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Game Changing Passes Benefit Skiers, Resorts

Deer-Valley-Multi_Gen The Ikon Pass allows people to to ski more areas and experience areas new to them like Deer Valley. (Deer Valley Resort)

The season pass landscape has erupted with options. Chief among them for access to worldwide areas are Ikon and Epic passes.

Deer Valley’s Emily Summers told SnoCountry.com the Ikon Pass gives skiers options, encourages them to try new resorts, and re-invigorates the sport. “It’s allowing people to get to Deer Valley who haven't visited us before.”

Okemo skiers now have access to resorts around the world with the Epic Pass. (Okemo)

Epic brings “convenience and value” for Okemo skiers, Okemo's Bonnie MacPherson told us. Okemo's former Ultimate Pass granted unlimited, unrestricted access to Okemo and Mount Sunapee for $1,139 (early-bird). “In comparison, the early-bird Epic Local Pass is $699, offering unlimited, unrestricted access to Okemo, Mount Sunapee, and seven other resorts plus unlimited access with holiday restrictions at five more resorts,” she noted.

Increasingly, skiers seeking diversity, vacations, and/or late season skiing report having “home-mountain” plus a multi-area pass. Bob Duch, who lives in Vail, uses Epic, Ikon Base, and Mountain Collective to ski more at his favorite areas.

Alterra Mountain Company added Stratton to its portfolio last year. (Stratton)

“With attractive pricing, a child promo, college and military discounts, Ikon is introducing Stratton and Vermont to a new audience of skiers and riders,” Stratton's Myra Foster told us.

“While there is a Stratton-specific pass, we hear from longtime Stratton skiers that the Ikon Pass has presented an opportunity to experience destinations that have been on their bucket list and to extend their season with late spring trips to Mammoth, for example, and on to the southern hemisphere during our summer season.”

“The benefit for guests is tremendous value and the ability to go to many resorts with one Ikon Pass. For the resorts it’s great, too, because we host new outdoor enthusiasts that we otherwise wouldn’t get the chance to see,” notes Killington’s Rob Megnin.

The Lone Peak Tram allows hardcore skiers to ski 4,350 vertical feet in one run and can transport up to 15 people at a time, up to 120 people/hour. (Big Sky/Facebook)

More Options, Great Snow, More Guests
Reports indicate some locals are grumbling about crowds. One Big Sky homeowner explained that he paid $400 extra for his season pass to include the tram to Lone Peak. What is upsetting, he said, is that Ikon visitors “have created a long wait for the small capacity tram at no extra cost. Otherwise, no crowding problem, it’s a big mountain.”

Telluride's amazing snow year made it appealing to Epic Pass holders. (Telluride/Facebook)

The Colorado Sun reports that Telluride has seen a welcome midweek increase for the resort and town of 350 guests per day due to Epic Pass-holders using a Telluride benefit for a destination vacation.

The Sun also notes that due to a good snow year local skier visits are up at many mountains where grumbling is heard.

“Skier visits have gone up, but we’re comparing a great snow year to an average snow year so it’s hard to attribute visits to the Ikon alone,” Megnin told us, adding he wasn’t aware of any grumblings from locals.

“Since this is Ikon’s first winter, it’s too soon to see a real pattern, but it appears the Ikon is helping spread visits throughout the season,” Foster said.

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