Lutsen Mountains is now part of the M.A.X. Pass. (Lutsen/Facebook)
The new M.A.X. Pass, with the addition of six new resorts including two from the Heartland, now offers access to 44 ski areas scattered across North America. It is now available through May 1 at its lowest price, $629 for adults, $429 teens, and $329 youth (6-12). After that prices will increase.
What’s nice for Heartlanders is that the new pass now includes: Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands, Michigan; Granite Peak, Wisconsin; and Buck Hill and Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota. The pass provides you five days at each of the ski areas listed with no blackout dates.
Depending on how many days per season you ski or ride you can bounce back and forth to the Midwest areas that are close to each other and take ski trips west or east. If you live in Michigan the two Boyne resorts are close by. Wisconsin and Minnesota snowsports enthusiasts have three areas they can visit. Both Granite Peak and Lutsen make wonderful Heartland locations for a multi-day ski vacation.
If you like to ski several days per week at your local hill you can buy a season pass for any of the five Midwest areas and upgrade to a M.A.X. Pass for an additional cost that will allow you access to the 43 other ski resorts for five days throughout the 2017/18 season. The additional cost is $329, $279 and $229 respectively and most likely can be included in the cost of your local ski area pass.
What I like about it, especially for the hardcore skier or rider, it provides you with the flexibility for lots of great choices from day trips and ski weekends around the Midwest to mountain vacations.
More rides at Winter Park with Rocky Mountain Super Pass (Winter Park/Facebook)
Consolidation is the byword for the winter resort industry these days, and means plenty of multi-resort passes to fit to your habits when the snow flies.
Here’s SnoCountry’s survey of some of the most popular:
M.A.X. Pass. Stands for “max alpine experience” with five days at any of 44 North American resorts. Costs $629 for adults, or $329 if you already have a season pass at one of the resorts. Pay off before May 1 with $49 down payment. Ideal for wandering powder hounds or retirees with time on their hands.
Mountain Collective, Get two days each at 16 resorts – from Revelstoke to Sugarbush – for $399 while supply lasts ($1 under 13). Half price for additional days plus one third day free.
Epic Pass. From flagship Vail Mountain, skiers and riders pay $859 for unlimited time at 13 Vail-owned resorts (plus once-owned Arapahoe Basin) around the world. A half-dozen machinations go more local in Colorado and Tahoe or limit the time.
The Peak Pass. Unlimited time at seven mountains in the Northeast included for $599 (till April 30). Other varieties accommodate youths, have blackouts or limit to midweek. Discounts too across Midwest.
Cali4nia Pass. SoCal buddies Mammoth and June, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain charge $849 until April 3 for unlimited skiing and riding. Show the pass at Mountain Collective resorts and get half off.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass. Unlimited at Winter Park, Copper and Eldora for early $529 price, with multiple days at Crested Butte, Steamboat and Alyeska. Tons of discounts accompany the pass.
Ski Utah Passes. Pay $4,000 and ski or ride 50 days total at any of Utah’s 14 resorts. For less, get 30 days or a single day on each mountain.
New England Pass. For $1,099 through April 30, get all you want at Sunday River, Loon Mountain and Sugarloaf. Less costly deals cut cost for collegians or midweek-ers, or include blackouts.
Scenes like this one at Mammoth make combo passes enticing. (Sean Engie)
Thanks to ski-resort consolidations and new partnerships, there are so many combo or multi-area season passes now that it can be delightfully difficult to decide which pass to get.
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.