Putting these two day-trip mountains on the Indy Pass means that three alpine areas and one Nordic area are now available in the nation's most renowned skiing and riding state.
The purchase of an Indy Pass or Indy Base Pass gets a skier or rider two days free at each partner mountain, plus 25% off a third day. Typical blackouts (holidays, midseason weekends) apply only to the Indy Base Pass. To get a free day, passholders need only show ID at the ticket window to confirm, since there is no physical Indy Pass.
In Colorado, Granby and Echo join Sunlight Mountain and Bluebird Backcountry Nordic complex in the fast-growing Indy coalition that has 121 alpine and Nordic destinations worldwide. So far, there are 36 Indy Pass mountains in the West.
Granby Ranch sits about two hour's drive northwest of Denver on the west side of Berthoud Pass. The 400-acre layout splits out between two mountains, with a 30-50-20 split among green, blue and black runs, and 1,000 vertical feet. Five chairlifts run daily, and night skiing opens 4-7 p.m. on seven Fridays and Saturdays during the season.
East Mountain keeps it mellow with all the greens and more than half of the blues. A smattering of expert runs spill off the top of West Mountain, intermingling with intermediate carvers. A modest base area and a wide-open learning area are located between the two mountains, and a tight group of condos and vacation rentals hug the base area.
Echo Mountain is the closest ski and snowboard mountain to the Denver metro area -- a drive of 50 minutes from downtown and 20 minutes western suburbs. After a number of years in limbo, the 80-acre mountain has been rejuvenated by local ownership. It's an upside-down hill; that is, entrance, parking, lodge and children's area are at the top.
One triple chair handles the hill's 660 vertical feet. All of the dozen or so named trails are rated green or blue, except for the Westside glades to skier's lift. Unusual is a terrain park in the glades, while the other park is halfway down. Mountain owners are promoting Echo as a shreddin' hill for the young urbanites on the Front Range.
Rather than a formal ski school, Echo's "mountain ambassadors" roam around the base area to give tips and suggestions for free to anyone who wants them. The lights come on for night skiing 4:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
We are entering the final period for discounts on multi-resort passes in the West, so let's take a look at what's new for the five nationwide players in the multiple mountain game.
The roster for the two-days-at-each Indy Pass continued to grow domestically this summer, with an eye for close-by pairings. The latest to join up are California's Mountain High -- creating a pairing with nearby Snow Valley above L.A. -- and Dodge Ridge in the Central Sierra, close to Indy partner China Peak.
Earlier this summer, Mt. Hood Meadows became the fourth Indy resort in Oregon. With five in Washington, the road-trippin' Indy Pass now boasts 28 full-on partners in the Rockies, Sierra and Cascades. Just show your pass at the ticket window, and head to the lift.
The unlimited-access Ikon Pass now covers 24 resorts in the West. Last spring, Utah's Snowbasin and Idaho's Sun Valley joined up and later, Panorama on Canadian Rockies' Powder Highway -- bringing Ikon's international presence to 10 countries. The pass also added 2- and 3-day options to its short-term Session Pass.
The Powder Alliance requires showing a season pass from any of its 21 resorts to get three free days at Alliance partners. The pass beefed up its international portfolio this summer with the addition of two New Zealand resorts on the flanks of the nation's largest volcano: Tūroa Ski Area and Wakapappa Ski Area. The rest of the Alliance's roster, including 17 in the West, remains the same.
Mountain Collective passholders now have Snowbasin and Sun Valley in the U.S., and Canada's Marmot Basin and Massif de Charlevois to put on their itinerary. Skiers and riders get two days at each of 11 resorts in the West, seven in Canada, and six others around the globe. Just show proof of purchase of the Mountain Collective pass and head to the hill.
After a decade of frenetic acquisitions, Vail Resorts only added Andermatt-Sedrun in Switzerland to its Epic Pass. Now, the industry's first multi-mountain pass has 37 resorts in the U.S., including six resorts in the Rockies (plus limited-days partner Tellluride), four on the West Coast, and western Canada's Whistler-Blackcomb.
Epic and Ikon passes also offer a variety of more restrictive passes for local areas or regions, limited number of days or late season, and special groups such as seniors, college or military.
Indy Pass and Ski Cooper season pass -- the nation's largest reciprocal partner passes -- are up for sale, meaning at least 146 U.S. ski and snowboard mountain can be had for short-term skiing and riding all season long.
For skiers and riders with wanderlust, both passes lure road-trippers by clustering its pass with partner mountains within easy driving distance of each other. The more adventurous can head out across state lines to cash in their multi-day pass. An adult Ski Cooper pass is now priced at $329 until September, while the price of an Indy Pass sits at $299 until September.
The Indy Pass and Ski Cooper season pass continue to bolster their partner resorts lists (and more may be added this summer). On the Indy Pass, skiers and riders get two days free at at 87 U.S. resorts (plus one in Spain), while Ski Cooper's 58 partners welcome them for three days. The vast majority don't have blackouts or other limitations.
In West, the Cooper season pass has four new partners: Wyoming's White Pine, Washington's Mt. Spokane, California's Mt. Shasta Ski Park and Utah's Sundance. These additions introduces the Cooper mega-partner pass to state of Washington, and shores up its presence at smaller areas in California and Wyoming. Plus, Sundance joined up for this season as the first Utah mountain on the pass.
The Southeast and Midwest drew Cooper's attention this offseason. The Ski Cooper pass added four mountains in Southeast, and four in the Midwest, as well as outlier Saddleback in Maine. It's valid now in 21 states.
For the Indy Pass, four new affiliates came on board from the Upper Midwest -- Marquette Mountain, Mount Kato, Nub's Knob and Tree Tops -- to solidify Indy's presence in that region to nine resorts in Michigan, and six each in Wisconsin and Minnesota. New member Big Rock in Maine comes on this season. The pass, which is purchased separately from any season pass, now reaches into 28 states.
Indy Pass added a new category, Allied Resorts, that gets passholders half-off discounts -- except for holiday periods and weekends (25% off) -- at six New England hills and Loup Loup in Washington. It also added three X-C partners, all located at Indy alpine partner mountains.
The Indy and Ski Cooper passes both work for some 25 resorts. Other reciprocal season passes of note include Lee Canyon (21 partners), Monarch (21), Loveland (16), Sunlight (16), Bogus Basin (14) and Mount Bohemia (12) -- among others.
The Indy Pass is adding cross country skiing to its resort lineup for the 2022-23 ski, snowboard, and cross country ski season.
Season passes for 2022-2023 are beginning to come onto the early-season market for California's 38 independently owned ski and snowboard mountains.
With two days on this season's Indy Pass or a Spring Pass, skiers and riders can cop some final spring skiing days at the big, the small and the in-between of the Evergreen State.
From the mighty to the sublime, this road trip in northern Utah grabs a couple of Indy Pass days at Beaver Mountain and Powder Mountain that, despite their vast difference in size, both operate in quiet, unpretentious seclusion in the northern extent of the Wasatch Range.
The first salvo in the U.S. multi-mountain season pass competition comes from Indy Pass: A spring sale that includes a Switch Pass with a small discount for skiers and riders who have a 2021-2022 Epic, Ikon, or Mountain Collective pass.
The Indy Pass has finally signed up a Colorado ski and snowboard mountain -- Sunlight Mountain -- so it may be a good time to pair it up with another of old-school, Western Slope day-trip resorts, Powderhorn..
All of Idaho's five Indy Pass destinations are a bit out of the way, but that's a good thing for short lines, long views, and uncrowded trails.
You want season pass choices this season? American ski and snowboard resorts, state associations and resort-to-resort partnerships have burst out all over -- all designed to get you on the slopes more often, and at discounted prices.
The Indy Pass continues to expand its growing coalition of independent resorts with four more high-profile mountains joining the roster for 2021-22 season.
The Indy Pass welcomes Eagle Point Resort in Beaver, Utah and Sundown Mountain Resort in Dubuque, Iowa strengthening its presence in the US heartland and adding a destination in the Southwestern Rockies.
The Indy Pass will return 100% of its partner resorts for the 2021-22 season along with new additions Powder Mountain, Utah, Mt. Ashland, Oregon, and West Mountain, New York for a total of 66 resorts in the U.S. and Canada.
Finally, some good post-vaccination news for skiers and snowboarders after two rough pandemic winters that greatly disrupted ski vacations, travel and the snow sports industry. Unlike just about everything else we enjoy in travel and recreation, the cost to go skiing has actually dropped in recent years, mainly do the prevalence of multi-resort unlimited ski passes. But as of today it is going down even more, at dozens of the most popular and desirable ski destinations in the world.
Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire, and Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley, Maine will join the Indy Pass through the end of the current 2020-21 season and for the 2021-22 season. Both resorts will provide two days of skiing and riding to all Indy Pass holders during both seasons and there are no blackout dates for the remainder of the current season. Waterville Valley visits will be no charge; and for the current season, Saddleback will be $10 per visit.
Teton Gravity Research, the global leader in action sports, adventure, and outdoor media, is excited to announce a partnership with Indy Pass, the fastest-growing multi-mountain pass in North America, to explore the spirit of independent ski and snowboard areas around North America.
Armed with an Indy Pass and full gas tank, the SnoCountry Road Trip team heads to the Pacific Northwest to explore what the state of Washington has to offer.
With two Idaho resorts just added to Indy Pass -- Soldier Mountain and Pomerelle -- it makes sense to hit the road for a circumnavigation of the Gem State's off-the-beaten-track, unpretentious mountains that honor the Indy Pass.
Soldier Mountain Ski Area in Fairfield, Idaho, and Pomerelle Mountain Resort in Albion, Idaho, have joined the Indy Pass, and each resort will provide Indy Pass holders with two days of skiing or riding through the end of the 2020-21 season.