Triple ‘Major’ bust
Rivalry puts an end to popular ski pass
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 21:10
When it was announced that the Triple Major’s five-year reign would be ending this season, UVM’s skiers and snowboarders were forced to find new ways to hit the slopes.
Since 2007, the Triple Major ski pass gave students access to three mountains in Northern Vermont: Bolton Valley, Mad River Glen and Jay Peak Resort.
The Triple Major was the most purchased pass among UVM students, UVM Ski and Snowboard Club Secretary Catie Robison said.
So how did something so popular meet an early end?
The answer to that question depends on whom you ask.
Eric Friedman, marketing director for Mad River Glen, said the partnership with Jay and Bolton had gone pretty well, offering a variety of ski experiences to students, until money became a problem among the mountains.
“As we got into the planning stages for this season, those guys were fighting over money, arguing about who was going to get what,” Friedman said. “We had no great desire to do anything differently this year, but as the junior partner, we were sort of left out.”
While he said Mad River’s relation with the other two mountains is still friendly, Mad River chose to enter into its own agreement with Sugarbush Resort and Mt. Ellen to form the Threesome College Pass, which costs $359.
“Already the early returns look great,” Friedman said. “But then again, college students are notorious procrastinators. About 80 to 90 percent of sales come in at the last week.”
JJ Toland, Jay Peak’s director of communications, had a different explanation for the end of the Triple Major.
He stated in an email that the mountain’s decision to bow out of the partnership was mainly due to disagreement over the initial agreement that Jay Peak would handle most of the marketing expenses in exchange for a higher percentage of the revenue.
“Recently, some of the parties proposed a shifting of the revenue without a corresponding shift in the shouldering of sales and marketing expenses,” he stated. “As such, the resorts decided to go their own roads, so to speak.”
This year Jay is offering students the Judge Pass including their mountain and Burke Mountain for $249 before Nov. 5 and $499 after Nov. 5, according to the Jay Peak website.
Josh Arneson, the director of marketing at Bolton Valley, said the Triple Major’s sales had been flat and it was time for the mountain to try something new.
Bolton Valley is now part of the 2 for U ski pass with Smugglers’ Notch. The pass includes the two mountains closest to UVM and bus transportation for $249 until Oct. 31, after which point the price increases to $399, according to its website.
Jess Leal, a campus representative for Bolton, said some students were upset about not having access to Jay Peak, but that most of the initial reaction has died down.
“We’re doing well,” she said. “We’re right on par and it’s looking more promising than last year. ”
Even with long lines of students waiting to buy passes from UVM’s Ski and Snowboard Club, some students said the discontinuation of the Triple Major was their reason for not buying a pass this season.
First-year Eric Buser said he thought it was annoying having to ski the same two places every weekend.
“Now students have to pay more for the pass they want,” he said.
Junior Chuck Zamboni had a different take on the matter. He said he thought the end of the pass would mean more to skiers than snowboarders because Mad River does not allow snowboarding.
“A couple of my friends were pretty upset at first but most of them ended up getting passes to Sugarbush or Stowe,” he said. “I don’t know too many snowboarders who had the Triple Major.”