Where in the World will You Ski? Epic Pass VS Ikon Pass

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 Schiffrin winning gold at Beaver Creek
Watching Mikaela Schiffrin take the gold at the 2015 World Championships in Beaver Creek was a pretty memorable moment for our girls.

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.

Mikela Schifrin in Vail prior to winning any medals
My daughter’s preschool class meeting Mikaela Schiffrin when she was just 17 years old, prior to her winning any gold medals.

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.

Learning to ski at Ski Cooper in Colorado.
Get a small group of your child’s friends together and head for the nearest small ski mountain for lessons!

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.

Family ski day on Vail Mountain
Vail winter is best known for its epic ski mountain. The resort boasts 5289 skiable acres, 195 runs and 31 lifts with a variety of terrain for skiers of all abilities.

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.


Will your family be skiing this season on the Epic Pass or Ikon Pass? Which mountain do you ski? Will the ski pass war of the 2018/2019 ski season help or hurt you? Fins the best ski pass for your family! #Vail #Aspen #Snowmass #BeaverCreek #ParkCity #CopperMountain #VisitUtah #VisitColorado #Whistler #SquawValley #JacksonHole #Telluride #Snowmass

Where in the World will You Ski? Epic Pass VS Ikon Pass

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