Get Virtually Unlimited Skiing from $599 With New IKON Passes

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While skiing at Vail this week, I happened to pass a lift ticket window and noticed that the walk-up rate for a one-day adult lift ticket was $199. ONE-HUNDRED-AND-NINETY-NINE-DOLLARS! I almost had a heart attack. It now cost essentially $200 to walk up and buy a lift ticket to use for just one day of skiing at some resorts. All the sudden, Disney World tickets look reasonable by comparison.

 

Thankfully, I wasn’t paying that rate as I had a 7 day Epic Pass I had already used for a few days at Whistler over the winter break. Thanks to that pass, my ski days averaged under $100 per day. In many cases, ski passes are the best way to keep your per day costs somewhat reasonable, especially if you plan to visit the big name resorts or ski at more than one mountain in a season. For a while now the Epic Pass has been the biggest name on the mountains, but there is a new pass in town that I think will shake things up significantly.

We knew that a new IKON pass was coming for next ski season, but now we know the details, and it sounds pretty sweet. There are two versions of the pass, the IKON Pass, and the cheaper IKON Base Pass. Both will go on sale March 6, 2018, and both are valid at the same 26 locations, though with different restrictions that we will dive into.

Steamboat or Snowmass, here we come!

Details on the IKON Base Pass

The IKON Base Pass will launch with a price of $599 for adult tickets, $149 for children 5 – 12 (with adult purchase through April 9th), and $29 for children 4 and under.

I think that this IKON Base Pass is amazing for the price, as it gets you unlimited ski days at:

  • Winter Park Resort
  • Copper Mountain Resort
  • Eldora Mountain Resor
  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (holiday restrictions)
  • Big Bear Mountain Resort
  • June Mountain
  • Tremblant
  • Blue Mountain
  • Snowshoe Mountain

You then get 5 days at each of these resorts (with holiday restrictions):

  • Steamboat
  • Mammoth Mountain
  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
  • Big Sky Resort
  • Revelstoke Mountain Resort
  • Stratton
  • Killington Resort
  • Sugarbush Resort
  • Deer Valley Resort

You also get 5 combined days at each of these families of mountains (with holiday restrictions)

  • Aspen Snowmass: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk
  • AltaSnowbird
  • Loon Mountain, Sugarloaf and Sunday River
  • SkiBig3: Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay

The holiday restrictions on this pass are quite reasonable as they are just the most peak ski dates of December 26 – December 31, 2018; January 19 – 20, 2019; and February 16 – 17, 2019. Remember that the holiday restrictions won’t impact your skiing at some of the resorts such as Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Tremblant, Big Bear, etc. If you are on a school schedule, you could ski those resorts during the peak holiday dates and then hit some of the other mountains the rest of the time.

Details on the IKON Pass

If the IKON Base Pass has too many restrictions for you, you can get the full IKON Pass at a price of $899 for an adult pass, $199 for a child pass (with adult pass purchase through April 9th), and $29 for children 4 and under. Be aware that the age cut-off is based on the date of purchase, so buy early if your kid is hitting an age threshold at some point during the year. Also know that these prices can change and rise as we creep towards next ski season.

The IKON Pass includes unlimited ski days at:

  • Steamboat
  • Winter Park Resort
  • Copper Mountain Resort
  • Eldora Mountain Resort
  • Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows
  • Mammoth Mountain
  • Big Bear Mountain Resort
  • June Mountain
  • Stratton
  • Snowshoe Mountain
  • Tremblant
  • Blue Mountain

You then get 7 days at each of these resorts:

  • Jackson Hole Mountain Resort
  • Big Sky Resort
  • Revelstoke Mountain Resort
  • Killington Resort
  • Sugarbush Resort
  • Deer Valley Resort

You also get 7 days combined at each of these families of mountains:

  • Aspen Snowmass: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk
  •  AltaSnowbird
  • Loon Mountain, Sugarloaf and Sunday River
  • SkiBig3: Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise and Mt. Norquay

There are no holiday date restrictions on the IKON Pass. Both passes are available at a 20% discount for teens, college students, and those in the military. Both passes also come with ski with a friend discounts of 25% off the window rate. The IKON Base Pass comes with 8 of those discounts and the IKON Pass comes with 10.

To give some price perspective, the rate for the seven-day EPIC Pass when I purchased mine was $679. I could purchase the IKON Base Pass for just $599 and essentially have unlimited skiing as long as I used some strategy with when and where I skied. I could never ski as many days at the pass provides, so I think this pass may almost be doing to skiing what the Movie Pass is doing to movie theaters. I mean $599 is still a lot of money, but remember that a one-day walk-up ticket to Vail is now $199, so paying $599 to basically ski all winter at a lot of different mountains is pretty epic, or ikonic, or something.

I was struggling a bit with our ski plan for next year, but with this announcement, I now think it is extremely likely that we will stick to IKON Pass resorts such as Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, and Copper Mountain. Being able to get a child’s pass for $149 is a great deal as a child’s EPIC Seven Day Pass would have cost me $359. In fact, the one day discounted ticket for the day my daughter wasn’t in ski school at Vail was $113, and that was a discounted rate because of my EPIC Pass.

Use SPG points to stay near IKON mountain resorts

From a lodging perspective, there are SPG properties where you can use points to stay in Aspen, Aspen Snowmass, Tremblant, Deer Valley, Mammoth, and Steamboat. Some of these resorts are just Category 5 properties meaning that the per night rate is as low as 9,600 SPG points per night with the fifth night free as opposed to paid rates that can easily run $500+ per night during the ski season. Using points to avoid peak ski season hotel rates on or near the mountain is absolutely the way to go. If you want to ski these resorts and haven’t already had the Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card  or Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card those are some easy ways to pick up additional SPG points to use near the slopes. You can also purchase SPG points at a 35% discount until March 16, 2018.

Winter rates at the Sheraton Steamboat – use SPG points!

We have a stay at the on-mountain Westin Snowmass penciled in for next year, hope to make it to the Westin in Tremblant in the coming years, and have previously stayed at and reviewed the St. Regis Aspen and the Sheraton Steamboat.

The St. Regis Aspen

While there are some exceptions, it is starting to feel like Hyatt points and the EPIC Pass go together relatively well and SPG points at the IKON pass go together relatively well. If you like to take more than one ski trip per season, you will probably want to cluster your trips each year with one pass or the other. We had an “Epic” season this year, so I’m leaning towards going all-in on the IKON Base Pass for next year. I’d love to hear if your initial impressions on the IKON Pass are the same or different from mine!

 

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Comments

    • EPIC pass will be a similar price as it was the past couple of years. Expect $650ish for the LOCAL pass, $850-$900 for the FULL pass. You’ll need to decide what resorts you’re most interested in, and plan accordingly. Both seem to have similar blackout dates for the “limited” resorts (i.e. Vail/Beaver Creek/Whistler on EPIC, and everything non-colorado on IKON).

      Honestly, if you’re coming from LAX, just choose your favorite 2 ski areas and use that as a guide.

  1. Hopefully you were able to stick around until Tuesday for Vail. Good snow then. I was pleasantly surprised at the snow quality on Monday at Vail. I figured it would be nothing but icy groomers/bumps since it was soo warm Sunday. Yet it was very soft in the bowls as well as our first couple of runs on Riva Ridge. Blue Ox in the Highline area was surprisingly soft as well. Looking forward to this weekend at the Beav

  2. Oh this gets me excited! Last year we had an EPIC pass and it was great as it “forced” a few extra ski trips because lift tickets were already paid for. This year we did not buy any pass so we could try some new places. Well you end up getting busy (or dog gets hit by a car https://truptravels.com/2017/12/28/change-of-plans-5-stars-to-delta-customer-service-rep/ )and I haven’t ski’d once but will be over spring break. Definitely buying something next year and IKON looks better than EPIC right now.

  3. For families like ours that have Mammoth as a home mountain, this is a very good deal. Essentially $200 more than what we paid for MVP passes for Mammoth and their sister mountains last year gets us massive amount of skiing elsewhere. HOWEVER, many people in Utah, Colorado and the East Coast are p(ssed about this new offering. Shuts them out of their home mountains or at a large cost. I encourage people to go to IKON on facebook and read the posts. Luckily for us, it works out financially. For many people, not so much.

  4. Crazy deal… I live in Calgary so Lake Louise is 2 hours away and Revelstoke is 5 hours… Ski at both places 5 times then pass pays for itself. Add a trip to Utah or Colorado and it’s basically free… Did ski last month at Deer Valley 3 times and with like tickets $135 each, can really gain a huge value!

  5. This seems to the way the industry is going these days: offer steep discounts on lift tickets (almost like a loss leader) to get you on the mountain then make it up in high margin areas; lessons, equipment rental, concessions, … etc …

    • Exactly like Movie Pass. I’m fine with that – lift ticket prices have gotten out of control at many mountains. At least let people in the ‘door’. The ski industry needs a boom and more of the next generation, so let’s make that possible.

  6. And with Winter Park, you can actually take Amtrak to and from the resort and stay in Denver depending on what you want to do.

  7. I guess the Mountain Collective concept didn’t really catch on as well as Epic. This is like Mountain Collective on steroids. I likey. I’m starting to get stale on Epic after doing for several years – this really makes it more compelling to cut the cord from Vail resorts for a year and try out Big Sky, Steamboat and Jackson Hole which have been on my list to try out for a long time. Getting more and more excited just thinking about it.

  8. For Colorado locals who had the previous Rocky Mountain Super Pass, this is really disappointing. The higher price and blackout dates mean that I can no longer enroll my kids in multi-week weekend lesson programs in either January or February without paying extra for a lift ticket during a holiday weekend. For the destination skiier/snowboarder though I do agree that this is a really compelling product.

  9. The Ikon base looks like a very good deal unless you absolutely have to have those peak days. They have a military discount also, which takes the price to $479. The drawback I see for Bay Area skiers is that Squalpine is the only Tahoe resort; will get slammed. Makes more sense to use SW points (Companion Pass if you have it) to make Alta/Bird/Deer Valley your “home” mountains, since OAK-SLC flights are cheap and faster than the Tahoe drive, and SLC-area hotels and cars are good value.

  10. I called Mount Snow, and they’ll announce their Peak Pass Price within a week.

    This is a junior/regional version of the multi-mountain passes, as the only significant mountains on there are Mt Snow, Hunter, Attitash and Wildcat, along with 3 micro-mountains (Crotched and a couple others). The advantage is that if they hold their prices, skiing is unlimited at all mountains for $599 for adults (over age 30 – less if you’re a student or 29), and you buy in the spring (probably by August 30).

  11. Terrible deal for those who ski Mammoth regularly especially seniors who will now be paying over twice as much. Check out the limitation of days and blackout dates! Perhaps an option for the limited few who are really going to ski all over the world? Really?

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