They say the best time to buy a ski season pass is before the leaves fall. With ski areas rolling out season pass deals earlier and earlier, now looks like a fine time to buy or lock into the best rates for a 2015-16 season pass. Many ski areas offer an opportunity to use next season’s pass this season. Increasingly, ski areas are forming alliances to showcase their resorts at very reasonable prices.
Five deals to consider:
1. The M.A.X. Pass
What’s got 22 resorts with five days of skiing at each for a total of 110 days on the hill? The M.A.X. Pass. Talk about huge. Intrawest, Boyne, and Powdr have teamed up to offer skiers and riders a chance to ski across North America next season for $699 for adults aged 18 and up (until April 30). Northeast skiers get the gold on this one, as they can take lifts at Killington, Stratton, and Pico in Vermont; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon in New Hampshire; and across the border in Quebec at Tremblant. They haven’t enjoyed such access since the old American Skiing Company days. There are a handful of other areas, too.
Western skiers and riders get in line for resorts like Steamboat, Copper, Winter Park, Big Sky, Mount Bachelor, and Cypress. Midwest fans play at Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highlands.
No blackout dates on this one. Another bonus is that owners of a qualifying season pass at qualifying resorts can get the M.A.X. (multi-alpine experience) as an add-on for $249.
2. The Epic Pass
Of course, the M.A.X. Pass is squarely a shot at the Epic Pass by Vail Resorts. This one is good at 11 resorts, but a big key difference is that the Epic Pass is good for unlimited skiing and riding. The introductory price is $769 for adults and $399 for children. Lock into it for $49 by April 12.
Carve turns on more than 32,000 acres at high-end resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Park City/Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps, and Mt. Brighton.
Another incentive here is the Turn in Your Ticket program this spring. Skiers and riders can apply the cost of their day lift ticket towards the price of a 2015-16 Epic Pass. Bring it to a Vail Resorts owned mountain and let them know you want to use it for an Epic Pass.
3. The Mountain Collective Pass
For only $369 as an introductory price, the Mountain Collective pass serves up two days of skiing at Alta and Snowbird, Aspen and Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Sunshine Village and Lake Louise, Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, Sun Valley, Whistler and Blackcomb, and Valle Nevado in Chile. That’s 16 days of skiing. No blackout dates, and half off additional day tickets.
4. The New England Pass
The New England Pass gets skiers and riders to Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine and New Hampshire’s Loon, a total of 359 trails, 15 terrain parks in prime time, and some 2,470 acres. Purchase the pass in full, and use it for the rest of this season which tends to go into mid-April and often early May. The Bronze New England Pass is the midweek, non-holiday plan at $399 for all ages. The Silver New England Pass offers daily access but contains 13 blackout dates and is $685 for ages 19 to 64. The Gold New England Pass is unlimited access for $999 for adults 19 to 64.
College and grad students rejoice. The College New England Pass for full time college students is $359 (through November 30) for unlimited access while those college students with a 2014-15 College Pass can get a Graduate New England Pass for $685 (through April 30). Must be nice for those without a stack of loans to pay.
5. The Tahoe Local Pass
There are joys to being a local and if you go wow in the Tahoe pow than the Tahoe Local Pass at $479 (going up later) is the one. It provides a daily key to Kirkwood, Northstar and Heavenly but does have some holiday restrictions On those days, get a lift ticket for half price. What’s new? How about five total limited days at Park City in Utah, plus Colorado’s Arapahoe Basin, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone.