With the announcement in January 2018 of Vail’s darling ski champion Mikaela Schiffrin joining Aspen as an ambassador for the Ikon pass the ski pass war of the 2018-2019 ski season became real. Vail and Aspen have always had a quasi-healthy rivalry. Aspen has a long and deep history but it is very hard to compete with the 5,289 epic skiable acres at Vail. Will this Epic Pass vs Ikon Pass war help or hurt families who like to ski?
Mikaela Schiffrin Ikon Pass Ambassador
Mikaela Schifrin’s family has a home in Eagle Vail, less than five miles from Vail’s ski mountain. All of the local school kids cheered as she took the gold in the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Beaver Creek in 2015. Not to say that kids all over Colorado and the US didn’t cheer too. But I think that for us Vail locals she really became our hometown hero. I was there with my daughter (about 500 feet away) and it was a special moment on many levels.So, we certainly paid attention when Alterra Mountain Company announced that Mikaela Shiffrin is helping launch the Ikon Pass as an Ambassador.
Why Care About Ski Pass Wars?
So, why should you care about this ski pass war? And, what does all of this mean for the average family who likes to ski? Well for now your ski pass won’t be getting any cheaper. But you will have access to ski more and different ski resorts on the same ski pass you usually purchase. So, let’s compare the two!
EPIC Pass vs IKON Pass
Note that this price comparison of the EPIC Pass vs. IKON Pass are as of July 27, 2018 and could be subject to change at anytime. You will want to check directly with the pass office to confirm details.
|2018-2019 Season||Ikon Mountains Included||# Days/ Resort Full / Value||EPIC Mountains Included||# Days/ Resort Full / Value|
|Adult Military Cost||
$579 – $819
|Adult Value/Local Access Cost (Black out dates)||
|Teen (13-18) Value/Local Access Cost (Black out dates)||
|Child (5-12) Value/Local Access Cost (Black out dates)||
|Adult Full Access Cost||
|Teen Full Access Cost||
|Child (5-12) Full Access Cost||
|Steamboat, CO||Unlimited/ 5 Days||Vail, CO||Unlimited/ 10 Days|
|Winter Park Resort, CO||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Beaver Creek, CO||Unlimited/ 10 Days|
|Copper Mountain Resort, CO||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Whistler Blackcomb||Unlimited/ 10 Days|
|Eldora Mountain Resort, CO||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Breckenridge||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, CA||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Park City||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Mammoth Mountain, CA||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Keystone||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|June Mountain, CA||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Heavenly||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Big Bear Mountain Resort, CA||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Northstar||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Stratton, VT||Unlimited/ 5 Days||Kirkwood||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Snowshoe, WV||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Stowe||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Tremblant, QC||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Wilmot||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Blue Mountain, ON||Unlimited/ Unlimited||Afton Alps||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Thredbo, NSW||7 Days/ 5 Days||Mt Brighton||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, WY||7 Days/ 5 Days||Perisher||Unlimited/ 0|
|Big Sky Resort, MT||7 Days/ 5 Days||Arapahoe Basin||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Killington Resort, VT||7 Days/ 5 Days||Okemo||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Sugarbush Resort, VT||7 Days/ 5 Days||Mount Sunapee||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Revelstoke Mountain Resort, BC||7 Days/ 5 Days||Crested Butte||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Deer Valley Resort, UT||7 Days/ 5 Days||Stevens Pass||Unlimited/ Unlimited|
|Aspen Snowmass, CO : Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk||7 days total for all/ 5 Days Total for All||Telluride||7 Days/ 0|
|AltaSnowbird, UT : Alta Ski Area, Snowbird||7 days total for all/ 5 Days Total for All||Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Kimberley Alpine Resort, Nakiska, Mont Sainte Anne, and Stoneham.||7 days total for all/ 0|
|Loon Mountain (NH), Sunday River (ME), & Sugarloaf (ME)||7 days total for all/ 5 Days Total for All||Hakuba Valley’s nine ski resorts||5 Days total for all/ 5 Days total for all|
|SkiBig3, AB : Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay||7 days total for all/ 5 Days Total for All||Access to 30 European resorts across France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria! Click here to learn more.||Varies|
So what is the better ski pass: EPIC pass or IKON Pass?
Well as you can see the prices are fairly comparable between the Epic Pass vs, Ikon Pass. So, it probably some down to where you love to ski, or have always wanted to ski. And, it is possible that neither the Epic Pass or Ikon pass are the right pass for your family. Some of these ski resorts, as well as smaller ski mountains, will still be offering their local passes. We’ve found these smaller ski resorts a fantastic place for kids to learn to ski affordably.
What other deals are available?
One of my favorite deals is the Vail Resorts EPIC Schoolkids program. If your child is a Colorado resident and in kindergarten through 5th grade you can take them to a front range (Denver area) Colorado Ski & Golf location prior to October 9 (typically, again check with Vail Resorts) to sign them up for 4 free days of skiing at a Vail Resorts mountain. The deal also includes a free lesson and ski rental for first timers through Vail Resorts EPIC Schoolkids program. And, a similar program is now also available for Utah residents and Whistler/ Blackcomb.
Will the ski pass war of the 2018/2019 ski season change skiing?
The ski pass war probably won’t change much for us. We live in the Vail/ Beaver Creek area so will likely continue to purchase the Epic pass and ski those mountains the most. But, maybe we’d consider a ski trip to one of the other mountains on our pass. When we take vacation from our lovely ski town in the winter we tend to want to go to the beach and warm up. So, I am not sure if that will happen. But that is probably the biggest advantage that the Epic Pass vs Ikon pass wars present — the opportunity to experience other ski resorts.