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If weather patterns hold the same for this year as last, we are a little over a month away from the opening of some ski resorts in Colorado. Arapahoe Basin, Wolf Creek and Loveland are known for their October opening dates (and of course, some of them just shut down in July). That is hard to believe as many of us are sitting at the beach or pool soaking in the end of summer temperatures, but the calendar doesn’t lie and ‘winter is coming’ … we hope.

Winter is coming and Epic prices are increasing

Epic Ski Pass Price Increases Coming Sept. 2

In the ski world, prices generally rise as the snow gets closer. Tomorrow, on Labor Day, prices for the Epic Pass are set to increase in advance of the upcoming ski season.

I probably don’t have to tell you that skiing can be a very expensive hobby, but annual ski passes are a way to save money on a per-day basis. A one-day walk-up lift ticket at a pricey resort such as Beaver Creek or Vail will cost you a staggering $200+ for that one day of skiing — not including gear rentals or anything beyond just the lift ticket itself.

Busy Breckenridge in early January (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
Busy Breckenridge in early January (Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

But don’t cancel all of your ski dreams quite yet over the thought of $200 lift tickets, as ski passes that last the whole season can be purchased starting at around the cost of just a few days worth of walk-up lift ticket rates. The Epic ski pass program also now offers passes that include as little as one day of skiing for less than walk-up rates.

The various versions of the Epic Pass are quite popular among ski families. Summer Hull, aka Mommy Points, purchased this ski pass last year to ski for less at Whistler, Keystone and Vail. I also purchased the local version of this pass for my family for this upcoming ski season. Living outside of Boston puts many mountains in close proximity. With an already planned ski trip out west to Park City, plus the addition of the Pats Peak resorts in the Northeast, this pass will make skiing a much more reasonable expense.

The Epic Pass includes access to 76 mountain resorts not only within the US and Canada, but across the globe. I won’t list all 76 resorts included on the full Epic Pass since you can find that info on their website, but some big name examples include: Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Park City, Keystone, Stevens Pass, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stowe, Crested Butte, Telluride (7 days) and even mountains throughout the Canadian Rockies, Japan, France, Italy and Switzerland.

(Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)
See forever in Telluride (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

The current price of a full Epic Pass that gives unlimited and unrestricted access to many resorts with limited access to dozens more is $939 for adults aged 13+ and $489 for children aged 5 – 12. There are also less expensive 1 to 7-day passes, local passes and some mountain-specific options available for a smaller financial outlay. Some of these more restricted passes may be your best bet if you have to travel in to ski and won’t be able to get the full benefits of an unlimited pass, assuming you can make the date restrictions work.

Regardless of which type of Epic Pass is the right fit for you, if your 2019 – 2020 ski plans are relatively set and include Epic affiliated mountains, you may want to purchase before the Sept. 2 price increase that will make many of the passes more expensive. While it is not clear how much the prices will increase on Sept. 2, last year we saw a $50 increase after the Labor Day holiday.

Purchasing an Epic Pass

In terms of earning points, if you purchase one of the versions of the Epic Pass from Undercover Tourist, it should code as a travel charge since Undercover Tourist typically codes as a travel agency. This would enable you to earn bonus points on the travel charge via your Chase Sapphire ReserveChase Sapphire Preferred Card or Citi Premier℠ Card. Otherwise, it may likely code as an entertainment purchase.

Related: Best Credit Card to Use for Purchasing Ski Passes

Free Epic Kid Passes Available Now

If your family has a child skier in the mix, also know that Kindergarten – 5th graders can get five days of free skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Crested Butte (20 total days) with the Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack. This free pass even comes with one free gear rental and a first-timers lesson for those brand new to skiing or boarding. There are peak date restrictions with this pass, but since the price is free, that is more than fair.

Ski with your kid for free in Colorado with the Epic kid program

The catch? To enroll for a free Epic SchoolKids Pass, you must visit an Epic Mountain Gear location in person with your child. Documentation, such as a copy of child report card, student ID, birth certificate or passport is required, but no purchase is necessary to get the free ski pass. There are also no Colorado residency requirements listed, other than the requirement that you must apply for the pass in person in Colorado. Last year, this program was open for sign-ups until early October.

There are similar kid’s Epic SchoolKids programs in Utah and Washington State/Canada, though those programs have residency restrictions attached.

Bottom Line

The Epic Pass can be a huge deal for those looking to hit the mountain this winter. Just make sure to purchase the pass that works with your ski destinations, whether it is the Epic Pass, IKON or Mountain Collective.

What is your family’s approach to ski passes for the 2019 – 2020 ski season?

Read on for more ski trip planning tips:

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