Resorts Compete for Skiers in 2020

We’re only a few days into March and staring down the barrel of an atmospheric river ready to clobber Utah with snow, but that hasn’t kept the ski industry’s big players from vying to secure skiers’ business by rolling out news and new products for the 2019/2020 season. Both Alterra’s Ikon Pass and Vail’s Epic Pass have gone on sale for next winter with each offering spring 2019 benefits for those who jump on board early.

The big scoop from Vail is the “Epic for Everyone” initiative, which features their newest product, the Epic Day Pass. Epic Day Pass is designed to deliver the same flexibility and benefits as a season pass, but it’s tailored to skiers who won’t ski the volume of days necessary for a season pass make sense. Skiers can purchase tickets for a set number of days next season, which can be used any time at any Vail Resort starting at just $106 per day—$125 per day without holiday restrictions. The more days you purchase, the better the value gets, and any pass that includes four or more days may also be used at partner resorts Telluride, Sun Valley, Snow Basin and resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

The Epic Day Pass is yet another entry in Vail Resorts’ value-oriented catalog of options, which includes the $939 full Epic Pass and $699 Epic Local Pass with blackout dates. Sweetening the deal, the cost of any day ticket purchased for the remainder of this season can be put towards an Epic Pass product for 2019/2020—Epic Day Pass must include at least four days to be eligible— by visiting a Vail Season Pass Office on the same day of purchase and ponying up for next winter.

Epic Pass Ikon Pass
Alterra’s investment will enhance Deer Valley’s already-impressive infrastructure.

Not to be outdone, Alterra has made 2019/2020 Ikon Passes available for purchase in the wake of announcing $181 million in capital improvements to their 14 North American mountain destinations. Locally, Deer Valley will receive $7.6 million for next season to add RFID lift ticket technology for direct-to-lift access, new digital signage at the resort base, snowmaking system enhancements, new Prinoth snowcats, guest transportation fleet improvements and facility and equipment upgrades to resort day lodges. Early Ikon Pass purchases include a $100 discount before prices go up for both the $949 Ikon Pass and the $649 Ikon Base Pass with blackout dates.

However you ultimately feel about corporate ski resort consolidation, the ceaseless two-party battle between Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Company has given rise to a glut of flexible pass options to fit an array of budgets and needs. This week’s developments and early pass sales deliver added value and increased access at a time when day ticket prices continue to skyrocket, and it’s hard to be particularly upset about that.

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Tony Gill
Tony Gill
Tony Gill is the outdoor and Park City editor for Salt Lake Magazine and previously toiled as editor-in-chief of Telemark Skier Magazine. Most of his time ignoring emails is spent aboard an under-geared single-speed on the trails above his home.

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