By Jill Adler It was to be expected that as soon as Vail Resorts announced their 2015/16 Epic Pass, competitors would jump into the ring with their own deals and blends. The $369 Mountain Collective is back with two days of skiing at eight destination resorts and 50 percent off subsequent tickets at those resorts (Mammoth, Alpine Meadows/Squaw Valley, Jackson Hole, Alta/Snowbird, Aspen/Highlands/Buttermilk/Snowmass, Ski Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine, Sun Valley’s Dollar and Bald mountains, and Whistler/Blackcomb). That’s $23/ticket essentially. Or, say you skied 15 days at Mammoth, that comes to about $42/day just using it at one resort.
Now the latest horse in the race is the M.A.X. Pass- a partnership between Intrawest, Boyne and Powdr Corp. Calm down, folks. Because Powdr’s daddy hasn’t added Snowbird to the toy box, the pass really only benefits eastern riders. This $699 “Multi-Alpine Experience” ski deal gives skiers and snowboarders five days at each of the combined 22 mountains across North America for the 2015-2016 season.
Participating resorts by region include:
Killington, Vt. Pico Mountain, Vt. Stratton, Vt. Boyne Highlands, Mich. Boyne Mountain, Mich. Loon Mountain, N.H. Sunday River, Maine Sugarloaf, Maine Snowshoe, W. Va. Blue Mountain, Ont. Mont Tremblant, Quebec Boreal Mountain, Calif. Crystal Mountain, Wash. The Summit at Snoqualmie, Wash. Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard, Nev. Mt. Bachelor, Ore. Cypress Mountain, B.C. Big Sky, Mont. Brighton, Utah Copper Mountain, Colo. Steamboat, Colo. Winter Park, Colo.
Breaking it down, if you were actually able to travel across the country you could ski for less than $7 a day; and if you just skied the ‘Front Range’ of Colorado, that’s 15 days for about $47/day. Unfortunately for anyone living in California or Utah the MAX is more like a mini. You’re better off spending the extra $200 and getting the Gold Unlimited Brighton Pass which pays for itself after 12 days.
As for who will win the Season Pass Wars, it’s too soon to tell. Deer Valley could offer a joint deal with newly acquired Solitude, then bring the tony Snowbasin and Yellowstone Club resorts into the fold. Or how about a Southern Ski Areas Pass? Telluride, Taos, Wolf Creek, Purgatory and a few days at Silverton thrown in. Talk about your ring of fire!
Whatever you choose, don’t put it off until the leaves turn. Pass and day ticket prices are going up like gas prices. You better buy before summer or kick yourself later.