We're not going to lie. Despite the recent storms, this year hasn't been the greatest winter in terms of snowfall. Next season, however, is already looking great but not because of the weather. Following in the footsteps of Vail Resort's Epic Pass and the popular Mountain Collective pass is the Ikon pass, the latest multi-resort season passes vying for skiers' and snowboarders' patronage. And all three are on sale now. But with three great choices, how will you decide? Here's what you need to know so you can snag the best deal on the pass that works for you.
The harbinger of the current season pass wars is the Epic Pass, which remains the biggest contender for snowboarders and anyone who wants to ski Park City Mountain all season long. The Epic pass allows access to all of Vail's resorts (see below). New for 2018-19, Epic Pass holders have access to 61 resorts worldwide, including limited access to Telluride, Colorado; Hakuba Valley, Japan (good news for JaPow fans); and six Canadian resorts. Vail Resorts is also giving back with a $99 Epic Military Pass (available to active and retired military and their dependents) and a $1 donation to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) for every season pass sold for the 2018-19 season. Of note to local parents, Utah kids can ski for free at Park City Mountain with the Epic SchoolKids Utah Pack. It's a fantastic option for locals and still the cheapest when it comes to access to a local mountain ($699 locals).
Resorts included: Unlimited access to Park City Mountain, Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler-Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher (2019 access), and Arapahoe Basin. Seven days at Telluride, 7 days total at six Canadian resorts (Fernie, Kicking Horse, Kimberley, Nakiska, Mont Sainte Anne, and Stoneham) and five days total at nine resorts in Hakuba Valley, Japan; plus limited access to 30 European resorts across Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland (International Access Details).
Lowest price: $899 adult, $699 local adult (blackout dates apply), $469 child (ages 5-12), $359 child local, $549 teen local (ages 13-18); Note: you only need to put $49 down by April 15 to lock in the price.
Following its acquisition of Deer Valley Resort las summer, we waited anxiously for Alterra Mountain Company to reveal its new pass and its a tempting one. The Ikon Pass won't provide unlimited days to Deer Valley, but rather 7 days and (sorry snowboarders) the resort remains skiers only, at least for now. If you're not a fan of Vail, you'll probably want to consider joining the Ikon family. In Utah, Alta/Snowbird are also accessible with the Ikon Pass. The downside: no local destination with unlimited access.
Resorts included: Unlimited access to Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort, Stratton, Snowshoe, Tremblant, Blue Mountain. Seven days each at Jackson Hole, Big Sky Resort, Killington Resort, Sugarbush Resort, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, and Deer Valley Resort. Seven days combined Aspen Snowmass (Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk), Alta/Snowbird, Loon Mountain/Sunday River/Sugarloaf, and SkiBig4 (Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay).
Lowest price: $899 adults, $199 child (12 and under); the Ikon Base Pass (with holiday blackouts) starts at $599
Note to Deer Valley fans: the faithful will be glad to know that Deer Valley's popular full season passes are on sale now as well. Pricing options vary; an single adult 2018/19 winter season pass is $2,365 through October 15, 2018. And while that's priced at more than double than all the multi-resorts offered for next season, most who who ski Deer Valley would probably not have it any other way.
In addition to unlimited skiing access, Deer Valley full season pass holders enjoy: unlimited lift-served mountain biking and hiking this summer and in 2019; six discounted buddy passes; a 20 percent discount on dinner at the Seafood Buffet, Royal Street Café, The Brass Tag or The Mariposa restaurants; a 20 percent discount at the Snow Park Restaurant between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.; SKI magazine subscription; two complimentary day tickets at each Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, Brighton and Solitude Mountain Resort; and two additional complimentary day tickets (in addition to the Wasatch Benefit), plus two complimentary summer day tickets, at Solitude Mountain Resort.
The Mountain Collective Pass option is probably the most attractive to someone who has the time to travel to get their days on the slopes in. Instead of unlimited days at any specific resort, you get two days plus unlimited 50 percent off single day lift tickets thereafter at more than a dozen destinations, including one in Chile and New Zealand. At least you'd be able to knock off local resorts Snowbasin, Snowbird, and Alta pretty quickly--and be able to access two more (Jackson Hole and Sun Valley) over a quick weekend getaway. At half the price of the other two passes, this is one for bargain hunters who still want to hit some of the best terrain in the country.
Resorts included: Alta Ski Area, Aspen Snowmass, Banff Sunshine, Big Sky Resort, Coronet Peak | The Remarkables, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Lake Louise, Mammoth Mountain, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Snowbasin Resort, Snowbird, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Sugarbush Resort, Sun Valley, Taos Ski Valley, and Thredbo Alpine Village.
Lowest price: $409 adult, $99 child (12 and under); Limited time $1 child (While supplies last. Must be purchased with an adult Mountain Collective Pass.)
Kind of makes you want to take the entire season off and just get out there and shred.