The four major Season Pass Options in North America include IKON, EPIC, The “Indy Pass” and Mountain Collective Pass. Read to learn more and find the pass option that works best for you.
It is an EPIC battle for your skiing dollars these days. The real question is? Which ski pass to purchase? Vail Resorts came out a decade ago with an affordable Epic Pass to its ever-growing list of ski resorts. Then, Alterra Group formed, led by Aspen Resorts, and developed its competing IKON Pass. Both products offer exceptional value for the frequent skier. But, are the values too good? Are they homogenizing the ski experience and overcrowding the slopes? That is a story for another day. For now, we will try to summarize and highlight some of the advantages of both season passes.
We will lead the original Vail Resort’s Epic Pass. There are 2 major Epic Pass Options. Epic Pass Unlimited All Resorts Option and the Epic “Local Pass” Option. Historically these passes are less expensive the earlier in the season you purchase, with the best value offered for those that purchase in April for the next season, and passes must be purchased by early December. Its amazing that Vail Resorts sells over 2.3 million Epic Pass products.
The unlimited Epic Pass for 2023-24 sells for $909 and allows you to ski everyday all season at 42 different resorts around the globe including Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge and Crested Butte in Colorado. Park City Utah. Whistler Blackcomb Canada, Stowe, Okemo, Attitash and Wildcat in New England. Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood in California.
The Epic Pass is also valid at Andermatt-Sedrun in Switzerland, and Disentis for 2024 – Vail’s recent Swiss ski resort acquisition. Plus you can ski 7-days at Telluride, 7-days in the Canadian Rockies, plus 5 consecutive days in Switzerland’s Verbier 4 Vallees region with a lodging purchase, and 5 days at your choice of 10 ski areas in Japan. Plus 7-days skiing in Les 3 Vallées in France, 3 days in the Alberg in Austria and more!
The Epic Locals Pass is priced $200 less – just under $700. This pass only allows a combined 10-days of skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek and Whistler-Blackcomb, and no skiing at those resorts during 10-holiday “black out” dates (typically Thanksgiving, Christmas to New Years, ML weekend and February vacation). Be sure to visit the Epic Pass web site for complete details and other restrictions. Full Epic Pass Details
With day lift tickets at Vail up to $275 a day, you don’t need to be a mathematician to realize if you ski just 4-days you are saving money over day tickets at the lift ticket window. Its amazing that Vail Resorts sells over 2.3 million Epic Pass products, the value is that big! So are the crowds at some Vail Resorts.
The Ikon Pass is Alterrra’s mega pass, the company that includes Aspen. IKON like the Epic Pass is least expensive if purchased as early as April and also must be purchased by early December. The Ikon Pass sells in the $1,200 range with no black-out dates. It offers unlimited skiing and riding at 18-destinations like Copper Mountain Resort CO, Winter Park CO, Mammoth CA, Palisades Tahoe CA, Solitude Mountain Resort UT, Stratton VT, Sugarbush VT, Tremblant QC plus 7 other resorts.
Plus the full Ikon Pass also includes up to 7-days each at 39 of the best resorts in the world including… Arapahoe, Aspen Snowmass CO, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort WY, Big Sky Resort MT, Deer Valley Resort, Alta Snowbird UT, Snowbasin UT, Schweizer, Sun Valley ID, Crystal WA, Taos Ski Valley NM, Bachelor OR, Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay Banff, Panorama, Sun Peaks Resort, Red Mountain, Revelstoke Mountain Resort BC, Killington-Pico VT, Loon NH, Sunday River and Sugarloaf ME. Plus some of the biggest names in the Alps including… Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley FR, Zermatt Matterhorn Switzerland, Kitzbühel Austria, Dolomiti Superski Italy. Plus resorts in Andorra, New Zealand, Japan Chile and more.
Or the Ikon Base Pass for $829 ish has black out dates (around Christmas week, MLK and Presidents Birthday weekends) and includes unlimited skiing and riding to 13-destinations and 5-days each at another 34 destinations. If you want to ski Aspen/Snowmass, Sun Valley, Alta, Jackson Hole, Deer Valley or Snowbasin you will need to either purchase the full Ikon or at least upgrade to the Ikon Base PLUS pass ($200 more than the Ikon Base Pass or $100 less than the full unlimited pass with no restrictions). See IKON pass official site for all the details.
OTHER PASS OPTIONS:
The Mountain Collective is another pass option. For $599 skiers and riders get 2-days each at 25 Ski Destinations including the likes of Alta, Big Sky, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Snowbird, Sugarloaf, Sun Valley, Taos, Chamonix, France and more.
The Indy Pass: Yet another pass option is the “Indy Pass” (as in “Independent” Ski Areas). The Indy Pass for $279 offers 2 days of skiing at 120 ski areas. These 120 independent ski areas offer many nice “smaller ski mountains” and miles of terrain – like Brundage, Silver and Tamarack in Idaho, Mt Hood Oregon, Saddleback, Cannon and Waterville Valley in the East. These are not considered the most recognizable resort names in the industry, hence they are Indy – independent of Vail, and Alterra who owns Aspen, Boyne that owns Big Sky.
Tirol Snow Card: Valid at 90 Ski Areas in the Tirol of Austria including 5 Glacier Resorts. 1100 Lifts, 4000km (2,485 mi) of Trails.
Super Ski Card: Ski Pass in the Saltzburg and Kitzbuheler Alps. 22 Regions, 87 Ski Resorts, 939 Ski Lifts, 2815 km of Pistes, 796 Huts