Skiers at three big-name Western resorts were able to get free or discounted lift tickets at Alta this season through a partnership known as The Mountain Collective.
But Alta’s prohibition on snowboarding limited Utah’s appeal Utah for ’boarders from the other five resorts in the Collective — Jackson Hole in Wyoming, Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows in California.
A solution was announced Tuesday. Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort will join the collective next season, packaged with its Little Cottonwood Canyon neighbor as AltaSnowbird. So ’boarders who want to take advantage of the Collective pass to experience Utah powder can go to Snowbird, while skiers can head to either Alta or Snowbird.
In addition, The Mountain Collective also expanded its ranks to include Whistler Blackcomb resort in British Columbia and Mammoth Mountain in California. That gives Snowbird and Alta passholders purchasing the $349 Collective pass the right to two free lift tickets, and 50 percent discounts for extra days, at each of the seven resorts.
“The Mountain Collective includes some of the best mountains in North America, and we felt it was a great alignment with Snowbird and our clientele,” said Dave Fields, Snowbird’s vice president of operations. “We also loved the fact … our unlimited season passholders will now receive half-price lift tickets at the other Mountain Collective resorts.”
Alta spokeswoman Connie Marshall characterized the addition of Snowbird as “a fabulous change that addressed a situation with snowboarders who buy the pass. It opens the opportunity for them to enjoy the value that Utah offers.”
Fields said it is becoming more common in the industry for independently owned resorts, such as all of those in The Mountain Collective, to cooperate on special passes.
It was natural for Alta and Snowbird to team up on this, Marshall added, noting the neighbors have had a combined day pass for 11 seasons, ever since the run-up to the 2002 Winter Olympics.
“It’s been a really fruitful relationship,” she said. “Each of us has retained our independent status and our character.”
The $349 Collective pass fee for the 2013-14 season is the same price as this winter, said Christian Knapp, vice president of marketing for Aspen Skiing Co., which came up with the concept last spring. Passes for children 12 and under cost $229.
Buying a pass also provides access to lodging deals, although those must be worked out separately. In Utah, Marshall said, “buyers can stay at whichever base facility suits their needs. If they’re snowboarders, they’ll probably want to stay at Snowbird. Skiers could come to Alta.”
The Mountain Collective
O To order the $349 pass, which provides discounts and access to 186 lifts and 30,000 acres of terrain at nine iconic Western ski resorts, go to www.TheMountainCollective.com.
Alta is offering $15 day-lift passes to Utah elementary and secondary students during two “spring break” periods — March 25-28 and April 1-4. A student identification card or current report card is required.