The Best Ski Passes to Buy This Winter

Your winter guide to the best ski passes, from the Ikon Pass to the Epic Pass.

Young couple skiing on mountain in Austria, Salzburg
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For a lot of people, the onset of winter means one thing: powder, and hopefully lots of it. Mid-November is usually the start of mountain season, when many resorts and ski areas open for the season, 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 passes. While these will certainly help you access 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 four best ski passes, so you can make an informed decision on which one works best for you and your winter sporting 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 hidden gems.

The pass has added mountains from across the globe over the last few years and now covers over 50 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 destinations abroad, like 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: a Session Pass, Base Pass, or the full Ikon Pass. The Session Pass includes two, three, or four days at select destinations, the Base unlocks access to 48 destinations worldwide, with limited blackout dates, and the full Ikon Pass includes no blackout dates and access to all 54 spots. The price for the full Ikon Pass is currently $1,179. See all buying options and a full list of mountains online.

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, 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. It also covers destinations throughout Europe including Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.

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 (you choose access to either 22, 32, or all 38 North American and European resorts) and costs around $362, while the Local Pass ($655) 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, and is currently $879. 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 on its website.

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 25 mountain destinations, including Big Sky Resort, Aspen Snowmass, Banff, Taos, Jackson Hole, Niseko United, Sugarloaf, Snowbird, and more, for a total of 50 days. The pass also comes with no blackout dates.

International locations include Chamonix in France; Mount Buller and Thredbo Alpine Village in Australia; and Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in New Zealand.

Passholders can even purchase additional days at participating mountains at a 50% discount. The Mountain Collective pass costs $600 for adults. See the full mountain list and buying options on its website.

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.

The pass offers access to 111 ski destinations, including Eaglecrest in Alaska; Snow Valley, Mount Shasta, China Peak, Dodge Ridge, and Mountain High Resort in California; Hoodoo, Mount Ashland, and Mount Hood Meadows in Oregon; and, 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, Mission Ridge, Ski Bluewood, White Pass, and Hurricane Ridge in Washington. It also includes access to mountains along the East Coast, Rockies, Mid-Atlantic, Canada, and even in Japan.

The Indy Base Pass costs $329 and covers two all-day or all-night lift tickets at each resort, with blackout dates, while the Indy+ Pass ($429) provides two days or nights at each resort with no blackout dates. Plus, holders can score third-day tickets at 25% off ticket window pricing. See all options and all mountains under the pass online.

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