As Saratoga prepares to change lift ticket sales, which resorts still honor reserved passes?

Perhaps the best way to protect your money—and yourself—is to learn the rules of Washington ski resort and lift ticket sales—and then assume that you are the one who has to buy the tickets, not the other way around. Before you hit the slopes, contact at least three different sales operators to purchase passes in the order you want them, and then do so after you have had time to review the prices and deal with other considerations.

Loopholes in current rule regarding ski resort sales are so extensive that the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently issued a bulletin to every ski resort in the country to revise and improve the practices. As a result, it appears that New York’s Saratoga and Pennsylvania’s Shenandoah resorts, which have long maintained defensible practices, have joined the rest of the industry by eliminating them in some cases. Although the OCC had earlier warned that solicitations were being made and that customer solicitations were being held up, there was no recourse for those victims.

Saratoga recently announced that no fall and winter sales will take place. A spokesperson said the resort is now retaining the open-sell slots in ski passes rather than reselling them and will also be selling some spots on restricted sections, such as up top. Shenandoah had long maintained that it kept all of its licenses open for open sale, although the small inventory of Frontside tickets could now be obtained through other resorts. The Ridge to the Valley banner was recently taken off the lift that was previously linked to the reservation system. Ironically, the rotation on the ridge to the valley, or express lift, shift is a result of the return of a person from law enforcement (as reported by The Post’s recent weekly Landslide feature).

For fall and winter, the number of tickets available is limited and also the availability of advance tickets is limited. Chances are good that you won’t end up with the best price. To help protect yourself, people often complain that they think prices on internet sales are higher than those paid by paper tickets. Certainly the online rides are often smoother and less ugly than printed tickets, so they are worth the extra bit of effort. All you have to do is go to www.asparagus.com/skilights before you leave home. There, you will find a variety of online chances on where you might buy tickets and how much.

Enjoy.

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