Multi Mountain Ski Pass Comparison - 2023-2024 Season
Get The Best Bang For Your Buck With These Four Skiing/Snowboarding Passes That Provide Access To Mountains Throughout The US And All Over The World!
Whistler Blackcomb Ski Resort: British Columbia, Canada - Photo Credit: Paul Engel
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Skiing and snowboarding may be the two most popular winter sports in the world, but they are certainly among the most expensive as well. Both sports not only require extensive winter gear and lift tickets, but also accommodations when visiting resorts. Heading to iconic resorts, on either the east or west coast, typically means planning flights and a multiple night stay at, or nearby, the mountains - neither of which tend to be cheap.
After accommodations and gear, lift tickets tend to be the most expensive aspect of the two sports. Lift tickets typically cost well over $100 per person each day, and can even exceed $200 per day for an ever-increasing number of popular resorts such as Vail during the peak season. Although the passes require a hefty up-front purchase, if you plan on going skiing frequently most of these passes pay for themselves within several ski trips. After deciding where you want to ski, and how often you want to ski, purchasing one of the four season tickets we outline below is the best way to make your upcoming season affordable as well as enjoyable! Most of these passes go on sale annually in the Spring, and are only available until the very beginning of that year’s skiing/snowboarding season.
The discounts are extreme, but the tradeoff is you have to purchase them long before the season in question begins! Fortunately, most of these passes offer payment plans to help alleviate the financial burden, as well as insurance plans in the event something happens that interrupts or prevents your ski season from happening.
The two most popular ski passes are the Ikon and Epic.
Editor's note, this article is an update to last year's Guide to Multi Mountain Ski Passes, with new information for the upcoming 2023-4 season. The article was originally written by Pathloom intern Abby Voce, and she included so much useful information that we wanted to keep everything as intact as possible for this updated edition. Read on for information about what these Ski Passes include, how to purchase them, and how to get the most for your money when skiing next season!
Kirkwood Mountain Resort: Kirkwood, CA - Photo Credit: Daniel Gutierrez
2023-2024 Season Passes Now Available!
The Ikon pass, as its name suggests, is definitely the most iconic pass on this list. This pass offers access to 54 ski resorts, most of which are world-renowned destinations, for $1,159. If you are looking to ski the ‘big boys’ with lots of options (primarily in the western US) - this is the pass for you. This pass includes access to over a dozen international locations as well for those interested in taking their ski vacations overseas (or up North!)
Ikon offers a range of plan options for skiiers of all budget and interest levels, ranging from unlimited access with no blackout dates all the way down to a 2-day pass. Even the less ambitious passes still offer significant savings though - for example the 2-day pass may seem a bit steep at $259, but when you compare it to 2 lift tickets at a resort like Palisades up in Tahoe at $205 per day (even more on the weekends!), you realize that even the base level pass presents a great deal.
Depending on the level of the Ikon pass, access to each destination ranges from 7 days per resort per season to unlimited access throughout the entire winter. Details and purchasing info for the Ikon pass can be found here.
Loon Mountain Resort: Lincoln, NH - Photo Credit: Tyler Gemmer
2023-2024 Season Passes Now Available!
The Epic pass offers access to a wide variety of destinations globally, including many across the United States. Most notably, this pass offers unlimited access to Vail, Telluride, and many other famous destinations throughout the US, for $909. Epic also allows you to pick a pass based on region if you are primarily skiing one area of the country - for substantially less of a financial commitment than a universal pass. Access ranges from 3 days per location to unlimited, depending on the resort. Since I am personally located in Boston and have no plans to ski out West this season, I purchased Epic’s Northeast Value pass. The Epic pass provides the most resort options for Midwest and East coast skiing.
A Hungry Grey Jay at Kachina Peak: Taos, NM - Photo Credit: Tyler Gemmer
Although the argument between Ikon and Epic is highly debated, it truly comes down to which mountains you want to ski, and which you will ski most frequently throughout the season. After roughly outlining my plans for the season, I researched which pass had the most destinations around the region in which I was going to do the majority of my skiing. Although I purchased the Northeast Value pass this season, I will also be able to enjoy discounted buddy lift tickets when skiing out West with either Epic or Ikon pass customers!
Click here to view an extremely useful comparative map of resort locations for both the Epic and Ikon Passes.
Epic and Ikon passes give you the best value for your buck, but the price tags aren’t for everyone. The Mountain Collective and Indy Pass, outlined below, are great for shorter ski trips, and don’t require nearly as large of a purchase.
Northstar California Resort: Truckee, CA - Photo Credit: Diana Brooks
MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE SEASON PASS
2023-2024 Season Passes Now Available!
If you're planning multiple 2-3 day weekend ski trips at several different destinations throughout the season - the Mountain Collective will likely be your best choice. This pass offers 2-day access to 24 collective resort destinations such as Aspen and Big Sky - a total of 48 days for $570 (less expensive options available for Teens and Children). Additionally, the pass offers 50% off all additional days at these destinations with no blackout dates. Furthermore, this pass is currently offering an Early Bird special where you can add a third free day for your favorite resort! (Limited time offer)
I would recommend this pass if you are traveling full-time, for cost-effective access to a variety of resorts. Keep in mind though - unlike other passes this one is an 'all sales final' deal - meaning if injury or life in general prevents you from utilizing the pass during the season, no refunds will be issued. It would be wise to consider purchasing an insurance package along with this pass in case disaster were to occur.
More details on the Mountain Collective pass can be found here.
Big Sky Resort: Mountain Village, MT - Photo Credit: Tyler Gemmer
The Indy pass is perfect for those skiers who want to explore less popular, authentic and independent resorts. The pass offers 2-day access to 120 famous off-the-beaten-path resorts located throughout the United States, Canada and Japan, for $279. In addition, you can purchase a ticket for a third day at each resort for 25% off the usual daily rate.
Skiing less popular mountains can be a viable alternative to crowded resorts, especially during the peak holiday season. The Indy+ pass is available with no blackout dates - you can learn more about the different pass options here. This is also the only pass on this list that is available for sale throughout the entire season, so you can decide if you want to purchase the pass mid-season if a ski opportunity arises.
Keep up to date with the individual websites for each pass in the coming weeks for deals and discounts. It is important to note that once the season begins, all passes (except the Indy Pass) will no longer be available to purchase. For each pass there are a variety of Military, College, Youth, and Senior discounts available as well. Check each website for details on blackout date restrictions for each pass - those could severely impact your travel plans! Passes usually include discounts for buddy lift tickets, food, drink, lodging, rentals, ski lessons and lift tickets at other destinations as well.
These passes allow you to enjoy a variety of world renowned ski destinations while avoiding the astronomical cost of daily lift tickets this upcoming season. You can't beat saving money and having more days on the mountain!
Heavenly Mountain Resort: South Lake Tahoe, CA - Photo Credit: Daniel Gutierrez
Editor's Note: Thanks to everyone who submitted these incredible skiing and snowboarding photos for this article! If you've got some good pics from ski trips you've taken in the past, we'd love to feature them in an upcoming blog! Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll talk details and submission guidelines!
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