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Vail Resorts raises prices for new Epic Passes but keeps them lower than pre-pandemic

March 22, 2022
10 min read
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Although you might be packing up your skis for the season, it's never too early to start thinking about your ski plans for next winter. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned pro, the best way to pay for your lift tickets these days is usually with a ski pass instead of with individual mountain lift tickets. This is true even if you're only planning a single trip -- or perhaps skiing for as little as one ski day.

Whether it's for one day or weeks on the snow, those who enjoy Vail Resorts and its partner mountains are going to probably want an Epic Pass.

Epic Pass pricing and details for next year's 2022 -2023 season were just announced.

Purchasing the pass shortly after it goes on sale gets you the best perks and prices. Although there's no set date on when the next tier of pricing will kick in, purchasing eligible passes by April 21 will get you 10 buddy passes. If you don't need those passes, most likely you'll have more time to think through your ski season strategy at early-bird pricing.

Compared to last year, options stayed relatively the same, with approximately a $50 increase on most passes.

The main change is a third-tier option for the one- to seven-day passes to save you even more money at some of the smaller Vail resorts. Additionally, Snowbasin and Sun Valley will also no longer be on the Epic Pass. You can instead ski them with an Ikon or Mountain Collective pass, though. This is a good time to mention that not everyone had a great experience with Epic this year. There were complaints of overcrowded mountains, long lift lines and strained infrastructure at some resorts.

However, my family is a current Epic Pass holding family with 19 ski days thus far under our belts at Vail Resorts this season. It brought our per-day cost down to $31 for my husband and me, $16 for my daughter and my son was free.

The season isn't over for us yet... but for now let's take a look forward to next year.

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Spring skiing at Stowe (Photo by Jennifer Yellin)

Early-bird Epic Pass pricing

For next season, Epic Local Pass is currently available for $626 (up from a starting price of $583 last season, although still less than two seasons ago).

The full Epic Pass is priced at $841 (up from a starting price of $841 last season and still less expensive than two seasons ago). That pass unlocks unlimited skiing at Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Crested Butte, Stowe, Keystone, Park City and many other Vail-owned and partner resorts.

Keep in mind that while one pass carries a “local” name, that doesn’t mean it's limited to purchase by those who live near the mountain. Anyone can benefit from a whole lot of skiing throughout the season from just $626. Local mainly means it has some peak date restrictions.

There are also many mountain-specific or regional pass options, such as the Northeast Value pass. For just $514, you can ski all of the Northeast mountains (21 in total) throughout the season, which includes popular mountains such as Okemo, Mt. Snow, Hunter, Sunapee, Stowe and more. While there are a few holiday black-out dates for select mountains and only 10 access days to Stowe, this can provide you with great access if you know you're sticking to that region.

Additionally, there are significant discounts for students, military personnel (active, retired and dependents), seniors and those with permanent disabilities.

However, if you're only looking at one or two trips to the mountain, you can instead opt for the Epic Day Passes, which gives you a set number of ski days, based on the number purchased. For those who plan ahead, this can be a great option, especially with pricing as low as $38 per day.

Related: How to plan a ski trip using points and miles

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

An Epic Pass will save you money — even on a short trip

You may have never considered getting an Epic Pass if you only ski or ride a day or two each season, but as mentioned, things have changed in recent years.

For the fourth year in a row, the Epic Day Pass will be available, but now with three different tier levels.

The passes start at just $44 for a one-day ticket for a limited number of ski resorts (those in the Midwest, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania), $72 per day for a majority of the ski resorts or $93 per day for the entire range of Vail-owned and partner resorts.

The more days you purchase, though, the less expensive per day. In fact, you can ultimately ski for as little as $38 to $80 per day, depending on the mountain(s) selected. Of course, if you're looking to ski during peak holiday dates (there's only 11 of them), the price goes up slightly.

This can be an amazing savings considering single-day passes can start north of $200 per day at resorts such as Vail and Beaver Creek.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Related: Best credit cards for ski pass purchases

Epic Passes provide exclusive discounts

On top of all that, travelers with the Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic Day Pass and more can enjoy discounts through the Epic Mountain Rewards program that was introduced in 2020. This simple but rewarding program provides the following discounts at Vail Resorts’ 37 North American owned and operated resorts:

  • 20% off food and nonalcoholic beverages (up to $150 per day)
  • 20% off group ski and ride lessons
  • 20% off lodging owned and operated by Vail Resorts
  • 20% off the Epic Mountain Express private or shared shuttles from Denver International Airport (DEN) and Eagle County-Vail Regional Airport (EGE)
  • 20% off gear rentals
  • 20% off select on-mountain activities
  • One free wax and one 50% off tune per season at select U.S. locations

Additionally, all 2022–2023 Epic Pass products automatically come with included Epic Coverage, which provides refunds for personal events like job loss, injury or illness, as well as for certain resort closures, including those due to COVID-19.

Related: How to plan a ski trip using points and miles

You’ll be able to ski and ride at world-class resorts

If your winter plans next season include bundling up to enjoy the great outdoors, the amount of skiing and riding you’ll enjoy with the Epic Pass, or even the Epic Local or Day Passes, makes sense. While the Epic Pass is the juggernaut, the less expensive Epic Local Pass is the best value for travelers who don’t plan to ski over holidays or during peak periods.

This coming season, the holiday dates that impact the local pass are Nov. 25–26, 2022, Dec. 26–31, 2022, Jan. 14, 2023, and Feb. 18–19, 2023.

(Photo by miralex/Getty Images)

Epic Pass

If you’re craving access to all of Vail’s resorts, with additional access to partner resorts, and you don’t want to deal with previously mentioned holiday restrictions, you’ll be best served by the full Epic Pass.

Passes for the 2022–2023 season are currently priced at $841 for adults (ages 13 and up) and $428 for children (ages 5 to 12). Kids ages 4 and under can ski for free. There are no full Epic Passes priced specifically for teens.

This Epic Pass gets you access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Whistler Blackcomb, Breckenridge, Park City, Keystone, Crested Butte, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Stevens Pass, Stowe, Okemo, Mount Snow, Mount Sunapee, Attitash, Wildcat, Crotched, Hunter, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Jack Frost, Big Boulder, Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine, Mad River Mountain, Hidden Valley, Snow Creek, Paoli Peaks, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, Lauren Mountain, Perisher Australia, Falls Creek Australia and Hotham Australia.

At partner resorts, the full Epic Pass gets you access to seven days at Telluride, seven days at Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, unlimited access to 26 European resorts and five days in Japan.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Epic Local Pass

For the 2022 to 2023 season, the Epic Local Pass provides unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Stevens Pass, Okemo, Mount Sunapee, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt Brighton, Mount Snow, Hunter, Attitash, Wildcat, Crotched, Liberty, Roundtop, Whitetail, Jack Frost, Big Boulder, Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine, Mad River Mountain, Hidden Valley, Snow Creek, Paoli Peaks, Seven Springs, Hidden Valley and Laurel Mountain.

You’ll also get access (with holiday restrictions) to Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and Stowe.

The Epic Local Pass also includes 10 total combined days (with previously mentioned holiday restrictions) at Vail, Beaver Creek and Whistler Blackcomb. Additionally, if skiing in Japan is in your plans, you'll receive five total days at Hakuba Valley and Rusutu Resort.

In short, if you can work around a few restrictions, the current Epic Local Pass pricing is actually a heck of a deal for $626 for adults, $325 for children ages 5-12 and $506 for teens from 13-18. To compare, a seven-day, unrestricted Epic Day Pass is currently $657 for adults, so you can get a lot more skiing for less with the Epic Local Pass if the restrictions work for you.

Hot tip: If you're looking to purchase the Northeast Value Pass or Ohio Pass and you have a 5- or 6-year-old, you can purchase a "Tot" Pass. This pass is significantly less expensive at just $41, but you'll need to call Vail or a local resort to make the purchase.

Related: 7 mistakes to avoid when planning a ski trip

Bottom line

The most cost-effective way to ski at major mountains has, for years, been with a pass. Even with that, though, skiing has been a sport that has been out of budget for many.

However, with a pass of some sort, you may be able to bring the sport back into your budget. Additionally, if you grab your passes before April 21, you can take advantage of the least expensive pricing of the season with fixed-price buddy passes added on. With pricing less than $100 per day, you can get in some solid world-class skiing -- and pay less than you would for a one-day ticket to Disney World or Universal Studios.

On top of those more accessible prices to get you on the lift, you can also use your hotel points to stay near (or even on) the mountain to keep your out-of-pocket ski prices as low as possible.

Skiing in Keystone (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Ski passes generally only get more expensive as we get closer to next season, and the Epic Pass is no exception. If you're dreaming of snow-covered peaks and hot chocolate break, make sure you purchase your pass while prices are the lowest they'll be this year.

Featured image by (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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