Compare Ikon and M.A.X. And Major Differences Are Revealed.

To evaluate the Ikon Pass I’ll compare it to what it replaces, the M.A.X. Pass, and look at what it offers in and of itself. Because they are at similar price points I’ll be comparing the M.A.X. Pass with the Ikon Base Pass. While both passes include a variety of resorts across the US and Canada, this discussion is based solely on Northeast resort offerings.

Apologies in advance to fellow skiers in other parts of the country for I’m writing about what I know about, the Northeast—New York and New England, I’ve skied at 12 of the 13 resorts mentioned in this article. In recent posts to SeniorsSkiing Torry Hack (3/15/18) and Jon Weisberg (3/20/18) also discuss the Ikon Pass.

The early purchase price of the Ikon Base Pass for 2018 -19 is $599 while the early purchase price of M.A.X. Pass for 2017-18 was $630. The Ikon Base Pass offers skiing at six  resorts in the Northeast compared to 13 with the M.A.X. Pass. The Ikon pass adds Sugarbush but eliminates Belleayre, Pico, Gore, Mount Sunapee, Okemo, Wachusett, Windham and Whiteface. There are no special price categories for seniors for either pass.

With the Ikon Base Pass, we’re offered five days at three of the resorts and a total of five days combined at Loon, Sugarloaf and Sunday River. That’s a total of 20 days, and there are 10 blackout days.

The M.A.X. Pass had five days at 13 Northeast resorts for a total of 65 days and no blackout dates.

When I contacted Ikon pass with my concerns about their new product, they responded quickly which was appreciated. However, this is the response I received:

“We feel this new product will replace former existing products by adding more opportunity, benefits, and appeal to skiers and riders. As this new product grows, there is always potential for more resorts to be added.”

I struggled a bit on how to comment on the first sentence. There were many responses I considered but after reflection I’ll just say it’s akin to fake news.

The second sentence is encouraging. It would be wonderful for additional resorts to be added to the Ikon Pass and all the better if there were more privately and publically owned resorts included.

Though the Ikon Base Pass is disappointingly inferior to what it replaces, it will still offer value and variety for some Northeast skiers. Like any pass, if you use them enough they are a terrific deal. Multi-resort passes such as the Ikon Base Pass offer variety, and each of the Northeastern resorts included in the Ikon Pass is top-notch. If you plan a trip to any of the Ikon resorts out west, buying the pass is a no-brainer.

The full Ikon Pass at $899 offers unlimited skiing at Stratton and seven days at the other Northeast resorts mentioned. For those interested in a lot of Stratton, this may be a very attractive option.

Whether the Ikon Base Pass is right for you obviously depends on your individual preference and circumstances.

For me and my three ski buddies who also have the M.A.X. pass, we’re going to pass on the Ikon Base Pass for next season.



  1. Becky Royston says:

    Another alternative: Peak Pass Explorer sold by Mount Snow ownership, good at Snow, Attitash, Crotched, Hunter, Jack Frost (PA), Big Boulder (PA I think), and Wildcat . No blackouts and no days limit at any resort $599 for 2017-2018 for ages 30+. It is going up to $629 for next year if you buy by end of April. Installment payment plan available May-August so you don’t have to pay in one lump sum.

  2. Hi Becky
    Thanks for sharing. I’ve had the Peak Traveler Pass (mid-week only with black out dates) for several years. It’s $229 until the end of April.

  3. CORRECTION: The early pricing of the Peak Traveler Pass is $329.

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