The million dollar question, is \what pass to purchase\" for next years ski season. At Powderchasers, we depend on several of these passes and often purchase them early season to take advantage of the lower rates. in the past season we chased with Mountain Collective, Ikon, and Indy Passes. Some of us had Epic Passes as well. While it may see counter intuitive to process multiple passes we don't like to make last minute powder decisions based on where we have passes. Mother Nature is not going to care! In fact, the devils advocate will have you sitting at one resort with your Ikon Pass only to find out that Mountain Collective or EPIC resorts got nailed. However, there is a significant amount of crossover on resorts as well (MC and Ikon). On our concierge emails many clients were restricted on what resorts they were willing to chase. Passes are reasonable enough where it might make sense to simply purchase multiple passes. However, next season, with hints of reservations easing it might make it a bit easier to chase powder last minute. Another major advantage of having passes is not having to wait in line at the ticket window, however with MC each resort usually needs your credentials on your first visit.
Our strategy by combining Ikon and Mountain Collective was that if you ran out of days using Ikon you could then utilize Mountain Collective for 2 additional ones, plus 50% off on days beyond that. Also MC, offers some resorts that Ikon does not.
In summarizing the multiple pass options, your #1 value if you are interested in sticking to smaller resorts, locally owned, and want to chase powder, consider the Indy Pass starting as low as $279 and providing 66 resorts (2 days each). Call this the chase in a van across America just to explore multiple States without ever spending too much time at a single resort. \"Its Dirt cheap\". If you plan on just 1 or 2 Ski Vacations for 3-5 days or longer at a single resort or neighboring partners then Ikon, and Epic make more sense. However, Mountain Collective can then fill the void for those 1-2 days skiing at other areas or by adding a few days to Ikon if you want to extend your trip.
Last season Mountain Collective provided Powderchasers the ability to chase without reservations at many resorts that required them with Ikon. This also included Grand Targhee. However, this season, rumors in the industry are that reservations may not be required at many resorts, but thats also going to depend on the status of the pandemic. Jackson Hole enabled locals who held a JHMR season pass to bypass the reservations system entirely (This made good sense in my opinion especially for locals). Mountain Collective also did not require reservations for your first 2 free days. Rumors this season is that local Passholders (Full price Tram and lift access pass) can ride the Big Sky Tram for free while folks showing up with Mega passes will have to pay extra (Another thumbs up to locals). Perhaps the Ski Industry starts to follow cues from the Airlines by charging you extra for certain benefits much like luggage or picking a seat.
Epic Pass rates were slashed by 20% this season! This took many folks by surprise and has brought us back to what rates were several years ago. This makes combining even an Epic local pass or full Epic pass a good option depending on what resorts are closest to your home. I will most likely combine an Epic Local with the various other passes purchased in the next few days to give me full flexibility this season. If you live close to some of the major Epic Resorts then the Full Epic pass may make better sense. Also, remember that Epic comes with many partner resorts (Non Vail Resorts owned) such as Telluride, Snowbasin, and Sun Valley depending on the option you choose.
Mountain Collective Rates ($499) and the bonus 3rd day (resort of your choice) end on May 17th. After that date, rates will slowly rise throughout the year and the 3rd bonus day disappears. Click here for more info.
Ikon Rates go up on May 4th. click here for more info.
Indy Pass Rates go up May 15th. click here for more info.
Epic Rates- No indication of when or if rates will go up (Last season they established a hard deadline to purchase). Click here for more info.