2022/23 Indy Pass Buyer’s Guide

Newsroom Lift Passes 2022/23 Indy Pass Buyer’s Guide

You no doubt know about the three most-talked-about passes — IKON, Epic and Mountain Collective passes. But there’s another ski pass you should consider before you go for one of the big three. That’s the Indy Pass, described as “the spirit of alpine skiing at North America’s authentic, independent resorts. Note: The 2022/23 Indy Passes go off sale Dec. 31, 2022.

The Indy Pass, made up of 100 ski resorts and cross-country ski areas, may not be the big names like Vail, Aspen/Snowmass and Whistler, but Lutsen Mountains in Minnesota, Red Lodge in Montana, Jay Peak in Vermont and so many more offer a great ski experience.

Lutsen Mountains
Lutsen Mountains means western-like open slope skiing in the Midwest.

Who owns the Indy Pass?

The Indy Pass came about in 2019 as a less expensive alternative to the big three passes and is not owned by a conglomerate like Vail Resorts or a partnership like the IKON and Mountain Collective passes. The Indy ski pass includes many of the excellent, smaller ski areas that you won’t find with the other passes. The cooperative pass was launched and is still managed by Doug Fish, owner of Fish Marketing in Oregon.

The pass is even more valuable this year with five new alpine resorts added in the Upper Midwest, New England and Pacific Northwest. They include Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon; Marquette Mountain, Treetops and Nub’s Nob in Michigan; Mount Mankato, Minnesota and BigRock Mountain, Maine.

Cross-country ski enthusiasts have a network of XC-specific resorts across the U.S., including many of the best. A separate pass just for “skinny skiers” is available at a very reasonable cost.

New ski areas make it even better

The addition of new ski areas to the Indy Pass, including the two resorts in California and three Michigan resorts, may help you make up your mind. Indy Pass holders can ski and ride Marquette Mountain, for example, which brings the serious benefit of lake effect snow from nearby Lake Superior. The mountain picks up an average of 150 inches of snow each season. Nub’s Nob has long been a fun resort and is in the Boyne Mt./Boyne Highlands neighborhood in the lower peninsula. Treetops in Gaylord sits at the highest elevation in the lower peninsula (1,394 feet above sea level and offers a playground of 1,500 skiable acres).

Mt. Mankato (or Mt. Kato to locals) is just 15 minutes from downtown Mankato, offering 65 acres of terrain and 19 trails, all lit for night skiing. BigRock Ski Area is a unique story in that it closed in 2013, only to reconstitute itself into a nonprofit to serve the Northern Maine community near the New Brunswick, Canada border. There have been lots of improvements, including tubing hill, snowmaking and trail work. The price is right, too.

Perhaps the new “crown jewel” is Mt. Hood Meadows, Oregon, the largest of the nation’s independent resorts and the most exciting in the western U.S. Mt. Hood Meadows has 2,150 skiable acres with 85 named runs served by 11 lifts.

Just as the season was about to get underway, Indy Pass officials announced even more additions. They include: Calabogie Peaks Resorts and Alpine Loch Lomand, Ontario, Canada; Mountain High and Dodge Ridge, California; Arctic Valley, Colorado; Granby Ranch and Echo Mountain, Alaska; Mt. Crescent, Iowa; Sleeping Giant, Wyoming; Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park, Illinois; Dry Hill Ski Area, New York; and Whitecap Mountain, Wisconsin. In addition, several cross-country areas were added: Jay Peak Cross-Country Center, VT; Nickel Plate, B.C.; Bear Valley Adventure Center, CA; and Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, MT.

The best part — passes are a bargain with the Indy Pass and it’s so easy to use. Buy early, however, as prices go up incrementally as the countdown to the season draws nigh. The Indy Pass keeps growing each year as more and more of the regional ski areas and cross-country centers see the value of bringing newbies to their areas with the hopes of converting them into regular guests.

Red Lodge powder
Use your Indy Pass and discover the pow tree skiing at Red Lodge in Montana.

Here’s the roster of Indy Pass ski area participants:

West resorts on Indy Pass (17):

Alaska resorts on Indy Pass — EaglecrestB.C ApexManning ParkSasquatch MountainCalifornia — China PeakMt. Shasta Ski Park, Snow Valley, Mountain High, Dodge RidgeOregon — Hoodoo Ski AreaMt. Ashland; Mt. Hood Meadows; Washington — 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, Hurricane Ridge Ski & Snowboard Area, Mission Ridge, Ski Bluewood, White Pass.

Rocky Mountain resorts on Indy Pass: (18):

Alberta — Castle Mountain ResortArizona — Sunrise Park Resort; Colorado — Echo Mountain, Granby Ranch, SunlightIdaho — BrundageKelly CanyonPomerelleSilver MountainSoldier MountainTamarackMontana — Blacktail Mountain, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Red Lodge MountainUtah — Beaver Mountain, Eagle Point Resort, Powder MountainWyoming — Antelope Butte, Snow King MountainWhite Pine Ski Resort.

Midwest resorts on Indy Pass (24):

Iowa — Seven OaksSundown MountainMichigan — Big Powderhorn Mountain ResortCaberfae PeaksCrystal Mountain, Marquette Mountain, Nub’s Nob, Pine Mountain ResortSchuss Mountain at Shanty CreekSwiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area, Treetops Ski Resort; Minnesota — Buck Hill, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, Lutsen Mountains, Mount Mankato, Powder Ridge Winter Rec AreaSpirit MountainSo. Dakota —Terry Peak Ski AreaWisconsin — Granite PeakLittle SwitzerlandNordic Mountain, The Rock Snowpark, TrollhaugenTyrol Basin Ski & Snowboard Area.

Eastern resorts on Indy Pass (22):

Connecticut — Mohawk MountainMaine — BigRockMountain, Rangeley Lakes Trail Center, Saddleback MountainMassachusetts — Berkshire East Mountain Resort; New Hampshire — Black Mountain Ski AreaCannon MountainPat’s Peak, Waterville Valley Resort; New York — Catamount Mountain ResortGreek Peak, Peek ‘n Peak, Snow RidgeSwain ResortTitus MountainWest MountainVermont — Catamount Outdoor Family Center, Bolton ValleyJay PeakMagic MountainSaskadena Six Ski Area.

Mid-Atlantic resorts on Indy Pass (10):

No. Carolina — Cataloochee Ski AreaPennsylvania — Blue Knob ResortMontage MountainShawnee Ski AreaSki Sawmill, Tussey Mountain; Tennessee — Ober GatlinburgVirginia — Bryce ResortMassanutten ResortW. Virginia — Canaan Valley ResortWinterplace Ski Resort.

Japan resorts on Indy Pass (4):

Geto Kogen, Okunaakayama Kogan, Shimokura, Tazawako.

Indy Pass Resort spotlight

One of the iconic resorts on the Indy Pass roster is White Pass, Wash., located 12 miles from Mt. Rainier National Park. White Pass isn’t on your everyday ski roadmap but is actually about 53 miles west of Yakima. White Pass has a laid-back ski area, loved by skiers and riders with some 1,500 acres of terrain for all ability levels. The Paradise Basin Expansion area offers 767 additional acres of terrain served by two quads and the High Camp Lodge (try the brunch).

But what arguably makes White Pass the most iconic is because of a couple of twin boys who lived in their parent’s home at the base of the lifts where they honed their skiing and racing skills right out their front door. Dad, Dave (“Spike”) Mahre, was the area’s mountain manager, and Phil and Steve Mahre are two of the best American skiers of all time. If you are of the right age, you were probably mesmerized watching the 1984 Winter Olympics from Sarajevo, Yugoslavia (the country has been broken up and has not existed under that name since the early 1990s). Phil won the gold medal and Steve took home the silver in the slalom.

Don’t even try to count the World Cup and World Championship medals they won. Will knowing all that improve your skiing? Well, maybe. You’ll see them still skiing the mountain, this time with their grandkids.

Click for complete details on the Indy Pass.

Indy Pass logo

The best part: How to use your Indy Pass

The Indy passes are not physical passes. Here’s all you need to do to use it: Once you’ve received a confirmation email that your Indy Pass is registered, you can go to any participating resort ticket window to get a free lift ticket. Just present your driver’s license or other photo ID to the ticket agent each time you wish to redeem and they will issue you a day ticket.

Access and pricing

Indy Base Pass: Adults $349; Kids $159. This pass includes some blackout days.

Indy Base AddOn Pass: Adults $239; Kids $129. You must have an unlimited season pass at an Indy Pass ski resort. Turn your season pass into a “travel pass” and explore any and all of the 100 resorts. However, your AddOn pass is not valid at your home resort.

Indy Plus Pass: Adults $449; Kids $209. There are no blackout dates with this pass.

Indy + AddOn Pass: Adults $329; Kids $179.

The Indy Cross-Country Pass: Adults $69; kids $29.

Some advice: Buy your pass at the end of the current season and you can take advantage of a small down payment and a payment plan due in full by December of the next season. The price escalates slightly as the months go by.

Other things to know

Payment Plan: You can set up a monthly pay layaway plan, but it must be paid off by November.

Discount: Take 25 percent off the rack rate for the third day.

Lodging: Discounts are available at a range of lodging properties.

Pass Protection: $25 guarantees a full refund if purchased at the time you buy your pass.

The Indy vs the Big Boys

There’s a big difference between the Indy Pass and the bigger, broader, louder IKON and Epic Passes. Think of it like taking a weekend or even a Midwest day at your “home hill” — you know, when push comes to shove and someone asks you about your favorite ski area even after returning for a “week out West.” These are all unique, friendly, sometimes small, sometimes not, independent ski areas. The other biggie mentioned above: No physical pass — just show up at the ticket window after you have registered and purchased the pass.

Ikon Pass

Epic Pass

Mountain Collective Pass

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