The Good News? Passes are Cheaper

The silver lining for skiers and riders to all this Covid-19 mess? Season pass sales for next year are getting cheaper, deadlines are extending, resort lodging is opening up and yes, Virginia, we will have winter again.

Although not for a few months. And if 20/21 is a wash, several passes will let you defer until 21/22.

Recently, Alterra Mountain Company, which owns and operates Stratton and Sugarbush (among other ski areas) and whose Ikon pass is good for up to 7 days at Killington and Pico, announced it would give repeat passholders $200 off if they renew their full Ikon pass and $100 off the Ikon Base Pass (with blackout dates). Granted, the prices for both passes rose by $50 (from ($949 to $999 for the Ikon Pass and from $649 to $699 for the Base Pass. One change from last year, two gems in the crown — Jackson Hole and Aspen — are no longer good on the Ikon Pass unless you buy a $150 add-on.

And there’s now an extended May 27 deadline to lock in those prices. Best yet? If you are worried Covid-19 may impact the 20/21 season you can defer your pass. Under the “Adventure Assurance” program if you ask to defer between September 10 and December 10, 2020, you can apply your pass cost toward a 21/22 season pass purchase.

Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass is back at $979 for unlimited access to Mount Snow, Okemo and Stowe and 34 other  resorts (thanks to the Peak Resorts buying spree of last year) as well as 7 days of access to Sun Valley, Idaho; Snowbasin, Utah and Telluride, Colo. The Epic Base Pass, for $729, also gives unlimited days at Okemo and Mount Snow but has holiday blackout days for Stowe. And the new Northeast Pass, at $599, restricts holiday access at Okemo and Mount Snow and limits passholders to 10 days at Stowe.

Killington/Pico rolled out its Beast 365 + Ikon Pass — offering year-round access to its 37-miles of mountain bike trails in its bike park, golf course and Adventure Center, along with deep discounts on lessons, lodging and other benefits. The two-in-one pass is $1344 if you buy before June 30 or you can pay $112 a month for 12 months.

In response, independents such as Smuggler’s Notch and Magic Mountain have actually dropped their prices.   Smuggler’s Notch just announced it was dropping its adult season pass price from $519 to $499 and  donating a portion of the sales proceeds from the 2020/21 Pass & Badged to the Vermont Food Bank and United Way of Lamoille County.

Magic, which was first out of the gate with dropping pass prices, announced this last week:

Magic has lowered our season pass prices up to 10 percent  just for this Early Bird sales period compared to last year’s Early Bird pricing to give some relief to our customers! Unlimited Passes ($539) will be reduced 10 percent  vs last Spring Lower-priced Specialty and Vermonter Passes will be reduced 5% vs last Spring! The Early Bird Sales period has been extended by one month to June 15th to give extra time for those who’d like to take advantage of the deep discounts (save up to $160/pass vs. the next “Pre-season” sales period from June 16-October 15th and up to $260 vs “Regular Season” pass prices after October 15th.

And, Magic notes:  “Although season passes, as always, remain non-refundable, Magic will provide full credit for a new 21/22 season pass if the government closes ski areas for the season before our 20/21 opening day due to COVID-19. Some partial credit toward a future season pass will be done if the season is shut down early before February 1, 2021. Therefore, your Early Bird pass investment is protected.”

The ski area also is offering expanded Service pass (just $269) to include first responders, nurses and ER/ICU doctors in addition to military personnel in recognition of their sacrifices during the pandemic. There is also  One Big Family flat-rate pass  at $1735 to help families with more than two children and an additional Locals’ Pass for any Vermonter who does not have school-age children.

A Magic  season pass  also provides pass holders the opportunity to get an Indy Pass starting this September 1 at a special discount, just $129 ($199 without a pass) which gives two days of free skiing in 20/21 at over 60 indie ski areas around the country.

Another Vermont resorts on the Indy Pass, Bolton Valley, was offering payment plan options and pushed back its early-bird pricing on season passes ($549 for an adult, full access) to April 27.  Suicide Six, Smugglers’ Notch and other resorts had yet to post their 2020/21 pass prices as of press time.

Opening photo: the Red Chair at Magic Mountain/courtesy photo.

Updated: April 20, 2020

Lisa Lynn

Editor of VT SKI + RIDE and Vermont Sports.

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