Cheap passes bring new guests to the slopes

With most Canadian ski resorts charging adults anywhere from $60 to $100 for a day of skiing or snowboarding, Banff’s Mount Norquay is offering a cheaper alternative: Toonie Thursdays.

Lift passes at Norquay cost only $2 for all ages to ski or snowboard for the day on one Thursday of every month during the season.

The resort developed the concept after it celebrated their 85th anniversary last year by charging patrons only 85 cents for a lift pass.

Albertans can enjoy a trip out to the mountains to ski Mount Norquay for only $2 one Thursday per month during the season.

Photo courtesy of Mount Norquay General manager Andre Quenneville said the anniversary event was so big, allowing them to have publicity they wouldn’t usually be able to afford.

Passes are only $2 as opposed to the usual $59 for an adult day pass.

Quenneville said the mountain makes up in attendance for any money lost from the lower pass price, as well as in patrons spending money in other places on the hill.

“We have noticed this year there are a lot more rentals, so people are taking the opportunity to come out and try skiing,” Quenneville said.

With the monthly reduced rate, skiers are noticing the lodge cafeteria and ski school overflowing with newcomers.

Calgarian Tracee Collins, who frequents Mount Norquay every Thursday with the Rut Runners program, said it’s been interesting to watch the different people come out to ski on Toonie Thursdays.

“You saw a lot of the older guys, or the people who didn’t have the fancy equipment, or people with a different social economic background,” Collins said. “People just really appreciated to get to ski for $2.”

A comparison of the different ticket prices throughout main Alberta and British Columbian ski resorts shows that Toonie Thursday is worth the lineups.

Graphic by Laren PritchardAngelique Garcia was among the many people who participated in the January Toonie Thursday event. She chose to take advantage of the cheap pass, but not spend her money elsewhere on the mountain.

“I may have also bought a hot chocolate, but I didn’t feel the need to spend all the money I was saving,” Garcia said.

Garcia found that the mountain was overcrowded. She said that didn’t bother her too much, though, as the pass was so cheap.

While she normally frequents Lake Louise and Sunshine Mountain, Toonie Thursday allowed her to try a new mountain.

Management has begun to talk about possibly raising the price a few dollars next year in order to limit the amount of guests, with the past event almost filling the resort to overcapacity.

Toonie Thursday runs March 21 and April 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

lpritchard@cjournal.ca