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What’s the Best Season Ski Pass? Take a Look at the Options Below and Lock it Down Before Prices Go Up

With ski season just around the corner, it’s that time of year when outdoor lovers, like you, are looking to buy a ski pass. It might feel like fall just started and Halloween landed, but pretty soon the snow will be piling up and it will be time to hit the slopes. The snow is already flying in some areas, so don’t delay.

While there are many local and regional passes available, the four main ski pass options in North America are: the Epic Pass, the Ikon Pass, the Mountain Collective, and the Indy Pass.

Even if you only go a few times a year, with lift tickets as high as $200+ at major resorts, getting a ski pass might actually be cheaper.

Here’s a comparison of the four main ski passes to help you choose for the 2023-24 ski season.

Ikon Pass: For the “I Want It All” Skier

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Image by Nicole Bernsten

The Ikon Pass allows you to ski at about 50 destinations worldwide. This includes popular ski resorts such as Winter Park, Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, Stratton Mountain, Sugarbush, and Mont Tremblant.

Full Access Ikon Pass

  • Unlimited access to 16 resorts and up to seven days at 39 additional destinations throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan, and Australia.
  • No date restrictions
  • $1,259 for adults 23 years and older, discounts for children, college students, nurses, military
  • 25% off the regular ticket window price for friends and family 

Ikon Base Pass

  • Some blackout dates.
  • Five-day cap at select resorts. Some resorts are excluded.
  • Includes access to: Winter Park, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort, Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort, Snow Valley, Sugarbush Resort, Snowshoe, Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Solitude Mountain Resort.
  • $929 for adults, discounts for children, college students, nurses, and military.
  • 25% off the regular ticket window price for friends and family 

Ikon Base Plus Pass 

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  • Base price + Additional $200.
  • Access to Jackson Hole, Aspen Snowmass, Deer Valley, Sun Valley, Alta, Snowbasin, and Taos
  • 25% off the regular ticket window price for friends and family 

Epic Pass: For the Skiing Addict

The Epic Pass covers many of the most popular resorts and is a great pass if you want to ski a lot at some of your favorite destinations.

West: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stevens Pass.

Canada: Whistler Blackcomb.

Northeast: Stowe, Okemo, Mount Snow, Mount Sunapee, Attitash Mountain Resort, Wildcat Mountain, Crotched Mountain, Hunter Mountain.

Mid-Atlantic: Liberty Mountain Resort, Roundtop Mountain Resort, Whitetail Resort, Jack Frost, Big Boulder, Seven Springs, Laurel Mountain, Hidden Valley.

Midwest: Afton Alps, Mt Brighton, Wilmot, Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine, Mad River Mountain, Hidden Valley, Snow Creek, Paoli Peaks.

Epic Pass

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  • $949 for an adult pass or $483 for a child pass (ages 5 to 12), you’ll receive unlimited skiing at almost all locations with no blackout dates.
  • Only caps at International resorts.
  • Requires reservations at Telluride only in the US.
  • Includes Epic Coverage for job loss, injury, illness & more.

Epic Local Pass

  • Access to most resorts including Vail, Breck, Park City, and more. See their website for the full list.
  • 10-day maximum at Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler, and limits at some international locations.
  • Peak date restrictions.
  • $705 for an adult pass, $570 for teens ages 13-18, and $367 for children ages 5-12.
  • Discounts for military, permanent disabilities, and students. 
  • Includes Epic Coverage for job loss, injury, illness & more.

Epic Day Pass

Not a huge skier but still want to keep the cost down? The Epic Day Pass is perfect for you if you plan on skiing for seven days or less this season. 

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  • Choose your resort options with different price bands.
  • Choose your exact day number with escalating pricing.
  • Add Peak Dates for an extra charge.
  • No Buddy Tickets or Ski With a Friend Tickets.
  • 20% off food, lodging, ski lessons, and rentals at many resorts.

If you choose the most budget option that’s $43 per day for adults and $22 per day for kids.

Mountain Collective: For the Sometimes Skier That Likes to Travel

With this pass, you get access to 24 resorts worldwide, including Arapahoe Basin, Aspen Snowmass, Big Sky Resort, Grand Targhee Resort, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Maine’s Sugarloaf Ski Resort, Snowbasin, Snowbird, Sugar Bowl, Sun Valley, Taos Ski Valley, Utah’s Alta Ski Area.

  • Enjoy two days of skiing at each resort.
  • After two days, 50% off any other ski days at each individual resort.
  • No blackout days.
  • $650 for adults, $530 for teens ages 13-18, and $210 for children 12 and younger until they sell out and the price goes up.

By skiing at a variety of resorts, it gets cheaper and cheaper. You’ll just need to ski at least four to five days total to make it worth it. 

Indy Pass: For Those Who Want to Save Money, Avoid Crowds and Ski-venture

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This pass is a great affordable option if you want to ski at less large resorts, avoid lines, and also want to go to a lot of different locations. It includes over 180 locations and also includes a cap per number of days at each resort, and you get access to cross-country resorts. Opt for the Indy Pass if you’re seeking a cost-effective option that provides access to a lot of resorts. It’s way cheaper than the other passes and offers an affordable alternative for those looking to ski many places.

Both Indy Passes

  • Two days per resort
  • 25% off ticket pricing for any additional days
  • 50% off midweek/non-peak weekends, 25% off holidays and peak weekends at participating additional resorts
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Image by Alex Lange

Indy+ Pass

  • No blackout dates 
  • $499 for adults and $249 for children 12

Indy Base Pass

  • Indy Base Pass is $399 for adults and $199 for children 12 and younger
  • Honors each resort’s blackout dates.

These passes are very popular and are currently sold out, but you can join the waitlist. The best time to buy this pass is in the spring when they release tickets for sale.

How to Decide Which Ski Pass is Best

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Which annual ski pass is best for you depends on many factors. It breaks down to how much you want to ski, where you want to ski, what you can afford, and whether you want accident coverage.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Ski Pass:

  • Cost
  • Number of resorts included
  • Locations of each resort
  • How many days you want to ski
  • Unlimited versus restricted number of days
  • Whether you will need to ski blackout dates
  • Whether resorts nearby have affordable hotels
  • If the resorts you’ll have access to have really long lift lines and crowds
  • How close the resorts are to you and whether you want to travel

The Indy Pass is the cheapest and has the most number of resorts.

The Mountain Collective Pass is good for those who want to go to a bunch of different resorts but maybe don’t want to ski as much.

The Epic Pass has some of the best resorts with unlimited skiing and the local version can help you save money. The up-to-seven-day Epic Pass is perfect for those who only plan to ski up to a week over the season.

The Ikon Pass offers tons of amazing resorts and unlimited skiing and you can choose a cheaper option with blackout dates.

No matter what pass you get, it’s always better to aim to get a pass in the spring rather than now in the fall, but it’s not too late. Epic Pass prices go up in just a few days, so make sure you act quickly and make a decision before you end up paying more.

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