You could almost see people’s eyes popping out of their heads when Vail and Beaver Creek announced the $209 single day lift ticket. Of course, that amount is for a “walk up to the window” lift ticket during a holiday period. Still, most people can only hit the slopes during a holiday and the announcement simply added fuel to the notion that skiing and snowboarding are expensive sports.
Some industry pundits claim that the relatively new multi-resort season passes actually make the sports more affordable. But, many consumers can’t or don’t want to ski enough days to justify spending up to $1,000 for a pass they may or may not use enough, especially if kids fit the equation or if they are occasional participants. “Best buy” pitches for those passes start in the early Spring when many are thinking more about the beach than on next winter’s activities. And it is hard to predict so far in advance if, when and where it might snow.
Are there options? Two multi-resort season passes are on the market at rates far lower than the Epic or Ikon Passes. The Mountain Collective consists of 18 resorts the majority of which are in the western part of the U.S. and Canada. The pass allows for two days at each resort. The cost for adults is $509 and $199 for kids 12 and under.
The Indy Pass is new this year. It was conceived by an Oregon-based marketer named Doug Fish as an alternative for independent resorts that are not part of the Epic, Ikon or Mountain Collective. The Indy Pass is actually the largest pass of all with 44 resorts each offering two days of skiing or snowboarding each. The cost through November is $199 and it increases $20 12/1.
Two discount web sites – Liftopia.com and GetSkiTickets – offer reductions throughout the season on a extensive list of resorts. These web sites also provide a treasure-trove of information about the sports.
Some state resort associations sell a limited amount of so-called “anytime lift tickets” for member resorts during the season but these sell out quickly. New Hampshire is an example and some resorts have already allocated their inventory as of the end of October (good to plan for next year).
Think these folks are smiling because they didn’t pay $209 for a “ski day”? .