Vail Resorts has opened the floodgates with the hope skiers and snowboarders who skipped last season with concerns about the coronavirus will come pouring back in 2021-22.
The company that owns the largest collection of ski resorts in North America on Wednesday announced a 20% price reduction for all its Epic Pass products. Depending on the version, the Epic Pass provides access to all 34 of Vail’s North American resorts, plus three in Australia and limited days at numerous partner resorts.
The full adult pass will cost $783 for the season, down from $979. A local pass, which in Utah includes Park City Mountain Resort with holiday blackouts and, with limitations, Snowbasin, now costs $583. The prices are the lowest for the Epic Pass (launched in 2008) since the 2015-16 season. At that time, the pass was good at 11 resorts in the United States, compared to more than 70 worldwide today.
“The new prices announced today not only provide value to existing skiers and riders,” Vail Resorts Chairman and CEO Rob Katz said in a statement, “but we also believe they will contribute to the growth and vitality of our sport as we bring new people and higher engagement into the industry, which we think is imperative.”
The price drop comes days after Vail Resorts declared it would be doing away with reservations next winter. The company last fall began requiring passholders to go online and reserve days on the mountain as a way to limit overcrowding and reduce the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, it announced it would be quadrupling the workforce in its call centers, where wait times have been a common customer complaint this season.
“While we do not know exactly how COVID-19 will impact our industry next winter, we are not planning to have a reservation system next season,” Katz wrote in a letter emailed to passholders Friday. “For anyone worried that the absence of a reservation system will lead to longer lift lines, we have extensive learnings from this season around lift loading efficiencies and are implementing new strategies to materially reduce wait times.”
Vail Resorts had planned to make the pass announcement Tuesday, but held it a day out of consideration for those affected by Monday’s mass shooting in Boulder, Colo., just a few miles from its headquarters.
With the 2020-21 season winding down — most Utah resorts will halt operations by mid-April — expect to see more season-pass deals cropping up.
Alterra Mountain Company on March 11 announced its best pricing for its multi-resort Ikon pass. The pass encompasses full access to 15 North American resorts, including Solitude, and limited days at Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Deer Valley and 28 others. It is currently priced at $999 for an adult.
The Power Pass Select offers unlimited access to Brian Head Resort and Nordic Valley as well varying days at six other resorts in the Southwest. It went on sale Wednesday for $599 per adult.
Individual resorts, whether or not they are included in a multi-resort pass, have begun hawking their own season tickets as well. Solitude has a family pass for $1,999 for two adults and two juniors. Snowbasin’s pass costs $899 for an adult with no restrictions. Anyone purchasing a season pass at either of those resorts can ski or ride free the rest of this spring. Passes at other Utah resorts range from $2,550 for unrestricted adult access to Deer Valley to $199 for the same at Cherry Peak. Powder Mountain ($1,365/adult), Eagle Point ($499), Beaver Mountain ($375) and Woodward Park City ($139 per month) have also begun sales for next season.