Season Pass Face-Off Begins: Epic Vs. Ikon
Epic Pass expands your horizons. (Epic Pass/Facebook)
The initial price of $899 is the same, but there’s plenty to choose from as the major multi-resort players put their best face forward in the season pass wars.
One key to finding which pass works best for you is to scour the list of resorts under each pass, and decide which ones are on your favorites’ list. Both passes split out with unlimited access, local alternatives and short-term free access – plus a few side perks
Here’s a comparison narrative to help make a decision which to buy.
The Epic Pass, which is now 10 years old, offers unlimited skiing and riding at 15 resorts – 13 in the U.S., one in Canada (Whistler Blackcomb) and one in Australia (Perisher).
Debuting in 2018-2019, the Ikon Pass has unlimited access to 12 resorts that Alterra, which formed this past season, owns and/or operates. That includes eight in the West, three in the East and one in Canada (Tremblant).
While the adult unlimited price during spring sale is the same for both, Ikon cuts a better deal for kids: $199 versus $469 for children 12 and under. With both, the deal comes only if accompanied by an adult purchase.
The two passes also compete for short-term business. Each offers free skiing and snowboarding at so-called “partner resorts” for limited periods. The Epic Pass gives seven days at newly added Telluride and six Canadian resorts, while Ikon has five in the U.S. and Revelstoke in Canada.
Because of its headstart, the Epic Pass has corralled a cadre of foreign resorts under its Epic. It has 30 partner-resorts in Europe and nine in Japan that accept the Epic Pass for up to six days free skiing and riding, depending upon the resort – and how much money you’re willing to spend to get there.
Local passes that apply only to resorts in a particular area also go head-to-head. The Ikon Base Pass has nine with unlimited skiing and riding – four each in Colorado and California -- five with holiday blackouts and a dozen where you can go for a total of five days at any of them.
Vail offers its Local Pass for three in Colorado, three in the Midwest and now Stowe in the east. Three Lake Tahoe resorts and Park City in Utah fall under the Local Pass, but with holiday restrictions.
Each pass has some non-mountain savings, such as retail, lodging and food discounts. Epic has Kids Pass for certain locales. Ikon Pass has perks with CMH Heli-Skiing in western Canada.