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Overcrowding at Epic and Ikon resorts

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Today A-Basin announced that it's leaving the Epic Pass family. It cited one of its main reasons as overcrowding. (A-Basin's decision is being discussed in this thread).

So it made me wonder: for those of you who have Epic or Ikon passes, have you noticed an increase in crowds at participating resorts?

I'm pretty sure I have: I went over to Okemo yesterday afternoon (Sunday of President's Day weekend; I was not there to ski. I'm strictly a mid-week, non-holiday skier) and honestly, I can't remember ever seeing so many people. Now, it may be coincidental because we have a lot of snow and it's a holiday weekend. But I think it was even beyond regular holiday weekend status. As I said, I wasn't at the mountain to ski, but holy moly, I honestly don't think it could've been pleasant on the hill. Or safe. I don't know what the numbers are, but they had to have been record breaking. It was nuts.

I'd love to get the stats on something like this: the crowds before and after participation in a multi-resort pass.

What do you think?
 
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Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#2
Tremblant was on Max Pass the last few years and we definitely saw an increase in traffic. This year....OMG - Saturday was a new record, 14,600!! Waaay too many people. Some if it is the IKON pass and some it was the record snowfall this past week. Things are now down to a holiday week level.

I seriously think that Tremblant slowed down the lifts on Saturday. The runs didn't seem all that crowded, but the lift lines were just plain horrendous.
 

Susan L

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#3
I noticed more people at Taos this season too, especially over MLK weekend, and President’s Day weekend was even worse. I was talking to an employee at the lift today and he said we got close to 15,000 visitors this weekend!!! I don’t know when Taos got on Ikon/MCP but I have never seen crowds like this in the last 4 years, not even during Texas springbreak. Taos is not really big enough to handle this many people! It is very dangerous to ski on the weekends now and I have noticed alot more people straight lining down a run with absolutely no control, or skiing terrains that’s way too difficult and end up hiking down.
 
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Gratefulgal

Certified Ski Diva
#4
I'm part of Peak at Mount Snow and I am blown away at the number of people. It's unsafe, it's just not worth taking a chance out there and it's sad to see money be more important than safety out there.
 

Moonrocket

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#5
I have been pleasantly surprised at Winter Park. I think because it’s more of a Denver local mountain than a destination mountain - it seems like a lot of people took advantage of their IKON passes and went somewhere else over the holidays. I don’t think it’s been anymore crowded than previous years.

Now when the winds whip up and they close Eagle Wind and Panoramic the lower lifts back up- but that’s nothing new.

But this may be more related to my really negative expectations than anything else :-)
 

Gratefulgal

Certified Ski Diva
#6
Today A-Basin announced that it's leaving the Epic Pass family. It cited one of its main reasons as overcrowding. (A-Basin's decision is being discussed in this thread).

So it made me wonder: for those of you who have Epic or Ikon passes, have you noticed an increase in crowds at participating resorts?

I'm pretty sure I have: I went over to Okemo yesterday afternoon (Sunday of President's Day weekend) and honestly, I can't remember ever seeing so many people. Now, it may be coincidental because we have a lot of snow and it's a holiday weekend. But I think it was even beyond regular holiday weekend status. I wasn't at the mountain to ski, but holy moly, I honestly don't think it could've been pleasant on the hill. Or safe. I don't know what the numbers are, but they had to have been record breaking. It was nuts.

I'd love to get the stats on something like this: the crowds before and after participation in a multi-resort pass.

What do you think?
I can only speak for Mount Snow; I had friends in town from Jersey so we went out at 7:30 am and the lines were already long. We left by 11, and I was told the line times were over an hour and a half. No thank you.
 

MilkyWookiee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#7
I ski okemo, and have felt for a few years that it is over crowded. I mostly ski weekends, but avoid holidays like the plague! The traffic is definitely worse this year, and Sundays seem more crowded.
I definitely feel like there are issues loading the 6 pack with Vails handheld scanners. The point of lifties is to make the lifts operate SAFELY, and I'm sick of getting tripped up trying to maneuver around them. I also felt like the old gates helped people make their groups of 6 sooner. This all leads to slower/longer lines
The one thing I will say is that okemo is definitely big enough to ditch the crowds. Dress warm and head up sachem and glades peak for summit access. It's a slower lift but still faster than waiting in that lift line! South face is great too if you can brave the wind or it's a calm day. And don't ski Jackson Gore. It's overcrowded with inexperienced skiers.
 

dloveski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#8
Ikon is being blamed for overcrowding in BCC---Solitude is on the Ikon pass and pass holders get a few free days at Brighton. The traffic is horrendous and parking is a nightmare. Deer Valley is noticing a difference: https://www.parkrecord.com/opinion/...eg9_Moxq5il7SsiJc9oshbvtvZUy33oGEg-Gva1kEC3WY

While traffic and parking in BCC are problems (especially powder days), the runs we ski (off the groomers) haven't been that much different. But jeez---traffic is crazy. Two moose were hit last week in BCC.
 

lucy

Certified Ski Diva
#9
Funny article! Pot kettle issue for sure. The lines at Snowbird are off putting. We go early to get the first run, yes it's fun making new tracks but we have also found the wait to get the next tram is anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour. We have passes so we look at the lines and go home, unfortunately the long lines are turning into the rule instead of the exception and we are trying to figure out creative ways to ski during the off times. It feels like Snowbird is cannabalizing existing passholders for inclusion in the Ikon pass, in other words, if I can't use my pass... why would I buy another one year?
 

Abbi

Angel Diva
#10
I am definitely noticing more Monday/Friday crowds at Okemo. And the apartment above mine in Ludlow, which isn't rented seasonally is full more often than past years.

I would hope the Deer Valley plan of limiting tickets helps some out there. I'll find out next week and have reserved tickets already.
 

MissySki

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#11
I can only speak for Mount Snow; I had friends in town from Jersey so we went out at 7:30 am and the lines were already long. We left by 11, and I was told the line times were over an hour and a half. No thank you.
I’ve avoided Mount Snow for years because of crowds though.. In fact I’ve often avoided most of southern Vermont on weekends because of the huge influx of NY/NJ crowds and the rudeness I’ve encountered during those times I did give it a try (unbelievable how many people will stand on your tails in line and give an attitude when you ask them to back off!). On a holiday weekend, omg no way would I be anywhere around there.

That being said, I was at Pico today and it was fantastic. We never waited more than a few minutes for a lift, great conditions with some fresh snow, and sometimes had trails to ourselves.. that’s on my Ikon pass too.

Sunday River is on the Ikon and I was there for an absolutely great, but cold, MLK weekend complete with huge snowstorm. Never waited in a line all weekend except for the first ride up on the powder day.
 

MilkyWookiee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#12
I am definitely noticing more Monday/Friday crowds at Okemo. And the apartment above mine in Ludlow, which isn't rented seasonally is full more often than past years.
On a similar note, I feel like lodging prices in town have gone up a lot too! Anybody else feeling this way at other resorts?
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#13
I've been hearing the opposite about the holiday blackout dates. 75% of Ikon passes sold were base passes and blacked out for Christmas/New Year's weeks, MLK, Presidents' Weekend. Local Mammoth folks reported much smaller crowds over the Christmas season than usual. At BBMR, it's hard to tell. It's always been a zoo on holidays and Mammoth really screwed it up when they bought us out and stopped limiting ticket sales. I don't notice anything different under Ikon management as far as crowds go. We skied this morning for a nice powder morning and it was good until 11:00. The crowds started to hit then so we left.
 

MilkyWookiee

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#14
I've been hearing the opposite about the holiday blackout dates. 75% of Ikon passes sold were base passes and blacked out for Christmas/New Year's weeks, MLK, Presidents' Weekend. Local Mammoth folks reported much smaller crowds over the Christmas season than usual. At BBMR, it's hard to tell. It's always been a zoo on holidays and Mammoth really screwed it up when they bought us out and stopped limiting ticket sales. I don't notice anything different under Ikon management as far as crowds go. We skied this morning for a nice powder morning and it was good until 11:00. The crowds started to hit then so we left.
Interesting. The epic local pass (cheaper option) only has blackout dates at certain resorts. Okemo has no blackout dates.
 

Jilly

Moderator
Staff member
#15
The old Intrawest resorts have no black out on the base pass too. And the exchange rate in the Americans favour, they are coming to Canada. Today was much better for crowds.
 

bsskier

Certified Ski Diva
#16
Noticeable increase in the crowds at Big Sky in early January. Most people we met had IKON passes. We get a surge in bodies over the holidays as a norm, but the crowds were more significant to us.
 
#17
I really hope y'all are sending even just a quick email to these mountains about this. If enough people write to say they aren't renewing their pass or will be going to (unaffiliated resort) instead for their next trip, they might start to think the way A Basin has.

I would hope the Deer Valley plan of limiting tickets helps some out there. I'll find out next week and have reserved tickets already.
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that they lifted the ticket limit so much that it's window dressing at this point, but I don't have firsthand knowledge of that.
 
#18
Taos got on Ikon/MCP but I have never seen crowds like this in the last 4 years,
The first season Taos was on the MCP was 2016-17. That season they were hoping for 5000 MCP holders to show up. By early Feb, 2000 had already visited. But keep in mind that was a season when there was 100+ inches by late Jan.

This is the first season that Ikon has existed in general.

The other significant factor for TSV in recent years was the sale to Louis Bacon. Took a few years for the major capital improvements to be fully planned and implemented. The Kachina lift and changing Lift 1 to a detachable quad have not gone unnoticed by people who had never considered a trip to Taos before. Also a certain amount of pent up demand after a lousy winter for 2017-18. There was definitely people who cancelled trip to TSV last season.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#19
I really hope y'all are sending even just a quick email to these mountains about this. If enough people write to say they aren't renewing their pass or will be going to (unaffiliated resort) instead for their next trip, they might start to think the way A Basin has.
I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that they lifted the ticket limit so much that it's window dressing at this point, but I don't have firsthand knowledge of that.
I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives. My local resort is not blacked out so we get all of Los Angeles when they can't hit Mammoth/June. Additionally, all the LA folks who have always purchased Mammoth passes, got us for free. They don't mind paying for parking because skiing is free. So we all get to pay for parking. As for the extra crowding, we all prefer to ski open runs with no competition ... however for the same price I have paid for BBMR, for years, I inherit Mammoth, June, Squaw, & Alpine in CA and this winter will also have skied Aspen/Snowmass, Copper, and Steamboat. In the long run it's a win. I don't see a reason to complain.
 
#20
Ikon is being blamed for overcrowding in BCC---Solitude is on the Ikon pass and pass holders get a few free days at Brighton. The traffic is horrendous and parking is a nightmare. Deer Valley is noticing a difference: https://www.parkrecord.com/opinion/...eg9_Moxq5il7SsiJc9oshbvtvZUy33oGEg-Gva1kEC3WY

While traffic and parking in BCC are problems (especially powder days), the runs we ski (off the groomers) haven't been that much different. But jeez---traffic is crazy. Two moose were hit last week in BCC.
I wonder what will happen next season? Given that this is the first season for Ikon, certainly plenty of people like me who are curious to check out Deer Valley as part of a trip to SLC.

How long has the new Summit lift been around? Always takes a year or two before more people discover major upgrades if they aren't regulars at a given mountain.
 

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