Combination Ski Passes are Sweeping the Ski World

By: kadekrichko

Move over triple corks and rockered skis, because there’s a new fad sweeping skiing. Meet the combo ski pass. It’s been a while, but skiers and resorts are finally seeing eye to eye again, as mountains are joining forces to provide passes that allow visits to multiple ski areas and save skiers boatloads of cash in the process.

 

With it’s new lease agreement with Vail, Canyons will be joining the Epic Pass for the first time this year. Photo: Justin Olsen/Canyons Resort

 

The Epic Pass, which has been around for a few years now, started the momentum when it connected all of the Vail Resorts under one pass. Since then a number of others have followed suit, including the Powder Alliance Pass, the Mountain Collective Pass, and the White Mountain SuperPass. All of the deals have their own guidelines, but the theme is universally clear: Skiers are winning big time.

 

“From a consumer point of view, you’re always looking for the best value, and I think that’s why these passes are trending,” says Snowbasin Marketing Manager Jason Dyer. “There’s a lot of good deals out there.”

 

Snowbasin, a Utah resort, joined Stevens Pass (Washington), Crested Butte (Colorado), Bridger Bowl (Montana), and eight other big-name western resorts on the Powder Alliance Pass for the first time this year. The Pass is available automatically with the purchase of a top-tier season pass at any of the 12 Powder Alliance resorts (listed below, or HERE) and includes three days of free skiing at each of the other 11. Very few of the resorts in the Alliance are owned by the same company, yet all see a unique opportunity with the joint pass.

 

Combo Ski Passes Snowbasin

Snowbasin has banded together with 11 other resorts to form the Powder Alliance, which gives top tier pass holders three free days at the partner ski areas. Jared Allen neck deep at Snowbasin. Photo: Derek Taylor

 

“Resorts will be getting people visiting that might never have come otherwise,” explains Dyer. “I would love to get people at our resort from Northern California, Arizona, or New Mexico, so they can see what we have to offer. We can turn them into fans and then start seeing them every year.”

 

But the real upside for skiers is the stellar price point. In the Powder Alliance, a skier purchasing a Bridger Bowl season pass for $599 can take turns at nearby Schweitzer in Idaho, and Snowbasin for six days free, saving over $400. Clearly, the value stacks up.

 

In addition, by offering one pass to multiple areas, ski areas are helping skiers feel more open to spending a little more on travel and expanding their resort repertoire without the added burden of lift tickets. By purchasing an Epic Pass, for example, mountain-goers get unlimited access to 12 North American resorts, but also receive five days of skiing at European resorts in Arlberg or Verbier on the same pass—making an expensive Euro trip a little more feasible.

 

RELATED: A QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE TO 2013-14 COMBO PASSES

 

Smaller East Coast packages are also popping up. With memories of American Skiing Company and its six-mountain All East Pass still fresh, New England resorts have returned to the formula on a smaller scale. Now regions are working together to offer up skiing on the cheap. Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Loon offer the New England Pass, while New Hampshire resorts Waterville Valley, Cannon, Cranmore, and Bretton Woods have joined forces to create the White Mountain Superpass.

 

“We want to be greater than the sum of our own parts, and collectively we can offer a lot more value to the skier,” says Craig Clemmer, the director of marketing at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire. “People tend to stay at their home mountains for the majority, but they like having the opportunity for a few days here and a few days there.”

 

As ski areas buy in to this latest trend, it seems that more passes, more places, and more savings are on the near horizon, proving that, at least for now, it’s a skier’s market.

 
 

Combo Ski Passes Alta

Alta is part of several passes, including the new Wasatch Shared Benefit Pass. Andrew Pollard in Thirds. Photo: Derek Taylor

 

Want to know what’s out there? Here’s a dynamic list of the combination passes offered for the 2013-2014 season:

 

Epic Pass

Price: $689

Includes: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Arapahoe Basin, Eldora

Access: Unlimited to all resorts and includes 5 free days at Verbier, Switzerland, 5 free consecutive days at Arlberg, Austria and 5 free days at the Les 3 Vallees resort group in France.

 

Epic Local Pass

Price: $529

Includes: Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Arapahoe Basin

Access: Unlimited to above resorts, with limited access to other Vail Resorts

 

Tahoe Local Pass

Price: $529

Includes: Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood

Access: Select blackout dates during holiday periods

 

Mountain Collective Pass

Price: $379

Includes: Alta/Snowbird, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Mammoth, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Whistler Blackcomb

Access: Two days free at each of the above resorts/resort groups, up to 12 days total

 

Powder Alliance Pass

Price: Dependant on home resort’s top-tier price

Includes: Arizona Snowbowl, Angel Fire, Bridger Bowl, Crested Butte, China Peak, Mountain High, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Schweitzer, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Snowbasin, Stevens Pass, Timberline

Access: Pay for top-tier pass at your Powder Alliance resort and automatically get 3 free tickets to each of the remaining 11 resorts

 

Big Cottonwood Pass

Price: $999

Includes: Brighton, Solitude

Access: Unlimited, including night skiing at Brighton

 

Wasatch Shared Benefit

Price: Resort Dependant

Includes: Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort

Access: With purchase of top tier season pass at any participating resort, 3 free lift tickets to each of remaining 3 resorts

 

Alta/Snowbird Unlimited Pass (skiers only)

Price: $1,499

Includes: Alta, Snowbird

Access: Unlimited

 

Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus

Price: $489

Includes: Copper Mountain, Winter Park/Mary Jane

Access: Unlimited, with 6 free days at Steamboat and 3 at Monarch

 

Jay Peak/Burke Pass

Price: $949

Includes: Jay Peak, Burke Mountain

Access: Unlimited

 

New England Pass

Price: $1,055

Includes: Loon, Sunday River, Sugarloaf

Access: Unlimited

 

White Mountain SuperPass

Price: $949

Includes: Bretton Woods, Cranmore, Cannon, Waterville Valley

Access: Unlimited

 

Ski3 Pass

Price: $739

Includes: Whiteface, Belleayre, Gore

Access: Unlimited

 

ISKINY Gold Pass

Price: $1,100

Includes: 34 New York state resorts

Access: 1 lift ticket to each of 34 participating resorts

 

Ski Roundtop/Liberty Mountain/Whitetail Pass

Price: $449

Includes: Ski Roundtop, Liberty Mountain, Whitetail

Access: Unlimited

 

Ohio Pass

Price: $449

Includes: Mad River Mountain, Boston Mills, Brandywine, Alpine Valley

Access: Unlimited

 

Peak to Summit Pass

Price: $1,099

Includes: Crystal Mountain, Summit at Snoqualmie

Access: Unlimited, with 10 free days at Brighton, Cypress, and Loon

 

Mt. Hood Fusion Pass

Price: TBD

Includes: Mt. Hood Skibowl, Timberline

Access: Unlimited, and access to Powder Alliance

 

If we forgot your resort, please leave it in the comments below, and we’ll update. Thanks—Ed.

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