One of the most important (and expensive!) decisions we make as Coloradans each year is which season pass to buy for the upcoming ski season. Even more so if you have kids. With the majority of nearby resorts coming together under the IKON or EPIC banner, it is a bit easier to decide these days compared to when each mountain sold passes separately. This article focuses on the benefits of these two primary options.
First off… the bad news. If you are reading this, you already missed out on the early bird pricing, which ended on October 17 (set a calendar reminder now for next year). Good news is, you can still get a great deal that is way way way cheaper than buying day passes.
There are two primary options for those living on the front range. Alterra Mountain Company offers the IKON pass and the EPIC pass is offered by Vail Resorts. Each provides access to a wide array of resorts within a day’s drive of Denver.
Winter Park/Mary Jane
(a very long day’s drive)
Both passes also offer access to well-known resorts throughout the Western and Eastern U.S. and Canada and even international resorts in Europe, Japan, Australia and Chile for snow bums chasing the endless winter.
Each offers an unlimited option (IKON Pass and EPIC pass) with no blackout dates, irrespective of location, but they come at a steep premium. If you don’t mind avoiding the high-traffic holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas/New Years, Presidents and MLK weekends), both offer a cheaper option (IKON Base Pass and Epic Local) that have blackout dates for holidays and limited days at premiere locations. For most of us, the less expensive options have you covered. Each offer discounts for teens, college students, kids under 12, and veterans. For an adult pass, Epic is $10 cheaper for a season pass versus IKON, but for those with kids and teens, IKON will save you $30 per pass.
Colorado Ski Passport
If you have a 5th or 6th grader and don’t ski more than a handful of days per year, IKON is hands-down the most affordable option thanks to the Colorado Ski Passport program. Fifth graders get 3 free days at 22 mountains and sixth graders get 4 free days, including IKON resorts. EPIC mountains (Breck, Keystone, Vail and Beaver) are not included in the program. Through the First-Class Program 5th graders also get one free full-day beginner level group lesson and an equipment rental package. Deadline to register is January 31.
More Affordable Options
If the multi-resort passes are too expensive or you would never take advantage of all those options, there are more affordable options that can save you hundreds! EPIC offers 1-to-7 day passes good at any mountain with steeper discounts the more days you buy. They also offer passes to Keystone and Breckenridge if these offer all the terrain you’ll ever want. Similarly, IKON offers deeply discounted passes if you only plan to go to Winter Park, A-Basin (which is already open) or Copper Mountain.
Whichever mountain you chose, the important thing is to be safe (stay off those greens), have fun, and experience all the winter fun the Colorado Rockies have to offer!