Season pass sales ahead of last year 

The decision to lower the price of season passes this season because of inconveniences associated with the Olympics has been well-received by customers, according to Whistler Blackcomb.

While the majority of pass sales are usually last-minute, and Whistler Blackcomb expects the usual rush before the Oct. 12 early bird deadline, president and COO Dave Brownlie says interest is high since passes went on sale last week.

"It's really positive, we've gotten some tremendously positive feedback from guests out there and so far some strong sales," he said. "Obviously it's early, but we're pacing ahead of last year at this point."

Part of the reason for the stronger sales is a special promotion where the first 2,000 people to purchase passes get two tickets to medal celebrations in Whistler or Vancouver.

Season pass holders also have the option of purchasing a $500 Whistler Blackcomb gift card and three lift tickets for a price of $429, which has also been well-received.

But it's the lower-priced passes that are having the biggest impact on sales. Until Oct. 12 an early bird season pass is available for $1,099, the lowest price in 10 years. That's $430 less than last season's early bird price.

Spirit pass prices have also been reduced to $999, down from $1,149 in 2008-09, and similar reductions are being offered for Edge Card purchasers. Edge cards went on sale on Aug. 27, with 10-day cards available for $584, five-day cards for $319, a new three-day card for $199 and a one-day card for $69. Seniors, youth and children pay up to half as much, depending on the type of pass.

"It's always positive when you get the reaction that you were hoping for," said Brownlie of the strong first week of pass sales. "It's great when people go 'great, it's exciting, I'm excited to save money and I'm committing to this year,' but it's even better when you get people saying that at that price they're going to get a pass this year, when they may have purchased a 10-day card or weekday pass before. Some people are planning to ski more than they have in the past, and that's great for us to hear."

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