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pass prices

Start counting the pennies, working overtime or looking for a new job if getting a season pass for skiing is in the cards for you. Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains have released their rates for the 1995/96 season and most categories will see an increase of four to six per cent over last season. The passes go on sale Sept. 1 and early birds have until the 25th to get their discount. An early bird Dual Mountain unlimited adult pass, with GST, is $1,133.13, and goes to $1,385.65 after the 25th. The popular Dual Mountain Ambassador Pass is $1,004.73, with GST, for those who work to play on the mountains. The Ambassador Pass will include some new discounts and other benefits. "In spite of a $6-million expenditure, we are really pleased the prices have remained close to last year," says Alicia Vennos of Whistler Mountain’s marketing department. "The Creekside Pass is still the best value in town," she says. This $929.83 pass, with GST, enables access to the mountain from the Quicksilver lift only before 11 a.m. After 11 it is good for the village gondola station. Blackcomb is offering the Blackcomb Resort Card, which links your season pass to your credit card, allowing passholders to charge purchases at the mountain. The pass uses a new video-imaging system and will be re-usable each season. Both mountains are offering new runs and other improvements this season, as well as wage increases for staff. Day tickets are $49 at each mountain, and $51 for a dual mountain. Aspen Skiing Co. has become the first American ski area to break the U.S. $50 ticket barrier (about $66 Cdn.) for regular season lift tickets, according to The Oregonian newspaper. Vail is apparently maintaining last year's ticket price of U.S. $48. At Fernie Snow Valley, an adult season pass purchased before Nov. 1 is $540 with tax and $450 before August 31. At Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon, the adult pass is $525 with tax until Sept. 30 and the regular rate is $660. A day ticket is $42.