More Moves By Ikon, Epic In Face Of Pandemic
The uncertainty of when, where and for how long the COVID-19 outbreak will last has forced much of the country into flexible mode -- and the two behemoths in the multi-resort season pass business are no different.
After opening up sales for 2020-2021 passes in early March, both Epic Pass and Ikon Pass have evolved over the last month as conditions change.
Vail Resort's Epic Pass announced recently they have pushed back deadlines for auto-renew charges back into May. That includes the $49 non-refundable down payment to lock in the lowest price on the next season's pass. The fate of the September deadline for the remaining amount due is up the air, according to Vail Resorts' Kristen Lynch.
Also, certain early-season Epic Pass holders who are eligible to buy discounted "buddy tickets" for friends and family won't have to commit to early-season purchases until at least May. And, all buddy tickets can be purchased online this coming season.
As part of the original sale announcement, Vail Resorts added a 20% discount on everything from lessons to retail to food to transportation at all its resorts -- plus cat skiing and heli-skiing at resorts that have them.
For the Ikon Pass of Denver-based Alterra Mountain Co., marketers announced that in addition to other virus-related benefits, passholders who purchase a 2020-2021 Ikon Pass can defer its use until the following season. That decision will have to be made between Sept. 10 and Dec. 10.
“We understand skiers and riders may feel unsure about the future and it may be difficult to commit to adventures still months away," said Alterra's Erik Forsell. "We hope this new option enables them to feel the confidence to purchase today, or whenever they are ready.”
As the virus spread, Ikon slapped on sale discounts up to $200 to entice skiers and riders to buy next season's pass this spring. And, the multi-resort Ikon Pass extended its initial selling season to May 26, and pushed interest-free payment period to Aug. 1.
Both Alterra and Vail Resorts made it clear that things can and should be expected to change as the country moves further through this pandemic. They encourage skiers and riders to periodically check their season pass web pages for the latest.