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Most dedicated winter sports enthusiasts are familiar with the major season passes such as Epic, Ikon, Mountain Collective and Indy Pass, among others. So far, these multi-ski area passes have been geared toward Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Not anymore! Make way for a new season pass specifically for cross country (XC) skiing and a deal that highlights XC skiing for Alpine skiers and snowboarders. 

The new Indy XC Pass recently introduced for the 2022-23 season will provide two days of trail access to (as it stands now) more than a dozen XC ski areas for $69 adult and $29 youth (12 and under).  XC skiing will also be included in the regular Indy Pass marketed to alpine skiers and snowboarders ($279 for adults) at 100 alpine ski areas, where applicable. The price is an early season offer and the Indy Pass prices was expected to increase on May 17 (the Indy XC Pass is still $69 in end July). 

The Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA, which is an organization of XC ski areas) is partnering with Indy and will be receiving 10% of the Indy XC Pass proceeds. The initial XC ski areas are located in different regions where XC skiers can ski two times at each area and they include High Point XC Center, NJ, WhiteGrass Touring Center, WV, Maplelag Resort, MN, Enchanted Forest Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoe Area in NM, Woodstock Nordic Center and Rikert Nordic Center in VT and in NH Jackson XC and the Adventure Center at Waterville Valley. Treetops Resorts in Gaylord, Michigan has been added and alpine ski areas that have XC skiing at Black Mountain of Maine, 49 Degrees North in WA, and Meadows Nordic Center at Mt Hood, OR have been added. Manning Park and Sovereign Lake in British Columbia, which are Canadian resorts are participating, too. These areas provide a wonderful cross section of experiences and destinations and it is anticipated that the Indy XC Pass will have another couple of dozen XC ski areas sign on by the start of next winter.

Depending on where one lives, that cost for XC skiing can be reduced further. Currently, those who live in the northeast can receive eight ski visits (two visits at each of five resorts in New England and New York within reasonable driving distance) for the $69 Indy XC Pass or less than $7 per visit. As more locations are added to the Indy XC Pass, the savings will become more widespread. However, the $69 price tag allows current XC skiers to discover new areas to visit and also offers an attractive enticement to those who are interested in learning the sport.

Most XC ski areas charge about $25 for a day pass to ski on their marked, maintained, and groomed trails. Many of these trails have set manicured tracks that make it easy for anyone to ski. Taking advantage of the Indy XC Pass will save a small amount and help XC skiers to discover some new ski areas to visit.

Promoting the Indy XC Pass will increase awareness of XC skiing and it will educate nonskiers and alpine skiers about XC skiing at areas that provide marked and regularly groomed trails. The image of XC skiing to many 

people is going out to ski at parks when it snows, breaking trails, or skiing in a previous skiers’ tracks in ungroomed snow conditions. Cross country ski areas use machines to groom the trails to provide consistent ski conditions all winter. Additionally, there are more than 50 areas that can produce machine-made snow because sometimes Mother Nature can be snow-stingy in the winter.

XC skiers who go to a few XC areas because of the Indy XC Pass may very well discover the joy of XC skiing regularly and raise it to a higher status as a prime recreational endeavor in their quiver of things to do in the winter. For more information, see https://www.indyskipass.com/  or https://xcski.org/