Dear Ski Diva: Which pass is best for me?

By Wendy Clinch •  Updated: 03/20/18 •  4 min read

I’m sure all of you have heard about the multi-resort passes that have come on the market for next year. There’s the IKON pass, the Epic Pass, the Mountain Collective Pass, the Peak Pass, and so forth and so on. It’s enough to make your head spin. Well, don’t despair; you’re not alone. Skiers far and wide are tying themselves in knots trying to determine which pass is best for them. Simply put, you need the foresight of Nostradamus and the wisdom of Solomon to sort it all out. Or, you could send a letter to The Ski Diva, because natch, I have all the answers. Here are a few of the many I’ve received:

Dear Ski Diva —
I’ve been dating a terrific guy (I’ll call him Chad), and until recently, things have been going great. Chad and I share a lot of the same interests. We both love to eat oatmeal, walk barefoot on gravel roads, and collect vintage Tupperware containers. Even better, we both share a passion for skiing! The problem is that Chad has always been a MAX pass sort of guy and is set on buying the IKON pass. I, on the other hand, love the Mountain Collective resorts and think that’s the way to go. Our discussions are escalating into arguments. Last night, after an especially heated exchange, Chad had his evening bowl of oatmeal without me. I was devastated! What should I do?
Heartsick in Denver

Dear Heartsick in Denver —
Don’t despair. Mixed relationships can work if you’ll only compromise. Fortunately, both of those passes share a few resorts. For example, both cover Big Sky, Aspen Snowmass, and Jackson Hole, to name a few. If that doesn’t work, you can always take separate ski trips. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
All the Best,
Ski Diva

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Dear Ski Diva —
I live in New England, and I’m really confused about which multi-resort pass makes the most sense. My best ski friend, Stephanie, says she’ll only ski with me if my pass covers Killington during  Christmas Week. But my oldest friend, Deb, wants us to take a ski trip to Stowe. And my next door neighbor, Jill, says we simply have to ski Mount Snow. Then there’s my annual trip out west. Jennifer, my ex-college roommate, is really pushing for us to go to Vail. But my other friends — Sally, Lauren, and Emily — want us to go to Squaw Alpine Meadows. I feel like I’m being pulled in half a dozen directions! I really don’t enjoy skiing alone and I don’t want to disappoint my friends, so which should it be: IKON, Epic, Mountain Collective, or something else?
Yours in confusion,
Baffled in Boston

Dear Baffled in Boston —
The choice is clear: you need new friends. Ditch ’em all and only ski with those who have the same pass as you. Sure,  it may not be easy at first. And you may have to pay an emotional toll. But it’ll be a heck of a lot easier than to accommodate all those losers who are hinging your relationship on your ski pass.
Happy Trails,
Ski Diva



Dear Ski Diva —
I’m seriously worried about the future of skiing. All the multi-resort passes are great for skiers’  bank accounts, but what does this mean for the smaller ski areas? What’s the incentive for a skier to go to a smaller, independent resort, if they can purchase an Epic pass and ski multiple resorts for the same amount they’d spend for one? And with Vail and Aspen-KSL having such deep pockets for investment, how can a smaller area survive?
Seriously Concerned about Skiing

Dear Seriously Concerned —
I’m worried, too. Since the 1980’s, roughly 33% of US ski areas have gone out of business and up to 150 more are considered threatened by industry experts. Sure, there are a lot of factors that have caused this to happen. Many of these places were smaller Mom and Pop hills that didn’t have the resources to survive a bad winter or invest in things like snowmaking or lifts. But that doesn’t mean they should just go away. Smaller areas are great places for beginner skiers and families, and serve as feeder hills for larger resorts like Vail. What’s more, they offer something larger resorts generally lack: a measure of character and community involvement that goes to the heart of what skiing is all about. What’s the answer? Damned if I know. But some of the smaller resorts are banding together to offer their own multi-resort passes of their own. The Denver Post covers some of them here. What can you do? Support your small local area before it’s too late. Because there’s more to a ski area than just dollars and cents.


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