Which Epic Pass is right for you?

JAY Blog photo - Best of 2013/14 Season

A few fun facts about the Epic Pass: the full, unlimited pass delivers 170-plus days on the mountain for 32,137 skiable acres with a total of 247 lifts. It is good at 18 ski resorts in four countries. And, at $750, it’s a relative steal, especially if you’ve got unlimited time and a travel bug to capitalize on all of the pass’s access.

In case you have “limiting factors” (also known as job and family obligations), there might be a different iteration of the Epic Pass that’s slightly cheaper and better for you. Here are your choices.

Epic Local Pass
Terrific for anyone looking for unrestricted riding at Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, and Arapahoe Basin, the Epic Local pass also works at Park City, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood—with the exception of certain holidays: the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas, Martin Luther King weekend and President’s Day Weekend. The Epic Local also includes a total of 10 days at Beaver Creek and Vail, with holiday restrictions.
Bottom line: Good if your regular resort is not Vail or Beaver Creek, and if you don’t mind steering clear of the big guns on holiday weekends.
Cost: $550

Epic 7-Day
This pass includes seven days at any of the Colorado, Utah, or Tahoe Vail Resorts destinations, and offers seven additional (free) days at Afton Alps or Mt. Brighton.
Bottom line: If you’re planning one big ski trip this year but aren’t sure where (or if you’re planning two smaller trips), this is an affordable pass that offers a lot of flexibility. Buy it now, track the snow, and then book your trip.
Cost: $570

Epic 4-day
Like the seven day pass, minus three days. Once you use your four days, you get reduced rates on day tickets purchased at the resort.
Bottom line: This pass pays for itself in three days and is a good option if you think you’re going to ski at least a few times this winter but don’t want to commit to an entire season pass.
Cost: $400

Epic Local College Pass
Take your study breaks on the mountain with this discount pass that offers unlimited, unrestricted access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, and Arapahoe Basin. It also has limited restrictions at Park City, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood and 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek.
Bottom line: You are only in college once; buy this pass.
Cost: $500

Summit Value Pass
This pass offers unlimited access to Keystone and A-Basin with limited restrictions (Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks, MLK day and President’s Day Weekend) at Breckenridge. Ideal for anyone who prefers the Summit County resorts. It also offers discounted tickets to the Tahoe and Utah resorts.
Bottom line: Nothing screams “local” like the Summit Value Pass.
Cost: $490

snow12There are other versions of the Epic Pass—special configurations for Tahoe, Keystone, and the Utah resorts. But if you’re a Breckenridge die-hard (and we assume you are if you’re reading this blog), the above options are likely your best bet. All of them come with some additional perks, mainly discounted “ski with a friend” tickets and more (read the fine print for the details).

If you’re on the fence about whether or not to buy a season pass, know this: the best thing about a season pass is that it takes the pressure off. If you’re having an off day, no problem, you quit early and not stress about blowing the cost of a day ticket. If an unexpected storm comes, you don’t fret about the extra cost of ski tickets. Instead you book a room and head to the hills knowing you’ve got your lift ride paid for.

It’s liberating to have a season pass—whether you’re a 100-day a year rider or whether you head out two weekends a winter. And with the cost of the Epic Pass so low (by contrast, season passes at some mountains start at $1,400), it’s a good deal for anyone hoping to log more than a week of skiing or riding this season.

– Rachel Walker

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