The MAX Pass offered skiers 5 days of unrestricted access to 44 ski areas ranging from local, family-oriented areas to large, destination resorts spread out evenly across the East and West.

The MAX Pass was available through Intrawest and included 5 of its resorts. My understanding is that the Boston area had the highest concentration of MAX Pass holders, and that Mt. Sunapee and Okemo ranked in the top 5 ski areas for total MAX Pass visits.

Last April, Intrawest was bought by KSL Capital Partners, a private equity firm investing in leisure properties, and Henry Crown, the owner of Aspen Skiing Company. They formed a new company called the Alterra Mountain Corporation (, self-described as “a curator of 12 premier mountain destinations”, including Mammoth, Squaw, and Deer Valley. Alterra replaced the MAX Pass with the IKON Pass, starting next season.

The differences between MAX and IKON are significant:

  1. 44 diverse ski areas offered under MAX reduced to 26 large, destination ski areas, which are now skewed to the West. 12 of the 26 resorts are owned by Alterra.
  2. Unrestricted ski days reduced depending on IKON level and specific resort.
  3. Elimination of the season pass-holder discount. Max Passes were only $199 for those that paid for season passes at participating ski areas.

Now, as a MAX Pass holder I am personally disappointed that this is a less diverse product with fewer choices. There are only 8 IKON areas in the East where a lot of Max Pass holders live and ski, and those are reduced to “destination” resorts.

With all of Alterra’s acquisition and start-up activity over the past year, the company appears to be using IKON as a way to push its owned properties.

With a little feedback from current customers, Alterra may still make some changes to return greater ski area diversity to IKON so it can be enjoyed by a broader base of skiers.


  1. Changes are good sometime the change that Aspen Co. is imposing on Seniors at Mammoth Mountain is California is not a positive change. No more senior discounts, the lodging discount has been reduced and the bring a friend option for 50% discount has been cut to 20%. Additionally the price of tickets and lodging has been raised. Overall a lousy deal for the Senior Community. Greed, Greed with over 650,000 annual tickets sold each year I guess that simply was just not enough.

  2. Andy Smith says:

    I too am disappointed in the ikon pass. As a Steamboat Springs property owner and over-70 skier, I am now required to buy an $899 Pass to ski at Steamboat instead of the previously available early-priced senior pass at $799. I am considering renting out my place next winter and buying a $499 military veteran’s Epic pass to ski Vail resorts with my club, Space City Ski Club, instead of going up to Steamboat at all.

  3. For Utah skiers the ikon pass is a ripoff. For 899 you get 14 days of skiing (7 at deer valley and 7 split between Alta and snowbird). You do not get an unlimited pass to deer valley.

    Of course you can travel to other ikon markets, but very few really will do that much travel.

    Why they have decided to discriminate against the locals in Utah is a mystery. But I will not buy an ikon pass.

  4. Come on, Guys. It’s all about greed. Isn’t that obvious?

    At the age of 76, and, alas, no longer able to ski because of health, I simply celebrate that, with climate change noticeably upon us, my career that began at The Tollhouse in 1945 and finished at Albion in 2016, encompassed much of the most skiable era on the planet.

    I wish the best for all seniors and would that I yet were among your ranks, no matter the ticket cost. Ignore the greedy corporate folks; just keep on arcing!

  5. The Friends of Squaw Valley are also upset over the removable of the senior discount. You can check out our website for more details….

    We encourage you to write Alterra management with your displeasure. Management email addresses are included in our web posting (which you should be able to find below). If not google Friends of Squaw Valley

    P.S. They also took away the college student “local mountain only” discounts and even the “kids under 5 ski for free” program.

    Total greed!

  6. Lee Kniess says:

    As a skier out West – the Icon Base Pass and the Epic Military Pass Veteran seem like pretty good deals. Ski Santa Fe is still free so I can’t bitch too much. Now comes the big cost – lodging!

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