2006 | Inflation on the slopes

Lift tickets at Washington’s six major resorts are up 5.2 percent from last year on weekdays and 4.9 percent on weekends this season, costing skiers and snowboarders an extra $2.16 a day.

The average lift ticket will be $47.76 on weekends and $44.42 on weekdays.

“We hate to raise prices again, but costs are still going up,” said Crystal Mountain owner John Kircher, who’s upped rates to $53 from $45 since 2004-05. “But, industrywide, our prices are fair.”

Most expensive: Crystal’s $53 weekday price is the highest of all Washington resorts. From Christmas to New Year’s Day and on Monday holidays, Stevens Pass charges a high of $57, $9.24 above the average.

Least expensive: A weekend ticket at White Pass goes for $41, $6.76 below average, and weekday tickets are $31, $11.42 below average.

Biggest price hike: Mission Ridge jumped to $46 from $42.

Smallest jump: Mount Baker was the only major resort not to raise prices, staying at $42.54.

Why prices are going up: Resort owners and general managers say they’re keeping up with operating costs.

The starting salary at Crystal is $9, up from $7.50; it’s up by 50 cents to $9.50 at White Pass. To stay competitive, hourly wages for lift mechanics at Crystal are up $10.

Kircher says he’s taken a hit because of the declining value of the dollar in Europe, where most lift and grooming equipment and components are built.

“We are adding the new lift next year,” Kircher said, “then we will stay the same or go up a few bucks and hold steady for a while.”