Pricing of the new IKON Pass has raised concerns among older skiers, especially people living close to Mammoth and Squaw Valley. Those and some other IKON resorts are eliminating local season passes, most of which had senior discounts.

Like EPIC, Mountain Collective, and other bundled packages, IKON generally offers good value.

Ski pass pricing is complicated and making a decision about which bundle, if any, to buy should be determined by where you live and where you intend to ski.

Next season, many of the IKON resorts will have IKON as their only season pass option. Mammoth, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, and Steamboat are among those retiring their local season passes.

Now, people living near those areas will be required to purchase the $899 IKON pass for unlimited skiing. One extreme example of the penalty they’ll pay is at Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. This season, 65-75 year olds had unlimited skiing for $719, a $180 difference from what they’ll pay to ski there in 18-19. The most dramatic sticker shock will be for 76+ skiers: This season they paid $389 for (mostly unlimited access). Next season, IKON will force a $500+ increase.

Granted, IKON provides access to many other areas. It really is a very good bundled option. But for the 76+ group at Squaw/Alpine who limited their skiing to those resorts, it will cost a lot more.

The cost difference between IKON and this season’s Cali4nia Pass at Mammoth is about $400 more, but the resort plans to continue its free skiing policy for the 80+.

 Friends of Squaw Valley has started an initiative to persuade Alterra Mountain Corporation, the resort conglomerate behind IKON, to include local passes and senior discounts.

IKON has two pricing levels, neither of which includes senior pricing.

  • Unlimited costs $899 and includes unlimited skiing at 12 specific destinations. In addition, it offers seven days at each of 13 other resorts.
    • Of the areas with unlimited access, four are in Colorado (Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper, Eldora) and four are in California (Mammoth, Squaw/Alpine, Big Bear, June). The others are Stratton, Tremblant, Snowshoe, and Blue Mountain.
    • Resorts where pass holders can ski up to seven days each are Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, Aspen/Snowmass, Killington, Sugarbush, Loon, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Revelstoke and SkiBig3.
  • Base Pass costs $599 and offers unlimited skiing at 10 destinations and up to five days each at 15 other resorts.
    • The areas with unlimited access are Tremblant, Winter Park, Copper, Big Bear, Blue Mountain, Snowshoe, and Eldora.
    • The five days apply to each of the other areas in the Unlimited package.

Copper Mountain is one of the IKON resorts. It’s 2018-19 season pass is $369 for 70+ seniors and gives unlimited access plus three days, each, at Purgatory, Monarch, Powder Mountain and Taos. It has other free skiing with lodging benefits elsewhere.

If I lived near Copper and planned to ski there exclusively, the $369 purchase would be a no brainer. If I planned to take a few excursions to Aspen/SnowmassWinter Park, Eldora, Steamboat or any of the other resorts covered by IKON, I’d spend the additional $230 for IKON’s $599 Base Pass.

The bundled ticket trend requires careful determination of what is best, based on where we live, where we ski, and what next season holds in store.

Marketers know that it’s easier to get a bit more out of the customer when they throw in the extras, even though most purchasers will use a small portion of what they bought.

Bundled ski passes — IKON, EPIC, Mountain Collective, etc. — offer good value. Study the options and make choices based on a realistic appraisal of where you think you’ll ski next season.

5 Comments

  1. John Christiano says:

    If you could compose a spread sheet of all the bundled ski pass deals it would be great. I for one would print it and hang on my fridge and contemplate it for the next few months. I live in ski country ( Sugarbush) and still ski at different european and western resorts. I am waiting for an all Europe ski pass. For me and my wife that would be a no brainer.
    Having skied out west on many occasions I have to mention this order and over again. Why would you go a resort that will make you sick, cause breathing problems and where alcohol is a no no. In most cases you are going there for only a week or so. There is no way of predicting altitude problems. It is not a minor illness it seriously sucks (No pun intended). The reason employees don’t go back to Telluride is because of altitude sickness. If you want to go to a resort that sells oxygen in small canisters, go for it.
    We who live in th east are lucky about one thing compared to the west and that is that a airline ticket to europe is the same price as a ticket out west. No altitude problems ever. And you don’t have to eat so-so cuisine. That is a no brainer. I have been skiing here in the East for 32 years. The bad ski days far out number the good. Ice, wind, 20 below temps bad viz. We get one sunny day for seven cloudy days. Don’t even think of moving here. This year it didn’t snow until three weeks ago. It is wet and sticky. We call it ACL snow. Sorry I am bad mouthing the place where I live but after all is said and done, we should have moved to Park City 35 years ago.
    My wife and I are serious(80 day a year) skiers and love to ski but putting up to what we have to endure for a few good runs is stupid.
    If you could put up a spread sheet listing all the multi resort ski passes that would be a joy. If you’d come to ski with us, keep them razor sharp. Bye. PS. We don’t sell suntan lotion in Vermont.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      John, I grew up on NE ice. Moved West in 2000, first to Park City, then Salt Lake City, now next to one of the national parks. You make some excellent points re high elevation here vs European resorts. Food is generally better at Euro resorts, but the eats at places like Deer Valley and Vail aren’t too shabby. Utah gets a bad rap when it comes to alcohol. It’s still a pain in the butt, but less of an issue these days. Beer here comes in high and low test. Higher octane is available only in state stores. 3.2 is in supermarkets and convenience stores. I’ve found that 3.2 works at the higher elevations; doesn’t knock me out. Hope to bump into you on a flight to the Alps! Jon

  2. Sandy Curtis says:

    Epic is offering a $499 pass for veterans. Loveland has a season pass for 70+ for$99 and no tunnel problems.

  3. Look North, look north Seniors. There are many, many deals in the Canadian Rockies. The USD gets you even more dollar savings due to the Exchange Rate. CAD/1.29 currently makes for even a better deal. Whistler-Blackcombe still offers a Senior Season Pass that equates to $163.00 USD and comes with several reciprocals at US and Canadian Resorts. Red Mountain just north of Spokane , WA offers a Senior Season Pass for, get this, $25.00 CAD. No that is not a typo and it has reciprocal agreements at several resorts that give you a 25% discount on daily lift tickets and then you get a further discount due to the favorable exchange rate. Snow is much more predictable also.
    Think snow,
    Fast Eddie from Arizona, 78 years young and still melting snow annually.

    • Jon Weisberg says:

      Fast Eddy, and all other senior skiers: Look for our annual list of areas where seniors ski free or almost free. It will publish in next few weeks. This year, we’ve expanded it to include Canadian resorts.

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