2022/23 Buyer’s Guide: Epic Pass

Newsroom Lift Passes 2022/23 Buyer’s Guide: Epic Pass

Multi-resort passes like the Epic Pass are a great way to ensure you get your ski days in and diversify where you ski while also saving a considerable amount of money. More good news: All three Epic Passes have been reduced by 20 percent.

Numerous pass options allow for a tailored mountain experience with everything you need and nothing you don’t. Choosing which season pass best suits your ski and ride needs has never been easier. Consider this your shopping guide to sort out what Epic Pass will work best for you.

Growing pains with remedies on the way

Vail Resorts has been on a significant expansion tear over the past decade. That has resulted in the addition of multiple resorts to the Epic Pass family in both North America and the Southern Hemisphere (during the offseason), including a slew of newly acquired Peak Resorts ski areas in the 2020-21 ski season. The corporation acquired Seven Springs, Laurel Mountain and Hidden Valley, Pa. during the winter last season.

To be sure, the addition of so many more owned resorts and a significant pass price reduction of 20 percent last winter caused some growing pains in terms of overcrowding at some resorts, generating some bad publicity and irritated guests. However, the company has worked hard to solve those problems and it likely won’t be a continuing issue.

An itinerant skier or rider who is an Epic Pass holder can access multiple states, countries, and even continents while accumulating unlimited days at their local resorts between trips.

Here are full details on the Epic Pass.

Drop into Vail's back bowls with the Epic Pass
Drop into Vail’s back bowls with the Epic Pass

 

What and for whom?

Vail Resorts created the Epic Pass more than a decade ago, well before the number of ski areas under its ownership skyrocketed. You’ll find plenty of skiing and riding – far more than you can slide in a season with any one of the three versions of this pass. The pass is for skiers and snowboarders looking for loads of time on the slopes at multiple destinations.

Vail Resorts has partners in lots of good places

Remember this pass is only valid at ski areas owned by Vail Resorts or its partners in Europe, Australia and Japan. But, there’s plenty to choose from. You can choose from hundreds more resorts available on the Ikon, Indy, Mountain Collective, Cooper and some smaller groupings. But, Vail and Ikon are the Big Boppers.

Where?

Heavenly overlooks beautiful Lake Tahoe. Ski it with the Epic Pass.
Heavenly overlooks beautiful Lake Tahoe. Ski it with the Epic Pass.

USA: WestHeavenly, Calif./Nev.; Kirkwood, Calif.; Northstar, Calif.; Stevens Pass, Wash.

MidwestAfton Alps, Minn.; Alpine Valley, Ohio; Boston Mills, Ohio; Brandywine, Ohio; Hidden Valley, Mo.; Mad River Mountain, Ohio; Mt. Brighton, Mich.; Paoli Peaks, Ind.; Snow Creek, Mo.; Wilmot, Wis.

NortheastAttitash, N.H.; Big Boulder, Pa.; Crotched Mountain, N.H.; Hidden Valley, Pa.; Hunter Mountain, N.Y.; Jack Frost, Pa.; Laurel Mountain, Pa.; Liberty Mountain, Pa.;  Mount Snow, Vt.;  Mount Sunapee, N.H.; Okemo, Vt.;  Roundtop Mountain Resort, Pa.; Seven Springs, Pa.; Stowe, Vt.; Whitetail, Pa.;  Wildcat, N.H.

Rockies — Beaver Creek, Colo.; Breckenridge, Colo.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Keystone, Colo.; Park City Mountain Resort, Utah; Telluride, Colo.; Vail, Colo.

Canada — Whistler Blackcomb, B.C.; Fernie Alpine Resort, B.C.; Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, B.C.;  Kimberley Alpine Resort, B.C.; Mont-Sainte Anne, Qué.; Nakiska Ski Area, Alb.; Stoneham, Qué.

Southern Hemisphere — Falls Creek, Hotham, and Perisher, Australia

Les Menuires in the Three Valleys of France is part of the Epic Pass
Les Menuires in the Three Valleys of France is part of the Epic Pass

Europe — Les 3 Vallées, France (Val Thorens, Méribel, Courchevel, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de  Orelle, Brides-Les-Bains); Skirama Dolomiti, Italy (Madonna di Campiglio; Pinzolo; Folgarida-Marilleva; Pejo; Ponte di Legno-Tonale; Andalo-Fai della Paganella; Monte Bondone; Folgarida-Lavarone)4 Vallées, Switzerland (Bruson, Verbier, La Tzoumaz, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, Thyon); Ski Arlberg, Austria (Lech, Zurs, Stuben, St. Christoph, St. Anton).

Japan — Hakuba 47 Winter Sports Park (Able Hakuba Goryu; Hakuba Iwatake Snow Field; Jigatake Snow Resort; Tsugaike Mountain Resort; Hakuba Cortina Snow Resort; Hakuba Happo-One Snow Resort; Hakuba Norikura Onsen Snow Resort; Kashimayari Snow Resort); Rusutsu.

Full Epic Pass

Who: Skiers and riders looking for unlimited access to multi resorts.

Where: Unlimited days at 38 resorts in North America: USA: West — Heavenly, Calif./Nev.; Kirkwood, Calif.; Northstar, Calif.; Stevens Pass, Wash. Midwest — Afton Alps, Minn.; Alpine Valley, Ohio; Boston Mills, Ohio; Brandywine, Ohio; Hidden Valley, Mo.; Mad River Mountain, Ohio; Mt. Brighton, Mich.; Paoli Peaks, Ind.; Snow Creek, Mo.; Wilmot, Wis. East — Attitash, N.H.; Big Boulder, Pa.; Crotched Mountain, N.H.;  Hidden Valley, Pa.; Hunter Mountain, N.Y.; Jack Frost, Pa; Laurel Mt., Pa.; Liberty Mountain, Pa.;  Mount Snow, Vt.;  Mount Sunapee, N.H.; Okemo, Vt.;  Roundtop Mountain Resort, Pa.; Seven Springs, Pa.; Stowe, Vt.; Whitetail, Pa.;  Wildcat, N.H. Rockies — Beaver Creek, Colo.; Breckenridge, Colo.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Keystone, Colo.; Park City Mountain Resort, Utah; Telluride, Colo.; Vail, Colo. And more: 7 days at Telluride, 7 days at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies; 5  days at Hakuba Valley and Rusutsu, Japan; 26 European resorts.

Restrictions: North America: None; 26 European resorts have some restrictions such as tying into lodging packages. Cost: $859.

Pull down the bubble on a cold day at Mt. Snow using the Epic Pass.
Pull down the bubble on a cold day at Mt. Snow using the Epic Pass.

 

Epic Local Pass  

Who: For unlimited skiing at 25 resorts and some 10 days total at Vail Resorts’ flagships.

Where:  USA: West — Stevens Pass, Wash. Midwest — Afton Alps, Minn.; Alpine Valley, Ohio; Boston Mills, Ohio; Brandywine, Ohio; Hidden Valley, Mo.; Mad River Mountain, Ohio; Mt. Brighton, Mich.; Paoli Peaks, Ind.; Snow Creek, Mo.; Wilmot, Wis. Northeast — Attitash, N.H.; Big Boulder, Pa.; Crotched Mountain, N.H.;  Hidden Valley, Pa.; Hunter Mountain, N.Y.; Jack Frost, Pa.; Laurel Mt., Pa.; Liberty Mountain, Pa.;  Mount Snow, Vt.;  Mount Sunapee, N.H.; Okemo, Vt.;  Roundtop Mountain Resort, Pa.; Seven Springs, Pa.; Whitetail, Pa.;  Wildcat, N.H. Rockies — Breckenridge, Colo.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Keystone, Colo. Additional access: 10 days total at Vail, Beaver Creek, and Whistler-Blackcomb; 5 total days at Hakuba Valley, Japan.

Restrictions: Holiday access is restricted at Park City Mountain Resort, Utah; Northstar, Calif.; Stowe, Vt.; Beaver Creek, Colo.; Heavenly, Calif.; Kirkwood, Calif.; Vail, Colo. and Whistler-Blackcomb, BC. Advanced Lift Ticket Rate available during blackout dates at Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler-Blackcomb, and beyond 10 days. Cost: $639 (adult) Note: Discounted tickets available for pass holders during restricted times at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, and Stowe.

Consider an Epic Pass at Michigan's Mt. Brighton.
Consider an Epic Pass at Michigan’s Mt. Brighton.

Be alert staring in March of every year. Watch for announcements of the start of sales for the next season’s Epic pass (or any of the other passes out there for that matter). There can sometimes be an escalating price schedule giving “early birds”a break and then scaling upwards as the season approaches. This practice seems to vary from year to year, but always “stay tuned” early.

Check out new Epic Pass FlexPay plans

The IKON pass has offered flexible payments for several years and, now, Vail Resorts has come around with its own FlexPay plan. You now may choose from among four “pay-over-time” plans with 6-, 9- and 12-month options. You don’t put any money down as the FlexPay options simply populate when you put one of the Epic Pass options into the check-out cart.

Epic 4-Day Pass

Who: Best for those planning a shorter vacation. Other combinations from 1 to 7 days are available.

Where:USA: West — Heavenly, Calif./Nev.; Kirkwood, Calif.; Northstar, Calif.; Stevens Pass, Wash. Midwest — Afton Alps, Minn.; Alpine Valley, Ohio; Boston Mills, Ohio; Brandywine, Ohio; Hidden Valley, Mo.; Mad River Mountain, Ohio; Mt. Brighton, Mich.; Paoli Peaks, Ind.; Snow Creek, Mo.; Wilmot, Wis. Northeast — Attitash, N.H.; Big Boulder, Pa.; Crotched Mountain, N.H.;  Hidden Valley, Pa.; Hunter Mountain, N.Y.; Jack Frost, Pa.; Laurel Mountain, Pa.; Liberty Mountain, Pa;  Mount Snow, Vt.;  Mount Sunapee, N.H.; Okemo, Vt.;  Roundtop Mountain Resort, Pa.; Seven Springs, Pa.; Stowe, Vt.; Whitetail, Pa.; Wildcat, N.H. Rockies — Beaver Creek, Colo.; Breckenridge, Colo.; Crested Butte, Colo.; Keystone, Colo.; Park City Mountain Resort, Utah; Telluride, Colo.; Vail, Colo. The Epic 4-Day, 5-Day, 6-Day, and 7-Day Passes include access to Telluride in Colorado and the six (6) Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

Epic 1-Day, 2-Day, and 3-Day Passes with all-access, and all Epic Day Passes with limited access do not include access to partner resorts. Holiday restrictions also apply at partner resorts. Cost: $332 (adult). Customizable pass 1-7 flex days valid at 43 resorts. Restrictions: Holiday restrictions apply at Telluride, and Resorts of the Canadian Rockies.

Even more info:

How loyal are you? Epic Mountain Rewards program aimed to keep you coming back

The Epic Pass loyalty program gives pass holders discounts such as 20 percent off lodging, dining, lessons, and more at Vail Resorts locations in North America; 20 percent off guided cat skiing in Keystone and Whistler-Blackcomb’s heliskiing packages; 10 Buddy Pass tickets, offering up to 45 percent off window rates if you purchase soon after announcement; 6 Ski- With-A-Friend (SWAF) Tickets of varying discounts.

Here’s the difference between Epic Buddy Pass and Ski-With-A-Friend Pass

Buddy Passes are discounted lift tickets at a flat rate. Several complimentary Ski-with-a-Friend passes are included with pass purchases.

Call if you want to try to upgrade your pass after purchasing

You have a good shot at upgrading as long as passes remain on sale. But, not online. Call them at (970) 754-0008.

Kids 5-12 can use Child Epic pass

Kids 5 to 12 may use a Child Epic Pass for $428 all season long even if they no longer fall into the age bracket. Redeem at any Vail Resorts owned-and-operated ticket window. If your kids are under five years, they can ski free as long as you (an adult with a pass) accompany them. Call guest services for details: (970) 754-0005. There is no specific pass for teenagers.

Don’t change your mind

Really, don’t. Passes are non-refundable. However, Epic Coverage, included with all pass purchases, provides refunds associated with illness, job loss, injury, and certain resort closures. If any of the above happens over the course of the season, you may qualify for a full or prorated refund. Terms and conditions apply. Keywords, as in all travel insurance policies, are “may qualify.”

Can we oldies get goodies?

Sure, if you are 65 to 79. Hit 80 and you are home free. The Tahoe Value Pass for seniors is $393 and gives you 7 days a week at Heavenly and 6 days a week at Northstar and Kirkwood. Live in the Northeast? You can ski at 21 resorts in the Northeast for $393 excluding holidays.

Which pass is best for me?

It obviously depends on how often and where you plan to ski or ride. No matter what, if you plan to hit those snowy slopes five times or more this season, purchasing a pass will be worth it.  But, do your homework. Compare the Epic Passes carefully and also check out the IKON and Indy passes since they offer pass programs for many other mega and local ski areas in North America and around the world.

But, so you can compare resorts, pricing, and rules, check out our news on the IKON Pass, Mountain Collective, and the Indy Pass.

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