In the 1880s, photojournalist Jacob Riis released “How the Other Half Lives,” which was a revolutionary book documenting the janky living conditions of New York City slums in the late 19th century.
The book kind of set the stage for future journalistic efforts by showing Americans the squalor-like working and living conditions that disadvantaged Americans were exposed to.
Today in the 21st century and this foul year of our Lord, “How the Other Half Lives” is a phrase encapsulating an entirely different aspect of the American condition.
We’re talking, of course, about people who can afford to ski at places like Vail and Beaver Creek.
Peak Rankings just released their rankings for most expensive American lift tickets for the 2022-2023 ski season, and if you’re like us, you’d be entirely unsurprised to learn that half of the ten ski areas named in the article are found in Colorado.
In an age where we’d like to tell our friends that we’re taking the season off to heal up a gnarly injury, or because we’re pursuing other adrenaline sports, the real reason we aren’t skiing this season is the same reason that we’re not living in Denver or buying name brand cereal: we can’t afford to.
Vail and Beaver Creek tied second for the country’s most expensive lift ticket, with walk-up rates costing $275 for a day pass.
According to the article, the rate is valid for all of March, as well as during holiday periods during the rest of the season.
“Both Vail and Beaver Creek do offer cheaper tickets ahead of time, as well as during the months of January and February, which are less busy,” reads the article. “But even advance-purchase tickets start at over $200 for adults, and start as high as $247 in March and on holidays.”
Steamboat came in at fourth, with tickets costing $269. Breckenridge came in at eighth, with tickets costing $255, and Winter Park came in at ninth, with walk-up tickets costing $249.
With an Epic Pass costing $859 for the season (now $909 for the 2023-24 season), you’d have to ski at Vail four times in a ski season for the pass to pay for itself (you know, in case your capitalism-addled brain thinks like ours does).
An Ikon pass was going for $1,179 this season, which means you’d have to ski five days at Steamboat for the pass to pay for itself.
However, we’d be remiss as journalists if we didn’t take the time to tell you that one Epic Pass could instead to be used to buy roughly 35 cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon.
In the same vein, an Ikon Pass could pay for roughly 50 cases of Coors Light, or, as we call it where we come from, “several weekends worth of beer.”
Maybe instead of being pessimistic, we should focus on the sports that we can afford. Namely, things like kickball, freeze tag, and Red Rover come to mind. (Red Rover is a proper noun and deserves capitalization, so sayeth Wikipedia.)
“But Rooster,” you whine. “Red Rover will only dislocate my shoulders. How am I to achieve the adrenaline rush I get when I bomb through trees at 30 miles per hour?”
Look, everyone knows that God gave us legs not to challenge our own mortalities through slip sliding down mountains, but to outrun our enemies in triumphant blazes of glory. Maybe instead of shelling out $1,200 and tearing both your ACLs next season, you could start a foot pursuit with the police. You know, the way our Lord intended?