You are showing how little time you have been in this game. In the 90's a season pass at Snoq's would have cost you nearly $1k. All Western ski areas were at this higher rate. Once again, thank Winterpark for launching the pass war prices and bringing down the season pass rates all over the US.
Comparatively, Mid West areas were a bargain back in the day. Western areas have a lot of advantages over their mid west and east coast counter parts. I would imagine that offering a much cheaper pass would likely mean that your little area would have to stop spinning the wheels. It sucks, but those are just some of the realities with it. Running a ski area ain't cheap, that's for sure.
I really think its just a matter of charging what people are willing to pay and taking them for suckers.
I'm struggling to see how the resorts in the Midwest have anywhere near the operating costs that the much larger all mountain resorts out West do, but I'm open to hearing about it.