Info for this article provided by Roger Lohr – Most dedicated winter sports enthusiasts are familiar with the major season passes such as Epic, Ikon, Mountain Collective and Indy Pass, among others. So far, these passes have been geared toward Alpine skiing and snowboarding. Not anymore! Make way for a new season pass specifically for cross country (XC) skiing and a deal that highlights XC skiing for Alpine skiers and snowboarders.
The new Indy XC Pass recently introduced for the 2022-23 season will provide two days of trail access to (as it stands now) seven XC ski areas for $69 adult and $29 youth (12 and under). XC skiing will also be included in the regular Indy Pass marketed to alpine skiers and snowboarders ($279 for adults) at 87 alpine ski areas, where applicable. The price is an early season offer and the Indy Pass prices will increase on May 17.
The Cross Country Ski Areas Association (CCSAA), an organization of XC ski areas is partnering with Indy and will be receiving 10% of the Indy XC Pass proceeds. The initial seven XC ski areas are located in different regions – High Point XC Center, NJ, White Grass Touring Center, WV, Maplelag Resort, MN, Woodstock Nordic Center, VT and in NH at Jackson XC and the Adventure Center at Waterville Valley. Sovereign Lake in British Columbia is a Canadian resort that is participating, too. These areas provide a cross section of experiences and destinations. Organizers anticipate that the Indy XC Pass will have additional venues XC signed on by the start of next winter.
“Typically, XC skiing is priced much lower compared to alpine skiing,” said Roger Lohr (middle photo below), co-founder and editor-in-chief of XCSkiResorts.com. “Most XC ski areas charge about $25 for a day pass to ski on their marked, maintained, and groomed trails. Many of these trails have set manicured tracks that make it easy for anyone to ski”.
Depending on where one lives, that cost can be reduced further. Currently, those who live in the northeast can receive eight ski visits (two visits at each of four resorts in New England within reasonable driving distance) for the $69 Indy XC Pass or $8 per visit. As more locations are added to the Indy XC Pass, the savings will become more widespread. However, the $69 price tag allows current XC skiers to discover new areas to visit and also offers an attractive enticement to those who are interested in learning the sport
Organizers are confident that promoting the Indy XC Pass will increase awareness of XC skiing and help educate non-skiers and alpine skiers/snowboarders about XC skiing at areas that provide marked and regularly groomed trails. “The image of XC skiing to many people is going out to parks when it snows, breaking trails, or skiing in a previous skiers’ tracks in ungroomed snow conditions,” added Lohr. “Cross country ski areas use machines to groom the trails to provide consistent ski conditions all winter”. There are more than 50 XC ski areas that can produce machine-made snow because sometimes Mother Nature can be snow-stingy in the winter.
Lohr, among other XC ski enthusiasts, is hoping that those who go to a few XC areas because of the Indy XC Pass will discover the joy of XC skiing regularly and raise it to a higher status as a prime recreational endeavor in their quiver of things to do in the winter.