The Epic “Skinny”
Times are a-changing in the snow sports industry! Vail has cut the price of its Epic Pass by 20 percent for next season, according to a recent company announcement. The price reduction applies to the entire portfolio of the Company’s North American pass lineup, including Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass and Epic Day Pass; Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited, Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass and EDGE Cards; Summit Value Pass, Tahoe Local and Value Pass, and Northeast Value and Midweek Pass; Military Epic Pass and Adaptive Pass; and more.
According to the company’s statement, the Epic Local Pass is now available for $583 (down from $729 last season) and the full Epic Pass is priced at $783 (down from $979 last season). Vail wants you to know what a deal is being offered because the reset takes these products back to prices from the 2015/16 season when the Epic Pass offered access to only 11 U.S. resorts compared to today’s more than 70 resorts worldwide.
While the news is welcome by many, there is a concern that long lift lines will be more of the norm in the future. Despite instituting a reservation system for the 2020-21 season, lift lines, especially on weekends, became legendary. A complete breakdown of 2021-22 prices is available here on the Epic Pass.
So far, there has been no cost cutting announcement about the Ikon Pass although “limited” Passes start at $399. The creators of the Indy Pass have indicated that the cost for the 2021-22 season may be slightly higher next season although no official announcement has been made yet. With 63 locations, Indy may qualify as the most cost effective depending on where one lives.
Fall Consumer Shows
The look and feel of fall consumer shows is changing starting in Boston and Denver. Prior to the pandemic, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) purchased the consumer shows in those two cities from BeWi Productions. Like most consumer shows, they were cancelled this past year. SIA sold its B to B trade show to Emerald Expositions a couple of years ago partially to concentrate on direct contact with consumers. The organization has had over a year to re-vamp the shows (due to fall 2020 cancellations) and it recently unveiled its vision for the rebranded “Snowbound Festivals”.
Although there are only two locations, the web site for the Snowboard Festivals is promoting them as “premium, multi-sensory, immersive experiences that serve as the official kick off for winter and a cultural moment that brings the entire industry and community together to celebrate our collective excitement about the coming season. They are the ultimate destination for the latest products, legendary athletes, top resorts, film premiers, shopping, music, art, food, and the biggest brands, while also being inclusive, community focused experiences where memories are made, families are brought together, old friends are reunited, and new friendships are forged”.
SIA wants to showcase and enhance sales of its members’ products. Unlike the BeWi productions, vendors will be able to see on the festival floor. The events also were renamed the Rockies Festival (November 5 – 7 at the Denver Convention Center) and the New England Festival (November 19 – 21 at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston). Individual day prices are $20 according to an SIA spokesperson.
It will be interesting to see if other independent and private consumer show producers follow their lead and whether or not large scale events actually can happen in the fall of 2021. The pandemic caused the cancellation of most consumer shows last fall.