With all the resorts, passes, discounts and bundles out there, it's hard to navigate the avalanche of Colorado's winter sports. But whether you're a die-hard shredder, a first-time bunny-sloper or an international adventurer, there are plenty of options for your 2019/2020 winter season. Here's a breakdown of Colorado's two top passes, the Epic and the Ikon, as well as some helpful tips if a big pass doesn't sound right for you.
Epic Pass: $989
Where You Can Play: Vail, Keystone, Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Telluride, plus 31 other U.S. resorts, six Canadian resorts, three Australian resorts, eleven Japanese resorts and 21 European resorts (limited days may apply).
Epic Local Pass: $739
Where You Can Play: Vail, Keystone, Crested Butte, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek and Telluride, plus thirty other U.S. resorts, one Canadian resort and eleven Japanese resorts (limited days and blackout dates may apply).
Who Gets Special Rates? Seniors, students, military and children.
On Sale Until: Late November, cutoff date to be announced in early November.
Best For: National and international travelers, upscale resort-town lovers, park rats, seniors looking for a discount, and travelers who really want to shred Japan.
Ikon Pass: $1,099
Ikon Base Pass: $799
Where You Can Play: Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper, Eldora, Aspen-Snowmass, Arapahoe Basin, plus 23 other U.S. resorts, five Canadian resorts and six other international resorts (limited days may apply).
Who Gets Special Rates? Students, military and children.
On Sale Until: In 2018, the pass was available until early December. A cutoff date has yet to be announced for 2019.
Best For: Coloradans who want to hit a variety of local and regional resorts, A-Basin lovers who used to buy the Epic Pass, drivers who want to avoid I-70, side-country enthusiasts who want to enjoy back bowls, and people who think the Rockies are cooler — or at least more convenient — than the Alps.
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If you plan to ski or ride your home mountain, a single-resort pass is the way to go. Ranging from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars per season, there are a variety of options for various needs.
The GEMS Card: If you want to beat the lines and enjoy Colorado's more affordable and independent resorts, GEMS gives you 2-for-1 and 30-percent-off deals at eleven local resorts. Many of the resorts included in the GEMS group also offer family season-pass deals.
If you want to hit the hill but worry that you won't make the most of a season pass — think five or more days — most mountains offer a three-day or four-day pack, and some even offer special deals like spring passes, partial-day passes and more.
If none of these options are affordable but you're determined to hit the hill, you can work, teach or volunteer at many resorts in exchange for a pass.