While others grumble over hordes of newcomers, Telluride embraces Epic Pass skiers
The Colorado Sun
TELLURIDE — Local skiers are wailing in Big Sky. Sobbing in Jackson Hole. Whining in Aspen.
The source of the angst: the “Ikoneers,” aka the new visitors using the Ikon Pass.
But while the weeping is likely misguided — the surge in visitation this season seems to be largely homegrown, with skiing locals in growing resort towns celebrating the return of winter after a dismal 2017-18 season — at least one town is howling with glee over its inclusion in the Epic Pass.
“We are pleased; very pleased with our membership in the Epic Pass,” said Telluride ski area co-owner and chief executive Bill Jensen, the industry veteran who served with both Vail Resorts and Intrawest before taking the reins at the southern Colorado destination ski hill in 2015.
Jensen enrolled Telluride in the Mountain Collective Pass for 2017-18, which offered two days of skiing at more than a dozen ski resorts. He pivoted in 2018-19, becoming the first destination resort to partner with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, in a deal that allowed buyers of the unlimited, full Epic Pass seven days at his ski area.
It’s worked well for both the town and Telluride ski area. Skiers with the Mountain Collective pass skied two days. Skiers with the Epic Pass are skiing more than four days. And the biggest wave of Epic visitors is arriving midweek, taking over empty hotel rooms in a community that regularly fills on weekends. Jensen said he’s seeing about 350 Epic Pass scans every weekday.
“So they are coming midweek and staying in the community for four, five nights and our community lodging and restaurants are feeling that,” Jensen said. “We really believed that going with the full Epic Pass would bring a destination skier here. And we are seeing exactly that.”
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