SPECIAL discounts to Falls Creek and Mount Hotham will no longer go to North East and Albury snow lovers.
US owner Vail Resorts, which bought the alpine complexes in April, has axed the Local Pass which provided cheaper entry tickets for those living within an easy drive of the mountains.
An email message sent last week to existing holders stated the Local Pass would no longer be sold and would be replaced by the Epic Australia Pass.
No explanation for the dumping of the Local Pass was offered and Vail spokeswoman Chelsea Rae did not respond on Tuesday to questions that she had invited The Border Mail to email.
The Local Pass in 2019 cost $260 upfront for adults and $150 for children aged six to 17 with day tickets discounted to $50 for adults and $40 for children.
The Epic pass for 2020, which offers unrestricted season access to the mountains, was initially offered at $829 for adults, $639 for over-65s and $469 for students, but its "price will rise periodically between now and next winter", Vail warned.
Alpine Shire deputy mayor Sarah Nicholas understood the step but noted a "fair bit of negative response".
"I can imagine Vail Resorts have looked at the finances and thought it doesn't stack up for them, but it's obviously very tough for people that have used it a lot in the past and found it the most cost-effective way to ski," Cr Nicholas said.
She said there was also frustration that over-70s would now have to pay after previously having free access.
"There's one man (aged 70) who has been skiing for 52 years and forking out top dollar and now he won't be able to ski for free," Cr Nicholas said.
Former Alpine councillor Zuvele Leschen, whose children learnt to ski via the pass being promoted in schools, said "it seems a bit of a slap in the face to locals to say 'we're going to treat you like everybody else' and it's a big added expense for local people".
"They rely on people of the valleys to keep the resorts running and it was nice gesture for community life," she said.