Ski industry skews big, so smaller resorts tout authenticity

Markets Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, a skier enjoys a run on the opening day of ski season at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado as A-Basin becomes the first ski resort in North America to open for the season. The ski industry skews big, with megaresorts adding terrain and attractions. Smaller resorts can't compete with the big guys, so they tout authenticity. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, a skier enjoys a run on the opening day of ski season at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado as A-Basin becomes the first ski resort in North America to open for the season. The ski industry skews big, with ... megaresorts adding terrain and attractions. Smaller resorts can't compete with the big guys, so they tout authenticity. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File) (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, skiers and boarders who have waited in line since Oct. 19 for the first chair react on the opening day of ski season at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado as A-Basin becomes the first ski resort in North America to open for the season. The ski industry skews big, with megaresorts adding terrain and attractions. Smaller resorts can't compete with the big guys, so they tout authenticity. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)

    FILE - In this Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, skiers and boarders who have waited in line since Oct. 19 for the first chair react on the opening day of ski season at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado as A-Basin becomes the first ski resort in North ... America to open for the season. The ski industry skews big, with megaresorts adding terrain and attractions. Smaller resorts can't compete with the big guys, so they tout authenticity. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File) (The Associated Press)

The ski industry is getting bigger — or at least a few companies that own ski resorts are getting bigger.

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So the smaller guys are playing up their local personalities to stay competitive.

From baking fresh doughnuts for skiers to displaying local art to play up a sense of community, independent resorts need all the help they can get to compete with megaresorts.

One Colorado mountain offers the nation's most expensive lift ticket — $700. Only this lift ticket comes with a sweet bonus: A pair of handcrafted skis made from Colorado wood.

Other mountains brag about low visitation numbers or the fact that they don't use snow-making machines.

It's a way of turning their disadvantages into an advantage. Owners of smaller ski resorts say they need to play up their differences to hang on in a consolidating industry.