The million dollar question everyone is asking this season… Which pass is the best?

Lift pass comparison between Epic, Indy, Mountain Collective and Ikon lift passes. pc: dot guy screenshot

The million dollar question

A safe answer would be to say ‘it depends’ but it’s not fun and, more importantly, it doesn’t help us make a better decision. We still have questions like:

  • Which pass gives you access to most stations?
  • What is the cheapest way to get to the biggest and most popular beach resorts?
  • Which pass is best to use for the holidays?
  • What’s the best option for those who don’t ski or ride during the holidays, but enjoy the rest of the season?

So what is really the best offer? It looks like CEO Brian Kelly and his team at The Points Guy (TPG) have the answer. The Points Guy is a lifestyle media company with over 100 people committed to giving you “practical advice” at “maximize your travel experience“, according to its website. Kelly’s team of more than 40 experts sifted through this season’s data, analyzing and comparing packages. Here’s what they had to say: (Additional discounts and/or special restrictions may also apply and should be checked on each website for accuracy and details.)

Ikon Pass

With nearly 50 destinations around the world and major attractions like Aspen Snowmass, Palisades Tahoe, Mammoth Mountain, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Sugarbush, and more, the Ikon pass is undoubtedly a popular choice among skiers and snowboarders. . Ikon offers three different passes:

  • Ikon pass with full access has no restrictions on any of its resorts. It’s also the most expensive pass at $1,179 for adults with discounts for children, military and others.
  • Ikon Base Pass at $869 for adults includes blackout dates and five-visit caps at some resorts, often the most popular ones like Jackson Hole, Alta, Snowbasin and others.
  • Ikon pass 2 days, 3 days or 4 days options with access to any station and they do not need to be used on consecutive days.

Ikon also offers friends and family a 25% discount on lift tickets as well as many other benefits with discounts on accommodation rentals, food, and more.

Epic pass

The epic pass had been another popular pass since its launch in 2008/09. Offering access to 37 different resorts in the United States as well as many more in Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan, it gives holders access to some top-notch resorts.

Similar to the Ikon Pass pricing structure, Epic also offers a range of 3-tier passes, albeit cheaper.

  • Full Epic Pass has no restrictions in the US except for Telluride which is capped at seven days. Prices are $849 for adults and $439 for children (5-12).
  • Epic Local Pass had blackout dates and access and is $639 for adults, $519 (teens 13-18), and $335 (5-12). There is also regional pass options.
  • 1-7 Day Epic Pass offers tiered fares based on resort or travel dates. (For example, Jackson Hole, as a Tier 1 resort, would be more expensive than most, and more expensive on holidays than weekdays.) TPG reports, “With this option (#3), you can finally ski for as little as $38/day for adults and $20/day for children.

Epic also gives Pass holders access to their Epic Mountain Rewards, which feature a whole list of other discounts for your trip(s).

Mountain Collective

Mountain Collective offers a season pass currently at $579 for adults, $479 (13-18) and $189 (5-12) which gives you the opportunity to ski 24 resorts including “…big names like Aspen Snowmass, Taos, Banff, Jackson Hole, Sun Valley and Snowbasin.”

Indy Pass

With both Indy Pass options, you gain access to a family of over 100 small independent ski resorts and counting. They are continually expanding their family and there is certainly no shortage of opportunities here.

  • Indy Pass costs $339 for adults, $189 (
  • Indy Pass+ sits at $299 for adults and $139 for children and includes some restrictions.

TPG shared their analysis of Indy Pass saying: “Since these stations are not part of the larger passes, you will generally see fewer people and more reasonable prices, also for the courses..”

The skiing never stops with sunny days and great coverage.
The skiing never stops with sunny days and great coverage. pc: dot guy screenshot

Answers to our questions

Here are TPG’s answers to our questions:

  • Which pass gives you access to most stations?

“If you want an affordable ski pass that gives you access to as many resorts as possible, then the Indy Pass is the way to go. It’s about a third of the price of other passes (although you’re capped at two days per station).

  • What is the cheapest way to get to the biggest and most popular beach resorts?

“To access a large number of high-end ski resorts, it’s hard to do better than the Epic Pass. The local version of the pass is also ideal if you don’t visit most peak days. The Ikon Pass can also get you unlimited skiing at many other popular resorts. The most suitable package depends on where you prefer to ski in winter.

  • Which pass is best to use for the holidays?

“If you still want to visit some of the bigger mountains, but are considering a few shorter ski trips to different mountains, the Mountain Collective will give you access to popular mountains at a lower price – just be prepared to change. your resorts of choice.”

  • What’s the best option for those who don’t ski or ride during the holidays, but enjoy the rest of the season?

“The more restrictive Ikon and Epic family pass levels are also good money-saving considerations if you don’t want to ski over Christmas, Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, or Christmas weekend. Presidents Day.”

With all the options available, it is sometimes difficult to make a choice. Where do you plan to spend your time this season? Which pass do you think is best for you? We would like to know!

Bluebird bowl skiing in Colorado.
Bluebird bowl skiing in Colorado. pc: dot guy screenshot

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