If you’re looking for the best value for money pass or planning more than one ski holiday this year, a multi-resort ski pass is your ticket to huge savings and fantastic resort choices. There’s a wide range of tickets to choose from for Winter 2013/2014, including the Epic Season Pass which not only covers some of the most popular resorts of North America and Switzerland, but continues to impress with new additions topping the already extensive list.
Canyons Resort in Utah is the latest addition to become Epic, very exciting news for skiers who want to try out one of the four largest ski areas in the US. The good news is the Epic Season Pass is just one example of the many multi-resort ski passes out there offering great value.
Resorts of the Canadian Rockies
There’s something very exciting happening next winter in British Columbia: Resorts of the Canadian Rockies: that’s Fernie; Kimberley; Kicking Horse and Nakiska; have joined forces and now one lift ticket covers all four resorts. This opens the door for some really interesting twin centre stays. I recommend hiring a car and staying a few nights in Fernie, where you’ll find high alpine bowls above some fun trees (and there’s good cat skiing to be had too). Then you can ski a day at Kimberley amidst the bumps and trees of Easter bowl; then onto Kicking Horse for a few days of serious big mountain skiing. And if you have any energy left, you could fit in some turns at Nakiska on the way back to Calgary! Great fun.
Also accessible from Calgary you’ll find the Banff and Lake Louise area where the resorts are all within an hour of each other – so you can base yourself in one place or split your stay. The Tri-Area ticket covers Mount Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise as well as bus travel between the resorts. This is one of the ‘bucket list’ places for all skiers and boarders: the combination of amazing scenery, an impressive posse of wildlife and excellent skiing and riding for all abilities makes it a great place to explore. The three ski areas have very different characters: Norquay is the locals’ mountain often overlooked by visitors, but on a powder day it’s a gem; Sunshine has wide open alpine style bowls and acres of space. It also has extreme terrain with names such as Goat’s Eye Mountain, the Wild West and Delirium Dive – spectacularly steep and a big hit with adrenalin junkies. Lake Louise is home to one of the first world cup ski meets of the season because it has an excellent snow record and lots of big mountain terrain – and views that are hard to tear yourself away from.
There are opportunities everywhere to ski plenty of resorts in Lake Tahoe – where there are 7 ski areas within a couple of hours drive – ski them all or choose one or two – there’s lots of multi-resort ski passes to choose from. Try the Squaw Valley Gold Season ticket which covers Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows, and also allows skiing at Sierra at Tahoe – on the South shore of the Lake (as well as 2 days at Whistler). Then there’s the Lake Tahoe Interchangeable ticket which is valid for different durations at Squaw Valley, Heavenly, Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood, Northstar, Mt. Rose and Sierra-at-Tahoe! And not forgetting the Epic Pass, which includes Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar. These resorts all have a different character, and it’s lovely to see all the different views of Lake Tahoe. Rent a car to make the most of these tickets as transport between the resorts is limited.
Utah’s another destination that works well if you want to ski at several resorts. You can base yourself in Park City and get a 3 Resort International Pass: this allows you to ski at Deer Valley, Park City and Canyons. You might expect these three resorts to be quite similar given their geographic closeness, but they are very different. Access is easy as there is a free shuttle between the resorts. It’s also possible to get a Ski Salt Lake Super Pass (covering nearby Snowbird, Alta, Solitude and Brighton), to work around the Three Resort Pass. Check out my Utah blog from last season for more information!
It’s not just North America either. In France the Paradiski Unlimited pass gives access to both La Plagne and Les Arcs, creating a vast area with some diverse terrain. The resort closest to the Vanoise Express Cable Car is Peisey-Vallandry – worth bearing in mind if you want to ski both sides of the valley extensively.
Don’t forget the interlinked resorts in the Alps as well. The Portes du Soleil encompasses about 10 linked resorts in France and Switzerland with 650 km of slopes. Of course there’s the Three Valleys too, with its varied terrain and no need for any buses or hassle (just watch those last lift links on the way home – those taxi drivers are like sharks!!). Switzerland has some big areas too: Klosters and Davos have 300km of skiing; Zermatt and Cervinia share 360km; and Verbier and the immense 4 Valleys resorts cover 400km of skiing! Verbier is also one of the European resorts which is featured on the Epic Pass.
In 2008 the Epic Season Pass was launched. At that time it included unlimited skiing in Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and the Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, as well as Heavenly in California. On sale for a limited time, and with big discounts for early booking, it’s a concept that has gone from strength to strength. Now the ticket includes Northstar and Kirkwood in California and Canyons in Utah as well. If that wasn’t attractive enough, now you can ski 5 days per season in Verbier, as well as 5 consecutive days in the Arlberg region of Austria: Lech-Zűrs; St Anton; St Christophe and Stűben making it all the more relevant to skiers from the UK who may find it more affordable to take a second ski trip to Europe as well as one to North America when they are saving so much on a lift ticket (the 5 day lift ticket in Verbier would normally cost around £200 on its own)! For a season ticket that covers all of these North American resorts, plus the add ons in Europe, you’d expect a pretty hefty price, but it’s on sale now for £425 per person – to put that into context it’s less than the cost of a 6 day ticket at Christmas in Vail! So even for those just planning one trip, it’s still a great deal! And there are other options – such as the Summit Value Pass and Epic Local Pass.
Additional Epic Features
It gets better – the Epic Pass is more than just a lift ticket, it also gives access to Epic Mix features. The card has a chip which is scanned electronically when you’re in one of the Epic Pass resorts, allowing you to keep track of your number of runs; hours on the mountain; restaurants visited, etc. and of course they have photographers all over the mountains too. Strike a pose, get snapped and post the photos straight onto your Facebook or Twitter page. Because everyone likes to make the folks back home jealous, right?
So there you go. There’s never been a better time to get out there and try some new resorts. And with early booking offers on accommodation and flights, it’s a great time to plan your next trip.
To find out more about these fantastic multi-resort ski passes or to book online, visit our Ski Extras page or give us a call on 0131 243 8097 to speak to one of our knowledgeable team members.