The big ski question annually, besides is it going to snow, is whether to buy a season pass? With lift ticket prices ranging from $60-$180, season pass deals are better value – if you are going to ski more than 4-6 days typically.
Vail’s Epic Pass is the big player among multi-mountain passes. Priced at about $859 with an early season purchase (read: April for the next season) there are no black out dates and tons of skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, and Crested Butte in Colorado, Park City in Utah, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood in California, Whistler Blackcomb Canada, Stowe and Okemo in Vermont, Sunapee in New Hampshire, and Perisher Australia, and bonus free skiing in the Alps at St Anton, Courchevel, Val D’Isere and Verbier.
The Epic Local Pass is less, around $600, with some peak holiday black outs (when I prefer not to ski anyway and save $200). The Epic Local Pass includes skiing at all Vail Resorts but limits you to 10 days each at Vail and Beaver Creek, and no skiing on peak Christmas to NYE, MLK and Feb vacation dates. Figure that a day ticket at Vail is $1797– this pass amortizes quickly with one trip out west. If you plan a trip to Park City Utah – which now includes the Canyons, and a trip to Vail skiing Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, and A Basin all in one trip, you’re golden. Then plan a ski trip to Lake Tahoe, skiing at Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood. Yes the Epic Pass is an epic ski deal, and this season it includes Buddy Tickets at discounts for friends and family.
The IKON PASS is a ideal if you ski both the East & West Coast, combining Aspen’s ski resorts with Boyne, Powdr and Intrawest Resorts plus some indies- its another extremely versatile pass valid at Aspen’s 4 mountains, plus Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain, Eldora Mountain Resort, Squaw Alpine, Mammoth, Big Bear, June, Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, and Blue Mountain. Plus limited skiing at Deer Valley, Snowbird/Alta, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, Killington, Revelstoke, and Sugarbush, Canada’s Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay, and Loon, Sunday River and Sugarloaf.
The Mountain Collective is another multi moutanin merger pass, of independants, $429 for 32 days at 16 major ski resorts, Alta & Snowbird, plus Snowbasin in Utah, Aspen Snowmass, Banff Sunshine, Big Sky Resort, Coronet Peak | The Remarkables, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Lake Louise Ski Resort, Mammoth Mountain, Revelstoke Mountain Resort
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Sugarbush Resort, Sun Valley, Taos Ski Valley
Thredbo Alpine Village for 2 ski days each.
For New England skiers, the New England Pass is a good investment if you want to ski a lot at Loon, Sunday River and Sugarloaf.
The Rocky Mountain Super Pass is $499 if you buy early and it gets you unlimited access to Colorado’s Front Range areas: Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain, and Eldora Mountain Resort plus 6 Days at Steamboat, 3 Days at Crested Butte and Alyeska Resort, and 7 Days in New Zealand’s Mt. Ruapehu & Cardrona Alpine Resort, 7 Days at Tomamu, Alts Bandai and Alts Bandai in Japan (nicknamed Japow).