Gore Friends Program Scam

Gore Mountain Season's Pass
The Gore Mountain Friends Program is a passholder discount promotion designed to bring new skiers to the mountain.

It’s pretty simple really. For every NEW Gore Skier that you bring to the the mountain both you and that new skier get a 10% discount. All pass applications must be submitted together with full payment. It’s conceivable that one industrious organizer could get his or her pass free.

On March 6 of this past season I was riding the Straightbrook Quad with two skiers I didn’t know. We got to chatting and talking about pass prices. At $699 I think Gore’s full pass, including Whiteface, is one of the best deals in the Northeast.

Skier #1 made a comment to the effect that it WAS an even better deal than most people realized. Skier #2 shot him a glance, and subtly elbowed him.

I asked what he meant. Skier #1 said that with the friends program it was even cheaper. I knew about the discount program and had been part of it in my first passholding season 2006/2007.

I said … well that’s good your first time. He told me he’d been getting the discount for several years, by manipulating the system, in a way I won’t recount.

It amazed me that he was openly bragging about it. Clearly, I was a passholder; my badge was right on my sleeve. I couldn’t help think … who did he think he was stealing that money from? Yeah, he’s stealing it from the mountain. He’s stealing it from me too.

While Gore is profitable, the mountain is not a cash cow. ORDA reported that in 08/09 Gore did about $9.5M in revenue against $9.0M in operating costs. And with the current budget pressure the mountain is under, there a distinct possibility that either prices will rise, or services will decline, or both.

The way I see it, that’s going to cost legitimate passholders the most. I’d urge the mountain to do everything possible to crackdown on this fraud, and Gore skiers to report any incidents to management.

I’m curious if anyone knows about this scam. Post comments below.

4 comments on “Gore Friends Program Scam

  1. First I’ve heard of it, but it did get me thinking… I don’t recall Gore checking season pass application data against driver’s license data….

    And I agree—it’s dishonest and it’s stealing. It may not be as blatant as using someone else’s pass, but it’s just as wrong.

  2. Is management aware of/concerned about the problem or do they think that the losses from a few bad apples doesn’t compare to the gains from the referral program?

    Is there an easy fix (asking for a driver’s license as SIAWOL suggests)?

  3. What our family did for a couple years to bring down the cost of the passes was to spread the savings out to all the new skiers we brought in. Ok this is confusing but I’ll try to keep it simple. We wanted to take advantage of the “friends” program but we alone could not find enough friends who were not already pass holders. We told new pass people that we would not take all the savings ourselves but spread it around evenly to the whole group. That way the new folks found other new folks so that their ticket would be cheaper. Every time someone new joined the group, everyone’s ticket price went down. These were people I did not know and never would have been able to find on my own. We created an Excel spread sheet that did the calculations automatically. I had everyone give me cash and I went to the mountain with all the applications and handed in the whole package in at once. Gore only cared that the dollar amount was correct. It took a bit of work on my part but at the time with 5 skiers in my family it was a way to make it affordable.

  4. bigdogmom… what you’ve done is exactly what the mountain hopes for… industrious, organized people bringing new skiers to Gore. Way to go.

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