To Buy Or Not To Buy (Yet): That Is The Question.

It should be clear by now that if you intend to ski more than two or three times a season at mid-large resort, a season pass is required. Basically, walk-up tickets are major resorts are in the $15o to $200+ range which is fine if you have limited interest, time, or abundant resources.

Now we learn that Vail’s Epic pass will be sold at a 20 percent discount from last year’s. Vails chief executive Rob Katz clearly states that the strategy is to “move ticket buyers to a pass.” Dropping the price is certainly one way to do that. It’s also a way to add to the revenue line after a year of increased expenses for COVID.  So the push is on to buy a pass.  For example, the Epic Northeast Midweek Pass for seniors 65-plus has dropped to $271.  In the west, the Tahoe Value Pass is $359 for seniors. Pretty tempting.

Predictable consequences: More people showing up, crowding parking lots, longer lift lines? Or, more darkly, not being able or wanting to ski at a resort because of ongoing virus restrictions which still may be a factor in 2021-22? Unpredictable consequences? Who knows?

Question For You: Given the bargain prices for season passes, do you plan to purchase one as soon as you can (i.e., now), wait and see, or skip it because of…what? Will you be looking forward to heading to bigger resorts with your new pass? Will you continue to be content with “mom and pop” hills where you can ski mid-week for cheap?

Please comment in Leave A Reply below.

 

18 Comments

  1. Ed Schultz says:

    I live in Upstate New York. Skiing in New England is a bit far away for any extended ski trips. Some of the Epic and Ikon resorts in New England I don’t normally ski. Granted it means skiing some smaller resorts in New York state but this year I skied ten times and spent $400. There are still some resorts like Sugarbush and Bretton Woods that are reasonable for seniors without a season pass. So I think the next year I’ll stick with the smaller ski areas and shoot for more visits. As another example this year anyway skiing at Gore Mountain was $40 during the week for a senior ticket. Thanks Senior Skiing for your informative articles.

  2. Jack Murray says:

    We renewed our weekday passes at Bretton Woods for next season.

  3. Frederick Michael Rust says:

    you might want to check out the Indy pass. It’s for a bunch of smaller ski hills, two days a year at each, for $149 this Spring (increase in Dec I think). The third day or a blackout day is at a 25% discount.

    I saw Catamount and Magic Mountain are on the list, and a few NY places I don’t know.

  4. Frederick Michael Rust says:

    Edit to previous comment: The $149 was the “Indy Spring” pass price a few weeks ago, now down to $69 as of April 9. Pricing for next year’s Indy Pass isn’t on their website yet, but I remember about $250 for the full season.

  5. Greg Delwiche says:

    I live in the Pacific Northwest. Last year I bought the Mountain Collective pass and traveled to Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and California to ski at MC resorts – I found them to all be terribly overcrowded, and as a result I don’t plan on skiing in the foreseeable at the big resorts that are on the Epic or Ikon passes, the low prices and large sale volumes of these passes have destroyed the ski experience for me. I will stick to my local resort in the future, and travel to other resorts that are independent and not on any of these passes. There are plenty of smaller ski areas in in the inter mountain west that offer a wonderful experience without hoards of people.

    • Completely agree with you Greg. if you love crowds then the epic, ikon and mtn. col. are for you. two years ago on the heated seats of the Big Sky domed quad there was a sticker placed by a local that said “ikon not wait til you leave” so the locals have had their ski experience down graded by the ski corporations

  6. Peter Dekker says:

    Waiting on Epic to see what they do with this years unused pass. Sugarbush making this years pass good for next year, as is Wachusett if either not used and you request it.

  7. Mark Zmich says:

    I live in north central Vermont. An hour or less from Stowe, Smuggler Notch Resort & Sugarbush. (I skied all 3 this season under all conditions) If I had to choose one area for the best deal, best overall conditions & shortest lift lines hands down Sugarbush. Next season’s boomer pass (65 + midweek on sale for $200. till May ?) See you there .

  8. live in western Colorado and only go to resorts on a powder day. Oh my how things have changed at Aspen/Snowmass get there an hour early and join the masses, if you have an ikon, mtn. collective or Aspen pass you are always welcome so limiting ticket sales means nothing.while waiting in line you can figure out how many people get off a six pack chair every minute!
    so I purchased a season pass for21-22 at Powderhorn for $349 complete with buddy passes and ski days at Sunlight, Loveland, Monarch and others. no super quads and six packs. chair lifts slow enough you can enjoy some hot tea on the way up. the deal ended April 4 as this was a half price two week offering

  9. Jean Patton says:

    I’m a native Coloradan – I met my husband in Steamboat Springs during our 10-year odyssey there (1974-1984). We live near Boulder now, and I’m done in by the crowding, environmental degradation, tone/attitude on the big hills, and cost, regardless of the deals. My gang has skied together for 40+ years, and we no longer hit the big resorts, though we live in Paradise. We NEVER ski weekends. Monarch is our go-to, Eldora (which is crowded) is the local hill, and we often run over to Utah to ski the smaller areas there. We’ll buy the Ikon because we’re spending more on individual season passes than the Ikon costs, and will add the Loveland pass, at $115. Even in this “Covid year,” the crowds have been substantial, traffic is a nightmare, and my heart aches for simpler days.

  10. Kelli Majiros says:

    My local ski hill in NEPA is on the EPIC pass and their retired military price was WAY a better deal than I can get at other nearby independent mountains so I purchased it again and, this time, at 20% off! I missed the apres skiing and socializing at the mountain this year, but appreciated that we had skiing at all! Midweek skiing was still the way to go though!

  11. Connie Grodensky says:

    Since we moved to Oregon to ski at Mt. Bachelor, we will continue to purchase our mid-week senior ski pass. Even though the mountain was incredibly crowded this year (Canada being closed most likely did not help), we will continue to enjoy mid-week skiing at a decent price all season. We will have to purchase our pass by May 31 this year to lock in a decent price, but, hey, it’s all good, right?
    Happy trails!

  12. Cansnowplow says:

    I’m bucking the mega-multi pass trend. It is bad for the ski industry. It eliminates the beginning skier. One look at the cost of a walk-up day lift ticket by a beginner and experiencing the frustration a beginner experiences , they will say, “it’s not for me.” I believe we are the last generation for this industry. Children of skiers’ numbers are not adequate to sustain the expansion our mega ski areas reached in the last 20 years. Without new blood, the ski area prices being demanded by the megas’ will increase exponentially in order to make it. Prices at mega ski areas have just about doubled in the last 5 years.

    • Mark Zmich says:

      Not sure if Stowe falls under the definition of “mega ski area” . What I Know is in the last 30 + years 2021/2022 Epic Local season pass has cut the cost of a season pass by more than 50%. And yes I have held season passes at Stowe for the last 40 years.

  13. I have always bought my Okemo season pass in April to get the discount. Last year, with all the Covid restrictions, I was not able to ski enough to make it worthwhile. Not sure what I will do this year, but definitely not purchasing in April. I’ll wait to fall or early winter to make decisions.

  14. No, I will not purchase anything like the IKON or the EPIC pass. I am done with the expensive and touristy places. It’s not just the expense. These places are also the most crowded, and both the food and the lodging are expensive.

    The only 2 passes I will buy are:
    1. The INDY Pass to 56 independent ski areas distributed more or less uniformly across the West, Mid-west, and the East, offering 2 free days at each of the participating 56 ski areas.

    2. The Powder Alliance – which is an agreement between 18 ski areas to honor each other’s season passes. IF you buy a season pass at any one of them, you get 3 free ski days at all the other 17 ski areas. The participating ski areas are: Timberline, Mt. Hood Skibowl, Mission Ridge, White Pass, Silver Mt, Bridger Bowl, Sierra-at-Tahoe, Bogus Basin, China Peak, Mountain High, Angel Fire, Loveland, Monarch Mt., Marmot Basin, Castle Mt., Eaglecrest (AK), Kiroro (Japan), La Parva (Chile).

    Note that Loveland (Colorado) is part of this alliance. If you have a Loveland ski pass, you can ski for 3 free days at all 17 of the others.

    Also, fortunately, there are still ski areas that offer plenty of good skiing for a reasonable price and with no crowds, where there are no lift lines and you can literally just ski directly to the lift. Here are just some of them that I have visited during the past 2 years:

    NOTE: All the prices are in a currency that is umentionable, because the Seniors Skiing spam filter rejects my posting any time I mention the currency. This is totally ridiculous.

    Badger Mountain, WA. Offering the cheapest lift tickets in North America. Just 10 schmucks.

    Loup Loup, WA. Offering 1,240 vertical feet. Seniors pay 37 schmucks mid-week.

    Turner Mountain, Montana. Offering 2,100 vertical feet and a surprising amount of advanced terrain including a lot of powder skiing. Seniors pay only 31 schmucks.

    Baldy Mountain, British Columbia. 1,300 vertical feet and 2 adjacent hills, with lots of tree and powder skiing in addition to lots of groomers, and all for just 30 Canadian schmucks.

    Salmo Ski Hill, British Columbia. Surprisingly interesting, undulating terrain and 1,000 vertical feet. Seniors pay only 17.50 Canadian schmucks.

    These are just some of the hidden gems I have discovered recently. There are many others, but I will not divulge them all. However, it’s not difficult to find them all. There a bit under 200 ski areas west of Denver, Colorado, counting both US and Canada. Ski them all!!!!

  15. Peteer Hogan says:

    This season was a bit of a bust for me. I went to one ski area and was frankly scared. LInes too close, masks not vigorously enforced, and porta pottis uninviting. So, it was three ski outings for the season. Last one was at Camden Snow Bowl in Maine, a small but totally delightful area with ocean views. Utah trip with stepson was cancelled. I know they had great snow there – bummer. Next season I think I will get an Ikon base pass. It covers the New England bigger mountains that I generally prefer, and many Western Mountains that I like too. I will have to ski about 14 days to hit my target of $50 a day skiing. I’m up for the challenge.

  16. Paul Remillard says:

    Used the EPIC Pass this season. In the Northeast their ski areas were very crowded and lift capacity limits just made it worst.
    For the 21/22 season I opted for the Ragged Mt. season pass. It has 50% & 25% discounts weekdays and weekends respectively at Pats Peak, Whaleback, Jay Peak and Ski Butternut plus free skiing at all Pacific Group Resorts and 50% & 25% off midweek and weekends respectively at Highland Mtn. Bike Park all summer long.
    I bought before April 4th for $349. It’s now priced at $449. thru September 6th.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*