Buy these passes, then hope for powder days.

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Young couple skiing on mountain in Austria, Salzburg
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Mountain season is almost upon us, which means if you're an avid skier or rider, it's time to choose your allegiance and pick a ski pass.

There are a plethora of passes out there, including big names like the Ikon and Epic Pass. While these will certainly help you access to some of the best mountains in the world, there are a few smaller options you may want to consider if the larger peaks are out of reach.

We've rounded up the five best ski passes, so you can make an informed decision on which one works best for you and your winter needs.

Ikon Pass

The Ikon Pass has become a major must-have for skiers and riders looking to take a few turns down both big-name mountains and some hidden gems. The pass has added mountains from across the globe over the last few years and now includes a whopping 47 destinations. This includes Mammoth Mountain in California; Steamboat, Aspen Snowmass, Winter Park Resort, and Copper Mountain in Colorado; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico; and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. The pass also includes access to Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Red Mountain Resort, and Tremblant in Canada; Valle Nevado in Chile; Zermatt Matterhorn in Switzerland; Thredbo and Mount Buller in Australia; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, and Mount Hutt in New Zealand; and Niseko United in Japan.

There are three options for buying an Ikon Pass: Session Pass, Base Pass, and the full Ikon Pass. The Session Pass includes four days at select destinations, the Base unlocks access to 45 destinations worldwide, with limited blackout dates, and the full Ikon Pass includes no blackout dates and access to all 47 spots. The price for the latter is currently $1,049. See all buying options and a full list of mountains here.

Epic Pass

Another well-known and beloved option is the Epic Pass. It, too, offers access to major mountains around the world, as well as a few spots every skier and rider should be acquainted with. In the U.S., it includes entry to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Telluride, Park City, Sun Valley, Heavenly, Mount Snow, Okemo, Stowe, Wildcat, Attitash, Mount Sunapee, and more.

In Canada, passholders gain access to Whistler Blackcomb, Kicking Horse, Nakiska, Kimberley, Fernie, Mont-Sainte-Anne, and Stoneham. In Japan, they can access Rusutsu and Hakuba Valley, and in Australia, Mount Hotham, Falls Creek, and Perisher become available.

Even better, Vail Resorts, which runs Epic Pass, announced a 20% price cut on all of its 2021-2022 ski passes as part of its Epic for Everyone commitment.

Like the Ikon, the Epic Pass is offered in three categories: Day Pass, Local Pass, and the full Epic Pass. The Day Pass (for one to seven days) will get you just that at individual mountains, while the Local Pass includes full access to a select number of mountains and limited entry to partner resorts in North America and Japan. The Epic Pass, meanwhile, includes access to more mountains and partner resorts. All the passes include Epic Mountain Rewards, a 20% off discount on food, lodging, lessons, rentals, and more. See all buying options and a full list of mountains here.

Mountain Collective

Mountain Collective is an excellent option for those who like to hop around and try a few different mountains throughout the season. The pass includes two days of access to 23 mountains, including Mammoth, Aspen Snowmass, Banff, Taos, Jackson Hole, Niseko United, Sugarloaf, Snowbird, and more. The pass also comes with no blackout dates.

Passholders can even purchase additional days at participating mountains at a 50% discount. The pass costs $589 for adults, $489 for teens, and $169 for kids 12 and under. See the full mountain list and buying options here.

Indy Pass

The Indy Pass is the new kid on the block. Launched in 2019, the pass works similarly to the Mountain Collective, bringing together a list of stellar mountain destinations that passholders can ski for two days each season.

The pass offers access to 80 ski resorts, including Eaglecrest in Alaska, Snow Valley and Mount Shasta in California, Hoodoo in Oregon, and Hurricane Ridge in Washington. It also includes access to mountains along the East Coast, Rockies, Mid-Atlantic, Canada, and even in Japan. The pass costs $299 and holders can score third-day tickets at 25% off ticket window pricing. See all options and all mountains under the pass here.

Snowpass

Looking to ski and snowboard across Europe? It's time to pick up a Snowpass.

Snowpass, the first European season ski pass, provides holders with access to resorts in 12 countries across the continent, including Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Spain, Slovenia, Slovakia, Portugal, Liechtenstein, and Belgium. This wide array of mountain terrain technically makes it the largest ski pass in the world.

With the Snowpass, holders can ski for up to 10 days in each resort. The pass begins at just $215. That said, the pass has yet to announce its full 2021-2022 lineup, as COVID-19 had a major toll on the mountain industry across Europe. But that's all the more reason to buy the pass, explore a few new spots, and spread the shred wealth. Stay tuned for the mountain list and purchase the pass here.