MONEY Travel

Spring Ski Lift Pass Deals Offer the Best Value on Snow

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John W Banagan/Getty Images

Ski resorts around the country—and in New England in particular—have rolled out new springtime deals that promise tons of skiing for a relative pittance.

Walk up to the ticket window this weekend at Killington, the East Coast’s largest ski resort, and a one-day adult lift pass will cost a cool $92. For a little more than double that, however, the 1,509-acre Vermont resort is selling a special spring season pass that provides unlimited skiing for two months, or perhaps even more. Killington is known to stay open until June, depending on conditions, and the pass, dubbed the “Nor’Beaster” and priced at $199, grants lift access from March 14 until whenever the season ends.

Killington isn’t the only mountain with springtime lift ticket deals featuring seemingly screwy pricing. Okemo, just south of Killington, offers a Spring Skiesta Card for $99, allowing unlimited lift tickets from March 20 through the end of the season. Further south still, the $119 Spring Loaded pass at Bromley provides four days of skiing any day now through December 18, 2015. Considering that the walkup price for lift tickets at Okemo and Bromley go as high as $92 and $71, it’s easy to see how these passes can pay off in as little as two days.

How could it make sense for mountains to offer multi-day passes at rates that seem phenomenally cheap compared with the regular walkup price? Especially given that it’s been an absolutely amazing winter for skiing in the Northeast, and it sure looks like the record snowfall is leading right into a terrific, long spring ski season?

One explanation is that resorts are trying to eke out every last dollar from customers during a time of year when—regardless of how much snow is still on the ground—attention shifts away from winter sports toward golf, baseball, or pretty much anything that doesn’t involve snow and cold.

On the one hand, these resorts are theoretically losing money from guests who would have paid full price for several days’ worth of lift tickets during the spring season. On the other, the mountains are potentially cashing in from guests who are nudged into the upsell of a pricier pass, which they might not even use for more than a single day. As for those skiers and riders who do get the most bang out of their spring passes, they’re likely eating, drinking, getting tune-ups, booking hotels, and otherwise spending money that the resort probably wouldn’t otherwise see had the deals not been so tempting. If they get you to come back one more weekend than you planned on, that’s a win for the resort.

At some point, resorts are also simply compelled to offer super cheap spring promotions because that’s what the competition is doing. The mountains that don’t enter the game will lose the battle to woo a pool of skiers that shrinks smaller and smaller as the season comes to a close.

While cheap, end-of-season passes have grown particularly popular in the Northeast, there are plenty of deals out West as well. Oregon’s Timberline, for instance, is selling a spring pass with unlimited skiing and riding now through May 25 for just $99. Steamboat in Colorado, meanwhile, offers a “Springalicious” pass good for any three days from April 5 to 12, as well as a Double Dip Pass valid for unlimited skiing from April 5 at Steamboat and Winter Park/Mary Jane, starting at $169.

Multi-day passes are hardly the only kinds of deals waved in front of skiers to keep them coming back to the mountains in springtime. A common marketing strategy to get customers to pay up for season passes early is to let them ski for free in the spring on a pass that’s valid for the following winter. There are also wacky one-day deals aimed at attracting skiers for one last spring hurrah, like Patriot’s Day at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, when a lift ticket purchased on April 20 not only costs just $17.76, it comes with a voucher good for a second day early next season.

Let’s also not forget that the vast majority of ski mountains now utilize dynamic pricing sites like Liftopia and GetSkiTickets.com to sell discounted tickets at whatever price the laws of supply and demand dictate. It goes without saying that prices at these discount sites are substantially cheaper in the spring than they are during peak winter weeks.

It also goes without saying that there’s rarely any reason to pay the full walkup price for lift tickets anywhere, no matter what time of year.

TIME Appreciation

Retired Janitor Shocks Community With $8 Million Bequest

Surprise Benefactor
AP—AP In this December 2011 photo, Connie Howe pours coffee for Ronald Read, left, and Dave Smith during the Charlie Slate Memorial Christmas breakfast at the American Legion in Brattleboro, Vt.

He left the money to a local hospital and library

A former gas-station attendant who lived a modest life in Vermont surprised even his friends and family with a $6 million posthumous gift to his local library and hospital.

Ronald Read, who died in June at age 92, made his fortune in the stock market but never changed his frugal habits and never revealed the fortune he had amassed, according to the Brattleboro Reformer. The only hint? His regular reading of the Wall Street Journal, stepson Philip Brown told the Reformer.

His $4.8 million gift to the local hospital and $1.2 million gift to the local library represent the largest donations in the history of either institution.

Read was born in Dummerston, Vermont in 1921 and served during World War II. He returned to Brattleboro where he worked at a gas station for 25 years and then as a janitor as a local J.C. Penny for nearly 20 years.

Read more at the Brattleboro Reformer

TIME marketing

Vermont Man Wins Right to Use ‘Eat More Kale’ Slogan, Despite Chick-Fil-A Objections

Bo Muller-Moore stands in his home studio in Montpelier, Vt. Muller-Moore, the Vermont man who is building a business around the term "eat more kale," which has been plastered on T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items, is running into opposition from the second largest fried chicken retailer in the country, Chick-fil-A, on Nov. 22, 2011.
Toby Talbot—AP Bo Muller-Moore stands in his home studio in Montpelier, Vt. Muller-Moore, the Vermont man who is building a business around the term "eat more kale," which has been plastered on T-shirts, bumper stickers and other items, is running into opposition from the second largest fried chicken retailer in the country, Chick-fil-A, on Nov. 22, 2011.

Bo Muller-Moore is now free to print the phrase on T-shirts

Correction appended

The Vermont man who went up against Chik-fil-A to defend his right to use the phrase “Eat More Kale” — which the fast food company argued was too close to its trademarked slogan “Eat Mor Chikin” — has won his legal battle to use the trademark.

Bo Muller-Moore can now silkscreen “Eat More Kale” onto T-shirts to his heart’s content, because the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office approved his request to trademark the phrase. The application was held up for a while, but a “black-out-period” for Muller-Moore’s request ended on Tuesday, his lawyer said.

The approval comes after a drawn-out battle with Chik-fil-A over the use of the slogan. Muller-Moore started selling T-shirts with the phrase “Eat More Kale” in 2000 after a kale farmer friend asked him to make them.

But shortly after Muller-Moore attempted to trademark the phrase in 2011, Chik-fil-A sent him a letter requesting he stop using the saying because it was too similar to their “Eat Mor Chikin” catchphrase, and listed 30 other companies who had agreed to stop using the “eat more” language in their marketing.

Muller-Moore is expected to make a formal announcement of the victory Friday with Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

The original version of this story misidentified Muller-Moore’s phrase, “Eat More Kale.” It is a trademark.

TIME Food & Drink

Starbucks Says It Has Nothing to Do With a High-Profile GMO Lawsuit

Sandy Roberts
Ted S. Warren—AP Sandy Roberts, Starbucks strategy manager for global coffee engagement, pours samples of coffee for shareholders and other guests at Starbucks' annual shareholders meeting in Seattle on March 19, 2014

Coffee chain issues denial after rocker Neil Young urges boycott

Starbucks has announced that it has nothing to do with litigation being brought against the state of Vermont over the labeling of genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

Canadian rock legend Neil Young attempted to launch a boycott of Starbucks on Sunday, accusing it of joining forces with Monsanto “to sue Vermont, and stop accurate food labeling.”

Last spring, Vermont passed a law requiring all products containing GMOs to be properly labeled by July 1, 2016, reports People.

Young’s belief that Starbucks was part of a suit to have the law declared unconstitutional prompted him to declare on his website: “I used to line up and get my latte everyday, but yesterday was my last one.” He then appealed to the public to join him in a Starbucks boycott.

However, it looks like it could all be a storm in a coffee cup. The coffee giant released a statement denying that it is involved in the litigation.

“Starbucks is not a part of any lawsuit pertaining to GMO labeling nor have we provided funding for any campaign,” the statement says. “Starbucks is not aligned with Monsanto to stop food labeling or block Vermont State law.”

Young has yet to respond.

[People]

TIME 2014 Election

America Needs More Crazy Debates Like In Vermont

C-Span

Vermont's gubernatorial debate was a sure cure for the nation's political blues

Most televised political debate in the United States is a lifeless, platitude-laden sideshow with virtually no value except as a grim form of entertainment, like watching democracy itself fed to the lions at the Coliseum. That is why Vermont’s recent gubernatorial debate, in which every candidate on the ballot was invited to participate, was such a breath of fresh air.

Vermont’s Democratic incumbent governor Peter Shumlin has a virtual lock on the election, with a double-digit lead over Republican challenger Scott Milne. Fortunately, the five other candidates on the ballot made for a lively discussion October 9.

In a world where political campaigning has been largely reduced to platitudes and soundbites, Vermonter and revolutionary socialist Pete Diamondstone called for the overthrow of the entire capitalist system and the outlawing of private enterprise. His solution for the problem of illegal drug use is to legalize everything and make the government the national drug dealer. One need not pass judgement on the quality of his program, but if suggesting that Uncle Sam start slinging smack isn’t thinking outside the box, pretty much nothing is. Plus the whole time, he appeared to be wearing jorts with suspenders and tall white socks, which counts for something as long as we’re going to fight about whether or not the president is allowed to wear a tan suit.

Emily Peyton

So much is taken for granted when our politicians get together to argue. Not so in Vermont last week, when self-described “lightworker” and most-chill candidate ever Emily Peyton answered a question about healthcare by suggesting we start by alleviating poverty. With poverty a major player in our obesity epidemic, her point may be too often left aside in our debates on healthcare. Peyton’s comment that money spent on healthcare “ought to go to the healers” may be a little rich in New Age lingo but her point is worth considering, with administrative costs a major driver of the increase on the pricetag of going to the doctor.

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And it’s not just the refreshing willingness of dark horse candidates to state the obvious that endears one to this debate, but the humble honesty on display. To a question about how to lower the cost of college in Vermont, Bernard Peters—who is either a Duck Dynasty fanboy, a very dedicated hipster or just extremely legit—said, more or less, that he had no idea. Later the Libertarian candidate Dan Feliciano was asked about the incumbent governor’s program to get drug offenders into recovery rather than behind bars. He said, without equivocation, that he’d do literally nothing different. Good luck finding a mainstream candidate who would publicly take that position.

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There’s the pure entertainment factor too (which was in no short display at Idaho’s similarly bizarre debate earlier this year). Through it all Cris Ericson and her extraordinary hat were fighting the good fight for highway rest area enthusiasts, chemtrail conspiracy theorists and food stamp recipients, who, she noted for reasons unknown to the rest of us, might be using food stamps to buy lottery tickets to get rich to be able to afford fruits and vegetables. So there’s also that, whatever that is.

Two of the candidates said one of the most important things they’d do if given the power is ensure that debates are open to every candidate on the ballot. Until Game of Thrones comes back there’s no better entertainment out there and with the dark horses thrown into the mix we might actually have some useful discussion.

You can watch the entire debate here.

TIME Exercise

The Worst States for Exercise

Running
Getty Images

A new Gallup survey finds that people in Delaware and West Virginia are the least likeliest Americans to take exercising seriously. Their counterparts? Vermont and Hawaii, where 65 percent of their state populations get active at least three days a week

Residents of states like Delaware and West Virginia are the least likely in the nation to take exercising seriously, according to a new Gallup survey. Declared the worst state for exercise, only 46.5% of Delaware inhabitants are likely to exercise for 30 or more minutes three days a week or more. Compare that to Vermont lovers, 65.3% of whom report exercising a minimum of three days a week for 30 minutes each, followed by Hawaii-dwellers (62.2%). Some might say those states, which are recognized for their wealth of outdoor activities, have a natural advantage.

Here are the 10 worst states for exercise (% exercising 3+ days a week):

1. Delaware 46.5%
2. West Virginia 47.1%
3. Alabama 47.5%
4. New Jersey 47.7%
5. Rhode Island 48.2%
6. Tennessee 49.2%
7. New York 49.3%
8. Ohio 49.3%
9. Indiana 49.4%
10. South Carolina 49.7%

And these are the 10 best states for exercise (% exercising 3+ days a week):

1. Vermont 65.3%
2. Hawaii 62.2%
3. Montana 60.1%
4. Alaska 60.1%
5. Colorado 59.8%
6. Oregon 58.0%
7. Idaho 57.7%
8. New Mexico 57.4%
9. Nebraska 56.3%
10. North Dakota 56.0%

Vermont also tops the poll of states most likely to eat produce, while Oklahoma is the least likely to do a good job at eating greens.

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