Or, Do You Regret Shelling Out The Bucks?

Here we are in mid-January.  The Northwest has seen abundant snowfall, the West needs more, the East, well, there’s been some uneven days, and trail counts are down. And we have COVID restrictions in place, changing the experience for lots of visitors from getting to resorts to the hill experience. Even Pitkin County, CO, —home to Aspen—has just cancelled indoor dining and moved to 50 percent capacity on lodging due to a high incidence rate of the virus. Out of state visitors need to quarantine and/or show a recent negative test for traveling to Vermont, and New Hampshire, for example.

We know that many SeniorsSkiing.com readers have bought season passes.  Ikon, Epic, resort specific, etc., there are myriad options available, all not inexpensive (unless you’re a veteran who can get awesome deals).  And here we are: An okay snow year, constraints and restrictions, and about three-four months to go for this season, depending on where you are.

Question For You: Are You Glad You Bought A Season Pass?

Are you getting the value you expected? Do you anticipate getting more use out of your pass as the season goes on? Please write your comments in Leave A Reply below.

 

 

 

47 Comments

  1. William Schneider says:

    He value of the pass is great. But I’m not getting any use out of my pass this season due to the Covid restrictions. While trying to adhere to the Massachusetts restrictions it’s impossible to conform to Vermont and New Hampshire’s restrictions. Vail/Epic doesn’t have any resorts in Massachusetts. There customer service is one of the worst in the nation. Everyone bought passes last spring in anticipation that Covid would hopefully be under control and it’s worse now than it was then. Vail/Epic will not refund monies even when people are trying to conform to their state’s Covid restrictions and to the state they wish to ski in. It would be nice if Epic rolled this season’s pass over to next season especially to those that never used theirs. Next season I hope all you Epic pass holders look towards purchasing the Ikon pass.

  2. Yes. Day 44 at Killington.

  3. David Sacks says:

    I bought an Epic Northeast which I haven’t used once. Epic Coverage has not been responsive. I am disappointed with Vail. I live in Massachusetts and planned to ski in Vermont. That is not realistic given the Covid directives from the governors in both states. In the meantime I am enjoying renewing my acquaintance with Massachusetts ski areas.

  4. The virus pandemic is getting worse not better. Virus shots are slow in getting to class B people (seniors) and getting worse not better. Eating Granola bars in the snow rather than a cheeseburger inside stinks. Skiers only very loosely follow distancing in lift lines and face covering. Constant reminders to wear your mask gets old. My pass was a waste of money. Just not fun, so why do it.

  5. Kevin K, Denver/Breckenridge says:

    I bought the Epic pass with a 20% discount due to last years early cutoff and have had the Epic pass for numerous years. While there are restrictions to work around and inconsistencies between lift lines as to seating with other parties, all in all, I had a good 5 days over 2 weeks during late December, though lines worsened as the days went on, so definitely recommend an early start. As to masks, I always wear one anyway for the cold/wind/sun, so that was a non-issue. Back in southern climes now, and waiting to see if I get more time in late February or wait until March given lack of snow in central Rockies. You only need ~4 days to break even, so this is season pass is a no-brainer.

  6. Andrew Howe says:

    If I didn’t have to still work most days, I would’ve pulled more value from my Epic pass this year. But, life is what it is! They made us “seniors” a good deal this year, so I’ll take it and deal with the winter we’ve got. Remember some of those winter of our youth…pre-snow-making? Yeech, I’ll take this year’s ok cover on limited trails any day over rocks and ice and ruination of your skis!

  7. James Patrick McGuire says:

    Being retired 100% disabled Vet the EPIC pass is a great value to me. Unfortunately the COVID restrictions limit travel to states where skiing is good. The limited skiing in the North East and the college week crowds have made using the pass a bit problematic We are hoping things will improve as winter moves forward .

  8. I live in Massachusetts and bought passes to both Bromley and Mad River Glen in VT last spring. Due to restrictions, I can’t ski VT, so had my passes deferred to next season. I bought a pass to Berkshire East and have about 8 days in so far. The trails there are short, mostly uninspiring and very few open, but at least I get out. It will definitely have been worth the price of the pass by the time this season ends.

  9. Peter Dekker says:

    As a small plane pilot, I’ve flown over Epic northeastern areas in the last few weeks. The parking lots are full, and the lift lines are tight. At close to 74 and my wife at 67, I don’t feel safe using the lodge to change, and using parking lot is not a good option. Why is it that US resorts are open when the majority of European ones are closed?
    I will not be skiing this year, the only winter in my life except for 68/69 when I was in Vietnam. I do not remember learning to ski.
    I would hope that Epic would roll over our passes to next year, they have been quite nebulous in their responses.

  10. I purchased the Ikon Pass again this year. After closing all their resorts in mid-March last year which cost me about 30 days of skiing, Ikon gave us a credit of $50 lousy bucks if you bought a pass for 2021. Of course, they also removed the Aspen resorts and Jackson Hole from the base pass as the rich, snobby locals of these resorts whined that the Ikon scum had made “their” resorts too crowded. Winter Park now requires a reservation and their weekends are completely booked through March which makes it impossibel to ski with my wife as she has a week day job.

  11. Celeste Echlin says:

    My husband and I invested about $1,200 each for 20/21 ski passes with Ikon, SkiVermont and Saddleback in Maine. Our full Ikon passes and the SkiVermont tickets came with the assurance that we can decide by April 11 not to use them and defer the purchase forward to the following year. We live in CT, are both over 65 and have member lodging with a few other families in northern VT. Due to travel restrictions & quarantine requirements in VT, we believe we won’t be able to use the house or ski in VT at all unless Covid restrictions improve by March. We probably won’t get the vaccine in CT until late in January or by the end of February. We hope to travel to Maine to ski a week, but probably not until March at newly reopened Saddleback Mountain where we also bought test-drive passes and where the Maine travel restrictions are based on negative Covid test results. Meanwhile, we’re staying safe and active with hiking and occasional cross-country and snowshoeing outings when there is snow.

  12. Mary-Jane Sackett says:

    We bought the IKON Base passes with an early discount, and a nurse’s discount for myself. If we don’t use them, they automatically roll over to next season. We are not planning on using them this season.

  13. I buy local, get 2 good areas and about a dozen lifts for $350/year. One requires a gondola ride to access the area, it may not get used much this season (if at all). The other has almost 20 days on it so far. Yes, I am getting my monies worth. Not using area #2 is okay with me, to pay a bit more and support a local business I care about is well worth the investment.

  14. I bought season passes for my family at our local CT. mountain for the first time this year. So far we have 12 days/nights on the slopes. We are having a great time, and we are getting great value from our investment. It cost about the same as one weekend away in Vermont (which we won’t be doing this year). We will ski more this year than ever before.
    In CT. our mountains are small, but they are very good at making snow. Great runs for working on technique and only a 20 minute drive home. Great year to support your local ski areas.

  15. Bob Candelmo says:

    This season I opted for Ikon (replaces my Sugarbush pass) AND Epic passes. Vail/Epic is very poorly run, was unable to get through on the phone since last spring, all resorts are routed through Vail, insane. Well though it was doubtful the pass $ was finally charged but they don’t mail them. Took over an hour on line to receive my pass at Hunter NY (closest to home),
    Mt Snow and Hunter have the most disrespectful riders anywhere. I was literally harassed for an entire chairlift ride after trying to get on a socially distanced 6 pack at Hunter this week. kept waiting for a chance to load n opposite ends of the lift only to have everyone keep packing the chairs w/6. I finally was able to get though the gate with 2 others opposite me only to have a jerk slide in the last minute. When I groaned it started an argument for the entire ride. Apparently if you are afraid of covid “you need to stay home”, I was told to remove my mask, I had the jerk put his arm around me take off his mask and spit, then asked if I wanted to take a selfie with him (LEO, Hunter attracts them like flies). Meanwhile at Ikon resorts (Sugarbush/Stratton) I have had nothing but great times on the hill where everyone seems to respect everyone else and are all trying to to make the new reality succeed!
    The only reason I get the EPIC pass is so I can ski Hunter on my way to Vermont, Mount Snow was a bonus but both areas are nothing to write home about, especially because of the crowds and their bad attitudes.
    Ikon still gives me Sugarbush and as a bonus I can Ski Stratton again
    (after a 15 year absence). I think I’ll pass on Epic next year, not worth the insults to my state of mind.

    • Bob, what’s LEO?

    • Bruce P Coffin says:

      How do you bypass the quarantine requirements for Vermont?

      I have an epic pass and can’t go into Vermont even though I’m 40 mi from the border in Washington county New York.

      • Bob Candelmo says:

        I comply. I don’t work, haven’t left the house since last March have groceries delivered, I only visit 1 other person who also lives alone and has no outside contact either. If I am not skiing I am self quarantined at home.
        When out to ski I pump my own gas with disposable glove, wear a mask, bring my own food or order at a drive through window wearing mask/disposable gloves. I haven’t been inside a base lodge in decades, boot up/change in the car and go to great lengths to socially distance in line and on the lifts, won’t ride Stowe’s gondola etc. My county has a covid reproduction rate below 1.1%.

  16. Louise Swider says:

    I live in Massachusetts, I bought the Northeast Epic pass last March anticipating to ski this season at Mount Snow, but I have not gone due to the COVID Virus and the State of Vermont has imposed the most stringent travel restrictions in the country making it impossible to ski 2-3x a week. Plus, Massachusetts has a mandatory stay at home travel restriction adding to the difficulty to travel to ski out of state. Vail Resorts has NO EPIC SKI AREAS in Massachusetts compounding the issue.
    Vail Resorts are being difficult to deal with- can’t get someone live to talk to, emails go unanswered, not responsive to the pandemic going on which is getting worse. I am asking for my pass to be ROLLED OVER for 21-22 as they will not refund my pass. I am abiding by the States of Vermont & Massachusetts travel restrictions and staying safe at home. Why can’t Vail Resorts understand this???
    I have had a pass at Mount snow now for 12 yrs. and skied there many times before I retired. I will have to seriously reconsider buying an Epic pass from Vail Resorts in the future.

  17. Snowbasin and Powder Mountain each understood perfectly when we told them we were too concerned about the virus to fly from Alaska to Utah this winter and they refunded us in full. Of course we’ll try again next winter. Luckily the skiing is good in Alaska, and the winter has been warm.

  18. W. Galbraith Sr. says:

    can a skier 88years old ski free any where in the US?

  19. I live in the Seattle area, have an EPIC pass, and haven’t used it even once so far. With the Canadian border closed, there is no going to Whistler, which is our preferred destination. The biggest problem has been the terrible response from Vail Resorts; I have called probably 20 times since September, have emailed twice, have sent a personal letter via snail mail, and have not been contacted at all. Rob Katz sent out a letter apologizing for the frustration, but certainly took no steps to improve the interaction.

    • Robert Candelmo says:

      Rob Katz also was the only person to contact me during my 8 months of trying to reach someone. He emailed me to say they were doing their best but could not address my question. During that time I kept getting conflicting emails that I must jump through hoops for my autorenewal to kick in. Eventually they charged my credit card but there was no way to get it mailed to me.

  20. Louise Swider says:

    I live in Massachusetts and bought my Northeast Epic pass last March 2020 expecting to ski at Mount Snow 2-3x a week. I have not used my pass due to the COVID Virus pandemic, which is getting worse daily, and the State of Vermont has imposed the most stringent travel restrictions in the country making it impossible to travel to Mount Snow. Plus, Massachusetts has a mandatory travel restriction, again making it difficult to travel out of state to ski. I am abiding by the state restrictions and staying safe at home.
    Vail Resorts DO NOT HAVE ANY EPIC RESORTS IN MASSACHUSETTS, which makes it impossible to use my pass.
    I have contacted Vail Resorts- can’t get someone live to talk to, emails go unanswered. All I want is for my Epic Pass to be ROLLED OVER for 21-22 as they will not refund my pass. Don’t they understand there is a pandemic going on and we are all trying to stay safe??
    I have had a pass at Mount Snow now for the past 12 yrs. and skied there many times before I retired. I will have to seriously reconsider purchasing any pass from Vail Resorts in the future.

  21. I live in Utah and have several passes. Utah has been pretty rational when it comes to keeping businesses open. All of the resorts are now open and skiing is ok, given the fact we are having a split jet stream season.

    I am skiing three to four days a week. The only real limitation is lack of food access at some resorts. Or the requirement for advance reservations for food, which makes the usual spontaneous food stop impossible.

    I have had no problems booting up in the parking lots. Brings me back to my youth. Just part of skiing.

    Gaitors are the norm for face coverings. People are very good about wearing face coverings. And ski staffs, generally, are not acting like mask nazis. i have also not seen other skiers/boarders acting like mask nazis towards others (who may not conform to some self determined mask standard).

    PCMR requires advance reservations. It is a bit of a hassle, but much less so than I expected. It is easy, during the week, to get a reservation for the next day.

    It has been a surprisingly normal season, given everything. One nice aspect has been the lower number of skiers which has dramatically improved the safety of skiers (fewer jerk skiers and more space).

  22. Cheryl Brown says:

    We are a mid-70’s retired couple from upstate NY, who share a Colorado condo with two three- generation families. We typically spend 10 weeks at the condo enjoying Vail and Beaver Creek. This year we are not traveling. NY, the CDC and our doctors recommend not traveling. We have a high rate of infection in our home area and Eagle County in Colorado is in a ‘high risk ‘ category due to their level of cases. We are long-term EPIC pass purchasers and are terribly disappointed at EPIC’S stance on covid-based refunds. We did file a claim but were denied. We would be delighted if they simply rolled our $$ into next seasons’ pass and hope that ultimately they will decide to do that. Right now we are very sorry we purchased the pass…and are sad that such a reputable company has taken the stance they have. Buyer beware.

  23. Kelli Majiros says:

    I always get my money’s worth out of a season pass by skiing locally mid-week most of the time. This year isn’t any different for me. There are definitely more people midweek this year though. I just get there early and stop skiing by 1:00.

  24. Connie Grodensky says:

    Having moved to Oregon to ski at Mt. Bachelor, we have always purchased season passes, and this year was no exception. When the mountain offered us a discount from last season, as well as a reduced price if bought in July, we did so. They also gave us until December 15 to cancel our passes. We did not. We do have to reserve a parking space, and it has been a real hassle. So far, we’ve had ONE day on the snow. However, we anticipate a much better late season, since we know that Mt. B delivers an exceptional March ski experience. So far, from what I’ve read, people have been good about masking up, and the lift lines on the day we went, it didn’t look like a problem. I’m usually one to boot-up in the lodge, and I miss that, but I can deal with it. We usually hit a bar on the way down the mountain for food and drink, but with our restrictions in Oregon right now (restaurants and bars closed), we just head on home when we’re tired! I look forward to a somewhat restricted season, but hoping to get our days on the snow soon.

    • James Stangl says:

      Looking forward to enjoying some Spring skiing again at Mt. B! My family usually brown bags it anyway, so if there is a free table on the day lodge patio, it’s all good!

  25. Epic pass has no customer service or willingness to discuss refunds due to covid restrictions, which make it impossible to use for CT residents. I never received my pass, and have not been able to speak with a human after two months of emailed notifications that I did not receive my pass. Vail is now on my never again list

  26. I live in Vermont and bought an ikon base pass. Since I can’t travel out of state to ski due to covid restrictions I decided the value wasn’t there and deferred my pass to next winter. Instead, I bought a slightly less expensive Stratton pass which I have gotten my moneys worth from. I find I’m a little less motivated to ski with base lodge restrictions and booting up at the car but it still beats the alternative.

  27. Cansnowplow says:

    I bought a pass at MRG in October but have to cross the VT state line to get there. I paid an extra $25 on the cost of the pass, and this provided me with a cash refund option instead of credit toward next years pass if you decide to cancel the pass by mid December. VT governor imposed a 7 day quarantine, then a COVID neg. test before you cross their state line. I requested a cash refund due to this and expressed that I’ll see them in March 2021. I believe a-lot of resorts will be offering $99 – $199 season pass deals for the rest of this year in order to capture market share once the vaccine #1 &#2 are in. Then, in mid-March 2021, I expect next year’s pass purchases will come with the added bonus of free use for the remainder of the season.

  28. Peter Shepherd says:

    Zero value so far and a very sour taste for any future relationship with Vail Resorts. Bought Epic pass in the fall with an assurance that if unable to use due to quarantine restrictions a refund could be obtained. Live in Massachusetts and planned to ski day trips to Vermont (there are no Vail resorts in MA). Can’t travel to VT due to quarantine restriction and can’t leave MA unless you quarantine upon returning, limiting potential day trips to just several per month with the quarantines before and in-between potential day trips. Not looking promising for quarantine restrictions to ease before this season’s done and Vail so far is holding firm that these quarantines are not of the nature where the Epic Assurance Coverage applies. Vail/Bob Katz shame on me for trusting you and shame on you for not delivering on your assurance and doing what is right!

  29. Paula Williams says:

    My husband and I live in Idaho and are getting our money’s worth skiing at least twice a week. We ski locally and normally wear ski masks. The lodge is open for take-out food and drinks or you can tail-gate at your vehicle. No complaints here.

  30. Yes, getting my money’s worth. Have the Epic Northeast midweek pass and live in NH. Have a lot more company skiing midweek this season, so I assume others are also getting value from a pass.

    Interesting comments from folks in Massachusetts and Connecticut who have Epic passes but are following the rules, much appreciated. Given the number out of state cars on the roads heading north (VT, NH,Me) and in the resort parking lots, seems like a lot of folks are still coming up.

  31. James Stangl says:

    I wasn’t able to use my Ikon Base Pass last season due to back problems and then the COVID shutdowns, so Alterra rolled it over for me. My daughter’s pass came with a renewal discount. So far, I’ve been able to use mine for 6 days, and expect to ski more at our local hill (Crystal in WA) and at Mt. Bachelor this Spring. So we’ll more than break even.

    Can only comment on behavior at Crystal and A-Basin (skied there in December), but folks overall were cool with distancing and keeping their masks or balaclavas up, and not trying to cram onto lifts. Having lunch in your car is a bit of a pain, but it beats not skiing, and sure saves $$ rather than buying lunch at the lodge!

  32. I have been skiing at Okemo for more than 30 years, and for the past 10th years in a row (since I retired) I have purchased a season pass. Last season was cut short by COVID and Vail gave discounts for this years pass along with 16 discounted tickets I could use for family and friends. This was very much appreciated. The problem in 2021 is quarantine rules, both in Vermont and my home state of NJ have greatly limited the number of trips I and my family have been able to,take to Vermont. For the first time ever I will not get my money’s worth from the season pass and will use very few of the discount tickets since my kids and grandkids aren’t able to come to Vermont. Next year I will not get a season pass and see how the year plays out.

    • Patricia Bee says:

      Okemo our family mountain for over 40 years! So disappointing that Vail took it over! Because of the Covid restrictions, I haven’t skied once this year!! From what I’m reading on this site Vail doesn’t seem to care about the travel restrictions due to Covid. I feel that it’s important to respect Vermont’s restrictions and feel, badly, for the local people, since it appears that their cases are increasing!

  33. Kermit G Witherbee says:

    I have been s season pass holder for Copper Mt (included: Copper, Winter Park, Steamboat, and others) for several decades. Switched to ICON when first available. Was fortunate to ski the last week at Copper and A Basin the week of shutting down for COVID. This season I passed on ICON, and purchased season passes at A Basin and Loveland Basin. Both passes totaled $298 (over age 70 years). I am not required to make parking reservations or reserve skiing in advance on line.

  34. Rebecca Royston says:

    Just survived, barely, a MLK Jr. weekend at Mount Snow. As per usual this holiday weekend, huge crowds, but unfortunately no lifts servicing the top and not all lower mountain lifts operating. “High winds” I believe on Sunday, not on Saturday. Sunday it took me 4 hours to do 6 runs arriving at 8:00. I know the mountain well so I was able to access all lifts that were open, but still, after 2 days of snow it was hard to enjoy it. Epic Pass holders were blocked on Saturday for reserving Sunday but I saw that ticket buyers could still buy a ticket for Sunday. Then Sunday morning, passholder reservations were available for the day. Hmmmm, saving room for ticket buyers but blocking passholders until the last minute? Aparently Vail favors scraping for the incremental sale over taking care of the paid-up passholder.

  35. Jean Patton says:

    We have individual passes at four areas: Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, Eldora, and Monarch, in Colorado. The snow’s the factor – the season has been a bust so far. No advance terrain is open, what’s left is in marginal shape, and without activities like long lunches with friends, there’s no reason to drive from Boulder just to ride two lifts and ski a half-dozen runs. We’re waiting for snow, and even if Colorado gets it, I doubt we’ll ski enough to make the price of the passes (Monarch is free) worth it. It’s all about the snow.

  36. Esteban E Sarmiento says:

    With covid and the specter of a poor snow season hanging like Damocles sword over the 2020/2021 ski season, I passed on skiing this year, and the purchase of a season pass. I am glad I did. As underscored by the reply letters ski passes like the epic and IKon are a total rip off tailored to exempt the seller and resorts from accountability. I might go to Switzerland to ski in March and maybe get a few days in at Lake Placid for a total of ten days, but as a senior I dont expect to shell out more than $350 for lift tickets.

  37. Been skiing in Vermont 50 years today is my 35th day this season LP & ME .

    I keep daily records ski about 3 hours a day and have to say all , but 1 was worthwhile, including maybe 6 powder days and due to snowmaking and grooming and the fact we have had no very warm days followed by deep freezes, not much eastern ice.
    Due to COVID restrictions, it is all skiing no social, and home for lunch
    Everyone follows COVID procedures but I have a feeling there is much abuse of the quarantine restriction. I have run into quite a few folks who are spending the whole winter in Vermont and working remotely. For sure I am getting very good value out of my pass.

  38. As a Massachusetts resident who has skied many years at Mount Snow on midweek season passes, this season under the new Vail overlords has been a big zero. When Vermont issued 14 day quarantine requirements for non-essential visitors, and MA followed suit days later, my Epic northeast pass became useless. It’s a wonder that #VailsEpicHoax isn’t trending in MA, as Vail is refusing to honor the Epic guarantee it touted last summer while telling us to buy a pass without worrying. Attention class-action attorneys, there’s a powerful email from Mt. Snow last November to MA parents essentially saying your kids can’t come.

Leave a Reply

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

*