Liftopia Review — Review Disclosure
I used Liftopia on my own initiative and used personal funds to make my lift ticket purchase. Further, I have no outside interest in the success or failure of Liftopia. No announcement was made about my imminent use of Liftopia or the fact I was going to write this article.
Liftopia Review — The Ski Trip.
I used the lift ticket consolidator service Liftopia for the first time recently. Some friends and I planned a ski trip to Lutsen Mountains occurring the end of February 2016 and for the first days of March. Eager to save money (spend less ski more) I searched the various lift ticket consolidators and since Liftopia is the big name in that game that is the service that had the tickets I was interested in.
After we finalized the lodging reservations I logged onto Liftopia and a search of Liftopia showed Lutsen Mountain had lift tickets available on the days we would be skiing. So I got my credit card out and finalized the deal.
The process was mostly painless, but make sure you KNOW the days you will be using the lift tickets, as another cost of using this service is flexibility. Think of it along the lines of buying plane tickets, getting details incorrect will cost you!
Liftopia Review — Little Flexibility and the Process
Now, how did that go? It went well. You have a number of options with the low price giving no possibility of changing your tickets. Pay a bit more get some flexibility. I chose the least price and flexibility. Since we had other constraints (vacation plans filed with work, room reservations made, etc) locking us into specific dates I felt confident about the dates. However, I checked, rechecked, and rerechecked every input prior to finalizing the lift ticket purchase. Once I finalized the purchase the usual things we expect to happen with online purchases occurred.
I had a confirmation page appear and a confirmation e-mail appeared in my inbox. I was then able to print off my order and I filed it away in my trip file. Claiming my tickets at Lutsen was very easy, I presented the printout to the people at the central ticket office at Lutsen and shortly afterwards I was asked to sign-off on a delivery receipt and received my lift ticket. It was marked as a Liftopia ticket and was good for the two days I purchased. This was nice as the following day I did not have to mess around in the lift ticket office. This definitely helped with the ski-in and ski-out lodging.
How much did I save? Quite a bit, Lutsen charged my companions $86/day for the skiing and with Liftopia I paid a total of $107.17 nearly 40% of the walk-up price ($86*2 + tax = $183.83 including tax). Note, the charges include taxes and “recovery fees”
I was quite pleased with Liftopia and the purchase. However, Liftopia is only helpful if you are certain to the ski the days you select. Yes, as I note above you can pay a premium to get some flexibility but the flexibility is still mostly rigid. Of course big ski trips are rarely spur of the moment events and are planned well in advance. However, even with all of that planning events can still prevent you from skiing on the days you chose and then you lose, but the price reduction you get on skiing is well worth the risk you take on. If you can not stand to take on that risk then Liftopia is not for you, walk up and pay full prices or hope to score a cheapie in the parking lot, via Craig’s List, or in the local hospitality joints.
The further in advance you can purchase your lift-tickets by Liftopia the better. As our trip crept closer I checked pricing on Liftopia for the same tickets and the price increased. The week prior the price was close to the same as walking up. Liftopia makes no secret of the fact their pricing engine detects ski-resort-days that are “trending” and increases the price on those. So, when you finalize your ski trip plans, I suggest you get on Liftopia and purchase your skiing.
One other weakness I noticed is once you leave North America the number of participating resorts is minimal. I am in the early stages of planning a ski trip to Niseko to cap off a family vacation next year and I do not see Niseko on the list. However, I do believe Liftopia is working to bring more international resorts into their offerings.
I hope Liftopia works for the ski resorts too, a deal with a loser is not a deal but theft or a con-job. At the very least I am sure they benefit by getting some cash they can bank and earn interest off of (for a while) and they get an idea of how many people will be at their resort over that time period which is valuable too!
My experience with Liftopia was a great and I look forward to my next opportunity to using it. I suggest you too visit Liftopia to obtain your lift tickets on your next ski trip!