Vail Resorts adds Sun Valley, Snowbasin to the Epic Pass for 2019-20 ski season
The latest round in the battle of the season ski passes has gone to Vail Resorts with the company announcing a multi-year alliance this week that will add two big-name resorts to the Epic Pass next season.
The additions are Sun Valley Resort in Idaho and Snowbasin Resort in Huntsville, Utah. They’re two new shiny jewels in Vail Resorts’ crown after the company added Crested Butte and Telluride in Colorado, Okemo in Vermont and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire to the Epic Pass for the 2018-19 ski season.
Billed as one of the top family-friendly ski areas in the country, Snowbasin Resort is one of America’s oldest and has nearly 3,000 skiable acres, an average snowfall of 300 inches and over 3,000 vertical feet for skiers and snowboarders to cover. It also served as one of the venues for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Meanwhile, Sun Valley Resort needs no introduction. The resort famous for bluebird days and the world’s first chairlift has a reputation of its own. Sun Valley has been rated the top ski resort in Idaho and is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country.
“Sun Valley is a four-season renowned mountain resort and provides visitors from around the world with diverse mountain experiences and world-class dining and shopping,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts, in a prepared statement.
“Together with nearby Park City Mountain Resort, Snowbasin has an incredibly rich winter sports history and this expanded access provides two great options for Epic Pass holders in Utah,” she continued.
With the alliance, Epic Pass holders will get up to seven days of skiing at both resorts with no restrictions beginning with the 2019-20 ski season.
Also, those who have the Epic Local Pass will get two days at each resort with some restrictions, while the seven-day and four-day Epic Pass holders can use any or all of their days at either resort with no black out dates.
Vail Resorts’ growing lineup of ski areas comes as Alterra Mountain Company, headquartered in Denver, is trying to compete with the Epic Pass by offering its own season pass, the Ikon Pass, which also includes a long list of ski areas.
The Ikon Pass currently covers Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Steamboat Springs, Eldora and Winter Park, and that’s just in Colorado. The Ikon also has Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming and Big Sky Resort in Montana, along with a host of other ski areas across the continent.
Responding to a question about how the two passes stack up, a Vail Resorts spokeswoman would only say that the Epic Pass “offers access to more premier resorts across eight countries than any other pass in the world,” with resorts in Summit County and Colorado, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge Ski Resort.
Officials at Alterra didn’t responded to requests for comment about how their pass stacks up against the Epic Pass after Vail Resorts added Sun Valley and Snowbasin, but representatives at the two resorts said they are expecting the alliance with Vail Resorts to be a boon for them and their guests.
“Sun Valley is one of the premier ski destinations in the country, and we welcome Epic Pass holders to our resort,” said Tim Silva, the resort’s vice president and general manager. “This will offer a significant benefit to Epic Pass holders, Sun Valley and Snowbasin season pass holders, and our resort communities.”
And the effects of the new alliance could extend farther than that, according to Breckenridge tourism officials, who’ve been seeking destination travelers over the day-trippers coming in from Denver and the Front Range.
While Sun Valley and Snowbasin are far removed from Colorado, Vail Resorts has the two Summit County resorts in Summit County with Breckenridge and Keystone, along with an agreement that allows Epic Pass holders to take on the slopes at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, as well.
“The Epic Pass has been a great avenue to expose Breckenridge to destination visitors who may not have otherwise considered Breckenridge for a vacation,” said Lucy Kay, president and CEO of the Breckenridge Tourism Office. “We would expect that benefit to continue as additional high-profile destination resorts become part of the portfolio.”
Vail Resorts’ 2019-20 season pass products will go on sale in March.
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