets from $15 to $25 in an effort to “keep their operations sustainable.”

Arsenault said Wednesday that the Black Mountain Operating Board has been discussing the possibility of raising the price of lift tickets since “the middle of last winter.”

“After this season ended, we all knew that our main goal is to provide affordable winter recreation for skiers,” Arsenault said. “The thing is, we have to break even, and looking at our projections, even at zero growth, we were still in line to lose a little money. The trick is to find a pricing structure that still provides affordable winter recreation and allows us to keep everything the way it is.”

Before making a final decision, Arsenault said that he and the rest of the operating board took several factors into consideration, including the local fundraising efforts that residents have started, the amount of maintenance and capital improvements scheduled for the coming years and the fact that residents voted to approve $25,000 for Black Mountain at the June 10 referendum ballot.

“We also took into consideration that the ski season is predicated on the quality of the weather,” Arsenault said. “We considered all of these things before making a final decision. We could’ve said that lift tickets are $50, and that would’ve taken care of all of our problems, but our purpose was to find a balance between preventing stagnating growth and providing great, affordable winter recreation.”

Greg Sweetser, executive director of Ski Maine Association in Portland, said that he always saw the $15 lift ticket as a “promotional push” by Black Mountain, and that the mountain “will do fine” with an increase to $25.

“If you look at Bigrock Mountain Ski Area in Mars Hill, they had a $15 lift ticket a couple of years ago, too,” Sweetser said. “Last year, they raised their ticket prices. The bottom line is that raising the ticket prices from $15 to $25 is smart in so many ways. It allows Black Mountain to sustain their operations and allows them to meet a value-to-price ratio. Black Mountain obviously felt that $25 met that ratio, and I believe it meets that ratio, too.”

Sweetser later said that he heard “unsolicited comments from skiers” last year about how “they would continue to ski at Black Mountain if prices were raised.”

“I think people are starting to realize now that nothing’s free,” Sweetser said. “It’s difficult to run a ski resort. There’s a lot of things to take into consideration. I think that Black Mountain will do just fine.”

Arsenault clarified that the price of lift tickets purchased on Fridays were still $15, and that the free ski program geared towards kids in kindergarten, first grade and second grade is still available, which “helps young families get back into the sport.”

“Of course, we’ll be monitoring ticket sales at all the major benchmarks throughout the year and see how we’re doing,” Arsenault added.

If skiers purchase an alpine season pass between July 1 and August 31, the cost will be $175. The price increases to $210 if purchased between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, and $250 if purchased after Nov. 1.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.