If you want to ski more than a few days a year, a season pass is a must; you pay a hefty sum up front, but if you spend even ten days on the slopes, it will pay for itself and then some. But which pass should you choose? There are a lot of options, and getting it all figured out takes some time.
So we did it for you.
Here are seven passes to choose from, with their prices and the mountains they include. All the information you need to find the best pass for your season.
(One quick note: these prices may change as the season goes on, so get these passes fast. Also, most of them have student, military, and senior discounts, so if you qualify for one of those, the prices may be a bit lower.)
The short version: unlimited at some of the best slopes in the country, $830.
If you’re looking for truly epic skiing, you can’t beat the Epic Pass. But it costs a small fortune. You’ll get unlimited skiing at the following:
- Beaver Creek
- Park City
- Afton Alps (where I skied growing up!)
- Mt. Brighton
- Arapahoe Basin
That’s a big list of big-name resorts. You also get access to 30 European resorts, and discounts on friends-and-family tickets.
But you pay for it. $830, to be exact. And a child is $430, which is more than some adult passes. And you’re supporting Vail’s massive operation, which may not appeal to you so much.
Epic Local Pass
The short version: unlimited at some amazing mountains, limited at a few more, $630.
Unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, and Arapahoe Basin. Unlimited access with blackout dates to Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood. Ten days at Vail and Beaver Creek. Plus you save a couple hundred bucks.
The short version: five days each at 32 mountains, $650.
This is a pretty new pass, but with 32 mountains around the country, it’s definitely worth looking into. In the Colorado Rockies, it’ll give you access to these resorts:
- Copper Mountain
- Crested Butte
- Winter Park
Brighton and Solitude in Utah are also included, as is Big Sky in Montana, and a number of other mountains around the country (including Alaska) and a couple in Canada (though Whistler is absent from the list). With the M.A.X. Pass, you get five days at each mountain, so this is a good choice for people who like to hop around to find the best snow.
So what does this pass cost? You can grab an adult pass for $650, a teen pass for $450, or a youth pass for $350. If you have a qualifying season pass to your local mountain, you can get the M.A.X. Add-On Pass for $300 (or $250, or $200) to give you access to the other 31 mountains on the list.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass
The short version: unlimited at Copper and Winter Park, $530.
One of the most popular passes out there, the Super Pass gives you unlimited riding at Copper and Winter Park. You also get discounts on up to 10 friends-and-family tickets at both resorts, saving you some cash when you bring someone to hit the slopes with you.
You’ll also get 40% off of tubing, 40% off of rentals, 30% off of everything at the Jane shop, and 30% off of tuning at the Winter Park tune shop. There are a bunch of other smaller discounts you’ll get, like 10% off at a number of the base shops, 10% off of food, and 10% off of non-packaged spa days at Copper. Check out the full details to get the low-down on benefits.
All of that means you can very easily and very quickly make up the $530 it costs to get the pass. Teens can nab one for $430, kids and college students only cost $320, and you can get further discounts for being a member of the military as well.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus
The short version: unlimited at Copper, Winter Park, Eldora, a few days elsewhere, $610.
For an extra $80, you can upgrade to the Super Pass Plus, which gives you all the benefits above, plus unlimited skiing at Eldora, 6 days at Steamboat, 3 days at Crested Butte, and 3 days at Alyeska in Alaska. You also get 7 days at a number of international resorts.
The amount you’ll have to pay above the cost of the Super Pass depends on which pass you get (adult, teen, military, etc.), so check out the pricing information to see what the bill will be.
Route 40 Pass
The short version: unlimited at Winter Park, 4 days at Steamboat, $510.
Route 40 connects Winter Park and Steamboat, and that’s exactly where this pass will get you in. Unlimited days at Winter Park, 4 days at Steamboat, and 3 days at Mt. Hood Meadows, to be exact. You also get a number of similar discounts to the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, including guest passes.
Because the mountains you can access are more limited, the price is a bit more reasonable as well: $510 for an adult, $410 for a teen, and $300 for a child. There are military, senior, and college discounts available as well.
The short version: two days each at 14 high-profile resorts, $420.
If you’re interested in getting into some of the more high-profile resorts around Colorado and Utah, the Mountain Collective pass is a solid choice. You only get two days at each, so you’ll have to visit a number of places to get your turns in for the year, but with resorts like Aspen, Revelstoke, Telluride, Squaw Valley, and Jackson Hole on the list, you’ll be hitting some of the best mountains in North America.
You’ll also get 50% off of single-day passes at all of those mountains if you want to visit again, and two days at three different international resorts, including Chamonix.
At $420, this is a very affordable pass, and you can add a child onto your adult pass for only $100. It might cost you a lot to travel to these resorts, though, so keep that in mind.
Which Will You Choose?
These are the biggest and most popular passes out there, but there are certainly others to choose from. We want to hear from you! Which will you be choosing this year? Will you go for a huge one and ski at the most expensive mountains? Or will you be a bit more frugal and stick with some local favorites?