Go Skiing in Vail, Italy, Switzerland and More With Just One Affordable Lift Ticket
Imagine: hitting the slopes in Park City before heading to Whistler in British Columbia for some downhill skiing and après-ski drinks and then jetting off back east to try your hand on a black diamond trail at Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont.
“A number of years ago we made this decision to provide a historic discount for what it would cost for people to come to our resorts,” Robert Katz, CEO of Vail Resorts, told Travel + Leisure. “The catch though, was we wanted people to buy that product before December. We were really creating this trade where the company and our resorts got certainty and in return our guests got this great deal.”
Since the launch more than a decade ago, the Epic Pass has expanded from a full-season pass to also offer access to people who want to ski only a few days per year, and most recently launched a single day-pass option.
“It’s been an unbelievable success story for us,” Katz said. “This is a product that has grown close to 20 percent per year. We now sell almost a million season passes — it's almost 50 percent of our lift ticket revenue.”
Here are some of the biggest benefits, and what you need to know about the Epic Pass:
You Have to Buy Early
To take advantage of the Epic Pass or the Epic Day Pass, you have to buy by late November or December. The season pass or days you purchase will then be valid for the 2019/2020 season.
There’s a Day Pass Option
If you’re just a casual skier you can still check out some of the best powder in North America by purchasing the Epic Day Pass, starting at $106 for adults. That gets you access to more than a dozen resorts, including in the Rockies and Canada. If it's a holiday, it will cost you an extra $19.
You Can Ski Around the World
With the original Epic Pass, you can get “unlimited, unrestricted access” to 69 resorts around the world, including places like Vail and Breckenridge. But you also get limited days at places like Hakuba Valley, Japan, 4 Vallées in Switzerland and Skirama Dolomiti in Italy. So go ahead, enjoy a day shredding powder in Italy followed by an Aperol Spritz and a heaping plate of ravioli.
It’s a Significant Savings
Skiing can be expensive, to say the least. But by purchasing the Epic Pass in advance, you can save 15 to 20 percent off the advance online price for a lift ticket and up to 50 percent off the window price. For example, a four day advance lift ticket for a non-holiday day in November at Vail costs $452 online. But with the Epic Pass, you’ll only pay $388 for that same four-day pass.
“We’ve really made this so cost effective,” Katz said, adding: “People really see this pass as one of the best deals in travel.”
You Get Flexibility
When you buy a traditional lift ticket through one resort, you can only use it at that resort and must use it within a set number of dates. With the Epic Pass, however, you have much more flexibility. If you purchase a seven day pass, for example, you can spend a long weekend at Okemo in Vermont, and then split the rest of your days between any of the other included resorts. And the days don’t have to be used consecutively.
“The Epic Day Pass can be used any day throughout the season,” Katz said. “You can pick and choose whenever you want.”
You Get Access to Other Discounts
Season pass holders get access to the Epic Pass Club, which offers discounts on things like hotels and food (and let’s face it, is there anything better than saving on a snack after a long day of skiing?). And in the summer, you get benefits like free chair lift access for summer hiking at several resorts and discounts on things like bike rentals.
You can ski during spring break for the same price
While it may cost more to ski during holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Katz said there are no holiday blackouts during March and spring break.
“A lot of people view spring break as maybe the best time to ski,” he said. “It’s usually the most snow because you've had a full season of snow and the warmest temperatures.”
To purchase the Epic Pass or an Epic Day Pass, head to epicpass.com.