CASPER, Wyo. — With Hogadon Basin Ski Area set to offer night skiing for this first time this season, the Casper City Council discussed a proposed fee schedule during its Tuesday, October 11 work session.
The “Friends of Hogadon” raised money to help fund the lighting project. Another group, the Zimmerman Family Foundation, has offered to cover any shortfall up to $60,000 the city incurs from operational expenses of offering night skiing. The foundation will cover such shortfalls for the first three years that night skiing is offered.
Council member Kyle Gamroth asked what will happen after those three years are up.
“We already subsidize Hogadon to the tune of $280,000 [per year],” Gamroth said, asking whether offering night skiing past three years could potentially increase costs the city pours into the ski area.
City Manager Carter Napier said that if night skiing proves unpopular, city staff would likely recommend that the service be discontinued in order to avoid adding to the subsidy. He said that in that case, the lights would remain available for special nights that might take place a few nights per season or would be available for ski teams renting the facility.
Napier said that until night skiing gets underway, he can’t say one way or the other what it could potentially mean for the city’s bottom line three years down the road.
Casper Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Director Zulima Lopez said that Hogadon is preparing to offer night skiing from 3-8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Donors were consulted in coming up with the proposed fee schedule for night skiing at Hogadon. The proposed fee schedule included in a memo in the city council’s work packet is as follows:
The city council indicated support for moving forward with this fee schedule during Tuesday’s work session. As this was an informal vote, the council will be asked to consider a formal resolution to set the fees during next week’s regular council meeting.
City staff and donors to the Hogadon night skiing project researched prices at other ski resorts in the region in coming up with the proposed fee schedule. Hogadon will be only the second resort in Wyoming to offer night skiing, according to the memo from city staff. Six resorts in Colorado offer night skiing.
The majority of resorts offer night passes separate from day passes. However, Keystone Resort, Echo Mountain and Howelsen Hill offer night skiing along with their day passes. Rates for night skiing across the region are shown as follows in the memo:
Hogadon staff are recommending rates lower than regional resorts since only two runs will be available. Hogadon will offer night skiing on the Boomerang and Park runs. Another reason to offer lower night skiing rates is to make skiing more affordable and thereby attract the public.
Another recommendation is for Hogadon to offer night skiing at a reduced rate to holders of regular season passes rather than increasing the rate of regular season passes for all users. Staff and the donors are also recommending a night skiing only pass.
Regular Hogadon season and day pass rates for the year are as follows:
Hogadon shared video of the first light test for the new night skiing in August:
Hogadon had initially planned to launch night skiing last winter, but structural flaws with Hogadon’s new light poles were identified and prevented that from happening.
The initial project had an original estimated cost of $385,000-$405,000 with “Friends of Hogadon” raising money to fund the project.