Regarding ticket prices, I think it's a combination of supply/demand, the additional cost of snowmaking in the east and the tourist $$. Let's face it, there's not a lot of places (if any) in the east that you'd buy an airline ticket to visit. So there's not enough tourists paying $100 for a day pass to "subsidize" the locals, in fact they're probably "subsidizing" the snowmaking. Most independent places in the east are probably only two poor seasons away from bankruptcy.
It is 100% supply and demand. If magically a resorts operating cost were cut in 1/2 the price per ticket would not drop a penny.