Multi-Resort Pass, Day Ticket Options Expand For 2015-2016; Buy Now To Save
Bargains abound for skiers and riders who can hit the road to get on the slopes at a variety of resorts next season. Also for those with itchy feet, a trio of multi-resort, multi-day passes give riders and skiers up to five days at a variety of resorts in both the East and the West.
The cost of these passes is cheapest in the spring, with the price tag increasing as the off-season progresses, and most of these comprehensive passes come with buddy tickets at covered resorts and a few day tickets at other partner resorts.
Full-season passes for multiple resorts come with the Epic Pass, the New England Pass, Ski Utah’s Gold and Silver passes, and Nor’Easter Pass that comes out of Mount Snow.
The pioneer on the multi-resort season pass landscape is the Epic Pass, introduced in 2008 by Vail Resorts. The possibilities have expanded as the Vail Resorts empire has grown. In 2015-2016, the pass covers Colorado standards Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Arapahoe Basin and Keystone.
Acquisitions in recent years brought California’s Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood into the Vail fold, and Midwest resorts Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton. The new star in the Vail constellation is Park City-Canyons, purchased by Vail Resorts in 2014. In Colorado and Tahoe, there are “local” versions of the pass that include some blackout dates.
After a poor snow season, the purchase of a Tahoe Super Pass for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows comes with a special guarantee. If a passholder skis or rides less than five days next season, he or she gets a four-day credit (worth $75-100) toward a 2016-2017 pass. This offer is good until May 7.
The New England Pass puts skiers and riders on Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Loon Mountain. The Gold version has not blackouts, while the Silver and Bronze do. Also available are passes from undergraduate and graduate students.
Ski Utah, which promotes skiing and riding at Utah’s 15 resorts, puts out the Ski Utah Gold and Silver passes. Each is fully transferable to others and is only limited by the number of days at each resort (50 days for the Gold, 30 days for the Silver).
In the multi-day category, the Mountain Collective gives skiers and riders 16 days – two each at eight resorts. They are Aspen-Snowmass, Alta-Snowbird, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Squaw-Alpine, Banff-Lake Louise, Whistler Blackcomb, and newcomer Sun Valley. Any additional days at these mountains can be had for half-price off the day pass.
The Powder Alliance adds three free days at an eclectic mix of Western resorts for any skier or snowboarder who has a season pass at one of 13 resorts. They are in New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, California, Colorado, Oregon, Utah and Oregon.
Newest on the multi-resort, multiple day pass scene is the M.A.X. Pass. It give five days at each of the 22 resorts in the East and West that are owned by Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne Resorts, including Colorado stalwarts Steamboat, Winter Park and Copper Mountain, and Vermont’s Killington, Stratton and Pico Peak.
In addition, many season passes at individual resorts include free or reduce-priced day passes at others.
Photos: Vail Resorts Epic Pass is the pioneer in the multi-resort pass field (Vail/Facebook); Loon Mt. in N.H. is a participant in the New England Pass (Loon Mt./Facebook)