With winter closing in across the US and lots of winter storms happening already early in the holiday season, I’m excited to get to ski and snowboard this winter. Even though I’ve lived in San Diego for most of the last 35 years, I’ve never actually skied or boarded in California. My on the snow experience has been limited to Washington State (Snoqualmie Summit, Stevens Pass and Mission Ridge), Oregon (Mount Bachelor, Mount Hood and Mount Ashland), Colorado (Beaver Creek and Vail) and British Columbia (Whistler Blackcomb – my all-time favorite ski resort so far).
While I’m really looking forward to checking out a few of the ski areas outside of Salt Lake City this year (think Brighton, Snowbird, Alta – and maybe Park City) – it’s more realistic that I’ll actually get on some of the hills in California. One of my good friends has been raving about Mammoth Mountain for years – and it’s only a 6+ hour drive from San Diego. Certainly doable for trips of 2-5 days.
The immediate decision is which Ski Pass do I buy? Should I buy the EPIC ski pass or should I buy the IKON ski pass?
They are both great deals for anyone who is planning on skiing or riding for more than 7 or 8 times this season – and I’m hoping to get at least 20 days in (which may be a stretch, since I am a stay at home dad of 27 month old Ava Kalea).
At first I was almost positive I was going to buy the EPIC pass, it seems like it has been the gold standard for the last ten years and includes skiing at all the resorts owned by the Vail Resorts – including: Unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher (2019 access), and Arapahoe Basin.
*NEW FOR 2018/2019* Now includes 7 days at Telluride, 7 days total at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and 5 days total at Hakuba Valley, Japan! Plus unlimited, unrestricted access at Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Crested Butte and Stevens Pass! International Access: Includes access to 30 European resorts across Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland! All for ‘only’ $949 – which is a really good deal.
There are a number of resorts on the Epic pass list that I would love to check out, but my friend Gary has purchased the IKON pass and I’m kind of leaning that way. The 2018-19 IKON Pass includes: California: Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear Mountain Resort (Bear Mountain, Snow Summit)
Colorado: Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain Resort, Eldora Mountain Resort
Maine: Sugarloaf, Sunday River
Michigan: Boyne Mountain, Boyne Highlands
Montana: Big Sky Resort
New Hampshire: Loon Mountain
New Mexico: Taos Ski Valley
Utah: Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, AltaSnowbird, Brighton
Vermont: Stratton, Killington Resort, Sugarbush Resort
Washington: Crystal Mountain Resort‡, The Summit at Snoqualmie
West Virginia: Snowshoe
Wyoming: Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
Alberta, Canada: SkiBig3 (Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay)
Ontario, Canada: Blue Mountain
Quebec, Canada: Tremblant
British Columbia, Canada: Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Cypress Mountain, CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures
Australia, Oceania: Thredbo
New Zealand, Oceania: Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt
Japan, Asia: Niseko United
Chile, South America: Valle Nevado
All just for $1049 for the full season!
Besides the fact that Gary has the IKON pass, I also like that it includes more California resorts and a couple of ski areas in Washington state that I am familiar with – including The Summit at Snoqualmie where I learned how to ski and I have friends who always get season passes there.
At this point, I’m still not sure, but want to figure it out soon – it’s a blizzard up at Mammoth Mountain with 19″-30″ in the last 48 hours with at least a couple more days of snow coming. That combined with the fact that both the EPIC pass and IKON pass will only be sold for a few more days. The EPIC pass goes off sale December 2nd and the IKON pass will only be sold through December 13th.
I’m pretty much 110% certain I am going to buy a pass, but which ski pass should I buy this year?