Mountain Collective and Epic Pass fight it out

Ski Mountain Passes

A month ago, Vail Resorts announced the purchase of Stowe. This was a big deal since it was Vail Resorts’ first mountain on the East Coast. But, as we described in our article on the purchase, this was much more than just a purchase. Coupled with Vail’s purchase of Whistler, this has turned Vail Resorts Epic Pass into a real leader in multi-mountain passes.

In the past few years, Vail Resorts has bought Lake Tahoe’s Kirkwood in 2012, Park City in 2014 (and merged it with Canyons to form the largest ski resort in the United States. They expanded into the southern hemisphere by acquiring Australia’s Perisher Ski Resort in 2014, added the smaller Wilmot a year ago, and then bought Whistler/Blackcomb last year.

Stowe Mountain

Photo courtesy of Stowe Mountain

What is slightly lost in these huge acquisitions is that they have essentially bought that largest resort in North America (Whistler), formed the largest resort in the U.S. by merging Park City and Canyons, and now have one of the premier resorts in the East Coast. That’s pretty impressive. But, did you know that Whistler and Stowe, two of the highest rated resorts in North America were with the Mountain Collective Pass last year? Next year, both resorts will be on the Epic Pass. That’s a huge switch over from one competitor to the other. That’s like two of the best players on the New York Yankees leaving and going to the rival Boston Red Sox.

Multi-season passes has become big business and has had a huge effect on the profits of Vail Resorts. By buying into these various resorts, the pass holders are traveling to other Vail Resorts to use their passes at the mountains and spending their hard-earned money at their lodging, restaurants, and everything else they own.

Sugarbush

Sugarbush Mountain Vermont

Meanwhile, the mountain collective resorts made two new additions this week by adding Sugarbush and Snowbasin to their collection of resorts this week. These are two great mountains, but they don’t have the resort touch that Whistler and Stowe do. All the same, for many people the Mountain Collective pass is still a great pass. It gives you great skiing on five continents including 16 top notch mountains including Alta, Snowbird, Aspen Snowmass, Banff/Sunshine, Jackson Hole, Lake Louise, Mammoth, Revelstoke, Snowbasin, Squaw Valley, Sun Valley, Taos, Telluride, and Thredbo in Australia.

Vail Resorts’ 2017/18 Epic Pass is now on sale. It is currently on sale for $859 (and if you buy your Epic Pass before April 9, you get 6 buddy tickets.) As of now, the 2017/18 Epic Pass is good for unlimited days at Vail Resort’s 13 resorts including Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher (2018 access) and Arapahoe Basin. Epic Pass holders also get limited access to 30 European ski resorts including Verbier and Les 4 Vallées in Switzerland, Les 3 Vallées in France; Arlberg in Austria; and Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy.

With all of this Multi-Mountain Pass talk, don’t forget the MaxPass. Currently, I believe this is the best deal for East Coast skiers/riders. I can personally tell you that after 6 years of passes, I bought my family and I the MAX Pass last year and it was excellent. We hit Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Killington, and others. This year, with the addition of 16 mountains, I am looking forward to hitting many more.


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