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.
Figuring a 3 month season, 4 if we're really lucky, they're probably blowing snow on average 4-5 days a week from late November through February. That shit ain't cheap.
Most of these places also operate 12+ hours per day instead of 7-8 hours per day out West where only a handful of mountains operate after 4pm.
Most of these places are also located a stone's throw from major metropolitan areas. There are 4 ski areas within 30 minutes of my house in fair weather, and there are 1.5 or 2 million people in the same situation. So there's a very captive audience of people who dno't ski maybe 5-7 times per season, but they ahve to price high enough to keep these folks buying day passes instead of season passes, etc.