Multi-Resort Season Pass Options Expand

The season’s pass war for 2015-16 has begun, and major resorts are adding a number of new weapons to the fight. Perhaps the biggest development: the growth in limited-use passes. Choice is in.

But choice comes with a caveat: customers have to act soon to get the best prices.

The Collective Adds Another

The Mountain Collective has added Sun Valley, Idaho, to its roster of mountain resorts for the 2015-16 winter season. Sun Valley joins Alta/Snowbird, Aspen Snowmass, Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine Village, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and Whistler Blackcomb in this alliance of major destinations.

A limited number of Mountain Collective passes are on sale for $369 (U.S.), $99 for kids ages 12 and under. These passes include two days of skiing or riding at each of the eight destinations plus a 50 percent discount on all additional days, with no blackout dates.

In addition, spring pass purchasers will receive one bonus day at the destination of their choice (subject to restrictions) and two free days at Valle Nevado, Chile, this summer.

Conglomerates Unite

Intrawest, Powdr and Boyne Resorts jointly launched the new and revolutionary M.A.X. Pass yesterday. With the “Multi-Alpine Experience” ski pass ($699 adults/$499 teens/$249 kids/$29 ages 5 and under, all prices U.S.), skiers and snowboarders can experience five days at each of the companies’ 22 mountains across North America for the 2015-2016 season. There are no blackout dates, but passes will only be available for a limited time, and require a $49 down payment by April 30.

Participating eastern resorts include Killington/Pico and Stratton, Vt.; Loon, N.H., Sugarloaf and Sunday River, Maine; Snowshoe, W.Va.; Blue Mountain, Ont.; and Mont Tremblant, Que. In the Rockies, the roster has Big Sky, Mont.; Copper, Steamboat, and Winter Park, Colo.; and Brighton, Utah. West Coast areas include Boreal, Calif.; Snoqualmie and Crystal, Wash.; Mt. Bachelor, Ore.; Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort, Nev.; and Cypress Mountain, B.C. Plus Boyne and Boyne Highlands, Mich.

“The M.A.X. Pass gives skiers and riders the flexibility to ski where they want and when they want,” the companies said in a press release. They described the M.A.X. as ideal for those who plan to ski or ride near home, and also to take a destination trip or two.

Another choice element: 
Anyone who has purchased a qualifying season pass at one of the participating resorts is eligible to add the M.A.X. benefits for $249 adults/$199 teens/$149 kids/$29 ages 5 and under.

The Epic Empire Expands

Also yesterday, Vail Resorts unveiled its bouquet of season’s pass options. They range from the all-everything Epic Pass ($769 adults/$399 children) to individual and local-group passes: Mt. Brighton, $439, Afton Alps, $419, and Keystone/A-Basin, $299 (with some restrictions).

But there are a slew of other options, too: The Epic Locals pass ($579) is available broadly, and includes unlimited “local” use along with restricted use at Vail’s most major areas. There are also the Locals Value Pass in Tahoe ($429 with some restrictions), the Summit Value Pass ($489 adults/$389 teens/$269 ages 5-12) for Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with limited holiday restrictions at Breckenridge, and the Keystone A-Basin Pass ($299 adults/$219 children 5-12), with some holiday restrictions. Oh, and for Utah residents, there’s the Park City Youth Pass ($399 college students/$309 teens/$289 ages 5-12).

And in the Midwest, there is still more: Limited-use Epic 4-Day and Epic 7-Day passes for Mt. Brighton and Afton Alps offer either four or seven local-area days and four or seven destination-area days. Prices are $389 adult/$219 ages 5-12 and $579/$299, respectively.

The Epic options must be reserved with $49 down by April 12.