2023/24 Indy Pass Buyer’s Guide

Newsroom Featured Lift Passes 2023/24 Indy Pass Buyer’s Guide

You no doubt know about the three most-talked-about passes — Ikon Pass, Epic and The Mountain Collective passes. But there’s another ski pass you should seriously 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 that the 23/24 Indy Pass sales have resumed as of Oct. 10 for those on the Spring/Summer Waitlist. 

Buy early, however, as prices go up incrementally as the countdown to the season draws nigh. The Indy Pass, made up of some 180 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. Since all the participating resorts are independent, the total list is not completely final at the start. There will be some new resorts and very few defections, however.

Skier carrying skis with mountain backdrop, Vail, CO.
©Vail Resorts

Who owns the Indy Pass?

The Indy Pass came about in 2019 as a less expensive alternative to the major ski passes. As such, it is not owned by a conglomerate like Vail Resorts or a partnership like IKON Pass and The Mountain Collective passes. The Indy 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.

New ski areas made it even better last winter

The addition of new ski areas to the Indy Pass in 2022-23, 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, 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./The Highlands neighborhood in the lower peninsula. Treetops, in Gaylord, sits at the highest elevation in the lower peninsula, at 1,394 feet, and offers a playground of 1,500 skiable acres.

Other Indy Pass ski areas include Mt. Kato, located just 15 minutes from downtown Mankato, and 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 a tubing hill, snowmaking, and trail work. The price is right, too.

Among the new headliners is Oregon’s Mt. Hood Meadows, 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.

Indy Pass has added a number of ski resorts in the last couple of years. They’ve included: Calabogie Peaks Resorts and 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, Vermont; Nickel Plate, British Columbia; Bear Valley Adventure Center, California; and Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, Montana.

The best part: Passes are a bargain with the Indy Pass and it’s so easy to use. 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.

Dodge Ridge Ski Resort, CA.
@Dodge Ridge Ski Resort

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

For the 23/24 season, Indy Pass added 54 new resorts to their lineup. With a mix of cross-country and alpine locations, they are working on expanding their territories and offering more options to their customers. In total, they now offer access to 183 resorts worldwide. The new resorts are italicized in the lists below.

West resorts on Indy Pass:

Alaska resorts on Indy Pass — Arctic Valley, EaglecrestB.C Apex, Baldy Mountain Resort, Big White Ski Resort, Manning Park, Phoenix Mountain, Sasquatch Mountain, Shames Mountain; California — Bear Valley Adventure Company, China PeakMt. Shasta Ski ParkMountain High, Dodge RidgeOregonCooper Spur Ski Area, Hoodoo Ski AreaMt. Ashland, Mt. Hood Meadows; Washington — 49 Degrees North Mountain Resort, Hurricane Ridge Ski & Snowboard Area, Loup Loup Ski Bowl, Mission Ridge, Ski BluewoodWhite Pass.

Rocky Mountain resorts on Indy Pass:

Alberta — Castle Mountain Resort, Pass Powderkeg Ski Area; B.C — Fairmont Hot Springs Resort; Arizona — Sunrise Park Resort; ColoradoEcho Mountain, Granby Ranch, Howelsen Hill, SunlightIdaho — BrundageKelly CanyonPomerelleSilver MountainSoldier MountainTamarackMontana — Blacktail Mountain, Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Montana Snowbowl, Red Lodge MountainUtah — Beaver Mountain, Cherry Peak (Allied Resort), Eagle Point ResortPowder MountainWyoming — Antelope Butte, Meadowlark Ski Lodge, Sleeping Giant (Allied Resort), Snow King MountainWhite Pine Ski Resort.

Midwest resorts on Indy Pass:

Illinois —  Chesnut Ski Resort, Snowstar Resort; Iowa Sundown MountainMichigan — Big Powderhorn Mountain ResortCaberfae PeaksCrystal Mountain, Marquette Mountain, Mont Ripley Ski Area (Allied Resort), Nub’s NobPine Mountain ResortSchuss Mountain at Shanty Creek, Snowriver Mountain Resort, Swiss Valley Ski and Snowboard Area, Treetops Ski ResortMinnesotaAndes Tower Hills Ski Area, Buck Hill, Detroit Mountain Recreation Area, Lutsen Mountains, Mount Kato, Powder Ridge Winter Rec AreaSpirit Mountain; OntarioMont Baldy Ski Area, Loch Lomond Ski Area; North Dakota Bottineau Winter Park, Huff Hills Ski AreaSouth. DakotaGreat Bear Ski Valley, Terry Peak Ski AreaWisconsin — Granite PeakLittle SwitzerlandNordic Mountain, The Rock Snowpark, TrollhaugenTyrol Basin Ski & Snowboard Area.

Eastern resorts on Indy Pass:

Connecticut — Mohawk MountainMaine — BigRockMountain, Black Mountain of Maine, Saddleback MountainMassachusettsBousquet Mountain (Allied Resort), Berkshire East Mountain ResortNew Hampshire — Black Mountain Ski AreaCannon Mountain, Dartmouth Skiway, King Pine (Allied Resort), McIntyre Ski Area, Pat’s Peak, Waterville Valley Resort, Whaleback Mountain; New York — Catamount Mountain Resort, Dry Hill (Allied Resort), Greek Peak, Maple Ski Ridge, Peek ‘n Peak, Skaneateles Ski Club (Allied Resort), Snow RidgeSwain ResortTitus MountainWest Mountain; Ontario, Canada — Calabogie Peaks Resort; VermontBolton Valley, Burke Mountain (Allied Resort), Jay PeakMagic Mountain, Middlebury Snowbowl (Allied Resort), Saskadena Six Ski Area.

Cannon Mountain, NH skier in powder, spring skiing.
©Cannon Mountain Ski Resort

Mid-Atlantic resorts on Indy Pass:

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

Japan resorts on Indy Pass:

Ani Ski Resort, Aomori Spring Ski Resort, Geto Kogen, Kamui Ski Links, Kiroro Snow World, Madarao Ski Resort, Okunaakayama Kogan, Pippu Ski Resort, Shimokura, Tazawako, Togakushi Ski Resort, Yubari Ski Resort.

Europe resorts on Indy Pass:

AustriaSkiWelt (consists of 9 resort villages united by one lift ticket: Brixen im Thale, Ellmau, Going, Hopfgarten im Brixental, Itter, Kelchsau, Scheffau, Söll, and Westendorf.)

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.

How to use your Indy Pass

The Indy passes historically have not been physical passes. New for 2023-24, Indy Pass will be issuing a commemorative RFID pass to each pass holder.

Access and pricing (Prices for 2023-24 as of October 11, 2023)

Indy Base Pass: Adults $399; Kids $199. This pass includes some blackout days.

Indy Base AddOn Pass: Adults $279; Kids $139. 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 resorts. However, your AddOn pass is not valid at your home resort. This pass includes some blackout days.

Indy Plus Pass: Adults $499; Kids $249. There are no blackout dates with this pass.

Indy + AddOn Pass: Adults $379; Kids $179. This pass grants full unlimited access for season pass holders at Indy Partner Resorts.

The Indy Cross-Country Pass: Adults $99; kids $49.

The Indy Cross-Country AddOn Pass: Adults $79; kids $39.

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: Pass buyers can pay for their passes in 2 installments with no interest, meaning a base pass would cost $199.50 per month. The Indy Pass Payment Plan is fully managed by Indy Pass, meaning it comes with zero interest, no credit checks, and no third-party lenders, unlike the other passes.

Capacity Limits: As the Indy Pass continues to grow in popularity, a capacity limit has been placed on pass purchasing to ensure fewer crowds at the participating resorts. The only way to now purchase a pass is to join the waitlist and you will receive a code as space opens up.

Service fees go away: The 3 percent service fee typically charged on all Indy Passes at checkout will be eliminated for the 23/24 season. In exchange, all pass holders will be mailed a custom-designed 23/24 commemorative, RFID-enabled Indy Pass with a photo for a $10 fee. The physical Indy Pass will include benefits such as direct-to-lift access at select Indy resorts, expedited lift ticket pick-up at all Indy resorts, and discounts on products and services from Indy Pass partners.

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

The Indy vs the Big Boys

There’s a big difference between the Indy Pass and the bigger Ikon Pass and Epic Epic Pass. 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, and in some cases smaller independent ski areas.

Click for complete details on the Indy Pass

Ikon Pass

Epic Pass

Ikon Pass vs. Epic Pass

Mountain Collective Pass

Header credit: Aspen Snowmass Resort

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