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 in Colorado, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood in California, Whistler Blackcomb Canada, Stowe in Vermont, 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 MAX Pass is the alpine acronym for “Multi-Alpine Experience” pass which is a ideal if you ski both the East & West Coast, with five days at each of 44 participating resorts, a total of 195 days with no blackout dates for $609 if purchased in the spring. Kids Max passes are $299 for ages 6-12, $399 for 13-17. It’s pretty much a mountain conglomerate of Boyne, Intrawest and Powdr ski resorts.
The Max Pass is a great deal for Eastern skiers since it includes 9 major New England ski resorts -Okemo, Killington, Pico, and Stratton in Vermont, Mount Sunapee, Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine, Wachusett in Massachusetts. Add in a trip to Quebec, the Max Pass is valid at Stoneham, Mont Sainte Anne, and Mont Tremblant and in Western Canada at Fernie, Nakiska, Kicking Horse and Kimberly. Then out west the Max Pass get you 5 ski days each at Big Sky, Brighton and Solitude in Utah, Copper, Crested Butte, Steamboat, and Winter Park in Colorado, plus in the Pac North West – Boreal Mountain and Mountain High in California, Crystal Mountain and Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington, Mt. Bachelor Oregon, Lee Canyon in Nevada, Alyeska Alaska, Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, plus the Midwest – Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan,
You could easily Max out with a ski trip to Colorado by skiing Copper, Winter Park and Steamboat in one swoop – up to 5 days at each since they’re within two hours. Also you could fly to Salt Lake City Utah and ski neighboring Solitude and Brighton for 5 days each. The MAX pass is ideal for East coasters looking to make a trip or two out west to Montana, Oregon, Washington, Colorado or Utah. Lift tickets at many of these ski resorts are around $100 so it pays for itself in your five days of skiing, and you have the bonus of great skiing on the East Coast.
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. You can add on the Max pass for $349 for the other ski resorts benefit.
The Mountain Collective Pass starts at $419 for 28 days total, at 14 ski resorts – so it’s a mountain hopper pass for sure. The Mountain Collective is an impressive roster of resorts: including 2 days each at Aspen Snowmass, Alta/Snowbrid, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Squaw, Sun Valley, Telluride, Taos. In Canada, the pass is valid for two days each at Whistler Blackcomb, Lake Louise, Sunshine and Revelstoke. Finally in the East, the Mountain Collective gets you two days at Stowe (their one day ticket price is over $120 now). . Additional ski days at most of the collective resorts are 50% off.
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).