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Flurry of price increases proposed for Boyce Park slopes

| Tuesday, June 17, 2014, 10:54 p.m.

Proposed increases in the price of lift tickets, ski rentals, lessons and tubing at Boyce Park could generate about $200,000 in revenue, Allegheny County Council Vice President Nick Futules said.

Futules, chair of the Parks Committee, introduced legislation at council's meeting on Tuesday to raise lift ticket rates between $4 and $8. Ski rentals would go up $5, and lessons would increase between $2 and $10. Snow tubing would increase between $4 and $5.

The fees have not been raised in five years, said Futules, D-Oakmont.

“We're trying to get closer to the break-even point,” he said after the meeting.

The proposal was sent to the Parks Committee for further review.

The ski area at Boyce Park in Plum had its most successful winter in years last season, shattering attendance records and slashing annual loses of more than $400,000 to $100,000 to $200,000, according to the county. Futules said the success spurred increased costs, including a $30,000 to $35,000 water bill for snowmaking and new rental equipment needed to keep up with demand. Last winter, the county entered into a contract with Jim Shultz and Mountain Works to make snow and maintain equipment. The ski hill stayed open for 100 days, up from 60 days during the 2012-13 season. Nearly 35,000 people visited, 24,000 more than last year.

“We didn't think it was the right thing to ask for an increase because we hadn't produced,” county Executive Rich Fitzgerald said about Boyce Park fees during his quarterly address to council on Tuesday. “But I think this winter we showed we could produce,”

Lift tickets at Boyce Park — $14 for an adult weekend or holiday ticket — were “woefully” lower than competing ski areas, Fitzgerald said. The proposed increase by Futules would raise the weekend or holiday adult ticket to $22.

Aaron Aupperlee is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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