Alterra Mountain Company added both Big Cottonwood Canyon resorts to its flagship season pass today, giving buyers access to five resorts encompassing almost 10,000 acres of the Wasatch. Brighton is the fifth Boyne Resorts-owned mountain to sign on to Ikon and will give passholders seven unrestricted days. Ikon Base passholders will get five with blackout dates. Alterra agreed to acquire Solitude in June and, as expected, access there will be unlimited and unrestricted with full pass. “The Ikon Pass is expanding, and with the addition of Solitude Mountain Resort and Brighton Resort, we are excited to offer unparalleled access to Utah, a state known around the world for its snow quality, variety of terrain, and accessibility,” noted Erik Forsell, Alterra’s Chief Marketing Officer in a media release. “We are nearly 70 days away from opening day in North America and are thrilled to jump start the ski and snowboard season by adding more premier Ikon Pass destinations for winter 2018/2019.”
This could be a huge week for what is already the most expansive season pass on the market with varying degrees of access to 413 lifts at 34 mountains and currently priced at $999. The direct competitor is the Epic Pass by Vail Resorts, which includes skiing at 24 North American destinations with 309 lifts for $899 (the Vail Resorts owned mountains are unlimited and unrestricted while partners Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and Telluride offer seven days each.) The Mountain Collective Pass ($449 right now) includes two days at many of the same mountains as Ikon and offers access to 194 North American lifts. Ikon, Epic and MCP all offer additional days in the Alps, Japan, Australia and/or New Zealand. Another offering is the Powder Alliance, a free benefit for 18 participating resorts’ season passholders to ride a combined 132 lifts across the western US and Canada.
The above Instagram post implies that six more resorts will be added to the Ikon Pass by the end of the week – one tomorrow, four on Wednesday and one more on Thursday. Obvious candidates are Mountain Collective resorts not yet included on Ikon – Snowbasin, Sun Valley and Taos – and remaining ex-MAX Pass resorts:
- Alyeska, AK
- Belleayre, NY
- Boreal, CA
- Boyne Mountain, MI
- Boyne Highlands, MI
- Buck Hill, MN
- Crystal Mountain, WA
- Cypress Mountain, BC
- Granite Peak, WI
- Gore Mountain, NY
- Lee Canyon, NV
- Lutsen Mountains, MN
- Mountain Creek, NJ
- The Summit at Snoqualmie, WA
- Wachusett, MA
- Windham Mountain, NY
- Whiteface, NY
Of those, groupings that could be Wednesday’s announcement are the four outstanding Boyne Resorts or the four New York resorts. The Pacific Northwest is another emerging battleground in the season pass war with Vail Resorts’ recent purchase of Stevens Pass. Alterra has so far invited larger destination resorts onto Ikon and the biggest outstanding mountains in order of vertical are Panorama, Whiteface, Sun Valley, Mt. Bachelor, Taos, Crystal Mountain, Red Mountain, Sun Peaks, Mt. Hood Meadows, Smuggler’s Notch, Le Massif, Alyeska and Whitefish. Stay tuned all week for updates!
Update 8/28: Ikon announced Taos, New Mexico this morning, bringing the pass to 35 mountains with a combined 422 lifts. Access will be 7 unrestricted days or 5 with blackouts for the Ikon Base pass.
Update 8/29: As expected, today is Boyne day with the addition of Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, Cypress Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie. 39 mountains with a combined 466 lifts now participate in Ikon. That’s approximately one in every five ski lifts in the US and Canada. In addition, Boyne-owned Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Loon Mountain are now considered separate destinations. Ikon passholders will get 7 days at each (5 with the Ikon Base pass.)
Update: 8/30: The final addition for the week is Niseko, Japan. There may be more resorts coming up as the Ikon Facebook page says “Ikon Pass is known for news. Stay tuned.”
They better add someplace in New England, I have a feeling the Epic Local is killing Ikon this year with the addition of Okemo and Sunapee unlimited with no blackouts. Ikon needs to add Wachusett, or someplace else within day trip range of Boston to compete.
The largest mountains left in New England are Smuggs, Cannon, Jay Peak, Waterville Valley and Burke Mountain.
Cannon won’t join Ikon (or anyone else) because it’s a state owned and operated mountain. Hopefully it stays that way; not being on a large season pass, having mediocre lodges, very little slopeside accommodations (only the small independently operated hotel at Mitersill), and being a very cold north facing mountain tends to keep the riff raff out.
They also really need to add somewhere in the NYC market. Stratton is over 4 hours away. The Max Pass had three that one could reach from NYC in a day trip which were Mountain Creek (1.5 hours), Belleayre (2.5 hours), and Windham (2.5 hours). New York has the most ski areas of any state in the country, and yet there are zero on the Ikon Pass. Since Alterra seems to be adding the higher end resorts to the pass, Windham would be the most likely of the places I mentioned.
What do all these pass things mean to me, someone who probably only wants to ski 1 or 2 resorts here in Colorado a dozen or so times a year?
It means that all these resorts now have a source of income that is geographically distributed. Let’s look at the group of families that take trips to resorts every year. You might not want to buy a season pass to a single resort, because it may be a bad season in that region, so you don’t get your money’s worth. However, if you buy Ikon or Epic, there’s always going to be a resort that will have a good year, so you can travel there.
Buy a season pass. With the price of window tickets, all of these pay for themselves after less than a dozen visits. I tell people here at Jackson Hole all the time, even if you don’t go anywhere else, the Mountain Collective Pass pays for itself after only three or four days depending on when you buy. People have been hard wired that season passes are for guys who ski a lot, which really isn’t true anymore. Season passes are for everyone. It’s never been a better time to be a skiing consumer as long as you plan ahead.
I do worry about smaller mountains surrounded by resorts on these passes.
Thank you. I also worry about the smaller hills.
I really hope they don’t buy anything in Washington. The Vail purchase of Steven’s Pass is already going to bring in a lot of rich, snobby Vail skiers, I’d hate to see Crystal and Snoqualmie go down that path too.
Why is Vail going to bring in a bunch of snobby skiiers? How many snobby Vail skiiers are in Washington? How many are going to go to Steven’s instead of Whistler Blackcomb?
Trust me. No one from the east coast, Midwest or Texas (assuming that’s who you’re referring to) is going to make the trek to WA state to go skiing given our climate and almost total lack of base area amenities. If they do trek out here they’ll hit the better developed BC resorts. WA has great mountains but almost exclusively enjoyed by Washingtonians
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If you look closely at Brighton’s video I embedded above, four more Boyne Resorts appear to be on the map (Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, Cypress Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie.)
That would bring Ikon to 38 mountains (457 lifts) with two more still to come.
looks like its Taos for today.
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