Spring skiing starts early with Ikon — Plus, how to get unlimited ski access at top resorts through 2022

Apr 2, 2021

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This year’s ski season is winding down, but it’s not over yet.

And right now is precisely the time of year when you should outline your ski plans for next year. Not only is it much easier to book the best slope-side hotels on points when you plan early, but ski passes are cheaper the earlier you buy, too. On top of that, the Ikon Pass just announced that spring skiing starts early at some places, so your next-season pass can get you on the mountain now, too.

The four major players in the ski pass world — Epic vs. Ikon vs. Mountain Collective vs. Indy Pass — have released 2021–2022 pricing. Ikon Passes have been on sale since mid-March and now you can use next season’s pass purchase to head to mountains such as Mammoth, Big Bear, Squaw Valley, Winter Park, Sugarbush, Tremblant and more as early as tomorrow — April 3.

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Steamboat (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The Ikon Pass network is made up of 44 ski resorts, some of which provide unlimited skiing and some that have a capped number of days based on your pass level. Eligible resorts can also vary by pass level. These resorts include both bigger and smaller names such as Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Copper Mountain, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, Deer Valley, Jackson Hole, Tremblant, Taos, Big Sky, Sugarloaf, Stratton and more in the U.S., Canada and beyond.

You can find the full list of resorts here.

Similar to last year, Ikon is offering three pass levels: a less expensive Base Pass with some restrictions, the full Ikon Pass and a four-day “session” pass.

Related: Kids ski free — save on your family’s next ski vacation

2021–2022 Ikon ski pass prices

For the 2021–2022 ski season, the initial Ikon Base Pass prices are:

  • $729 for adults ($649 renewal price before May 5)
  • $559 for those 13–22 years old ($499 renewal price before May 5)
  • $549 for college students/nurses/military
  • $279 for kids 5–12 ($179 with purchase of an adult pass, up to two discount child passes per adult pass through May 5)
  • $99 for those 4 and under (though many mountains offer free skiing to 4-year-olds)

The Base Pass has a few peak blackout dates, unlimited skiing at 13 destinations and up to five days at 28 additional mountains. You can also add on five-day access to Jackson Hole and Aspen Snowmass for an additional $150. (Blackout dates include Dec. 26, 2021–Jan. 2, 2022, Jan. 15–16, 2022 and Feb. 19–20, 2022; Thredbo blackout dates include June 26-July 11, 2021 and July 2–July 17, 2022.)

Skiing at Snowmass (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Skiing at Snowmass (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

For the 2021–2022 ski season, the full Ikon Pass prices are:

  • $999 for adults ($899 renewal price before May 5)
  • $739 for those 13–22 years old ($659 renewal price before May 5)
  • $719 for college students/nurses/military
  • $319 for kids 5–12 ($219 with purchase of an adult pass, up to two discount child passes through May 5)
  • $249 for those 4 and under (though many mountains offer free skiing to 4-year-olds)

This pass has no blackout dates, unlimited skiing at 15 destinations and up to seven days at 28 additional mountains.

Related: Best ski schools for kids

For the 2021–2022 ski season, the Ikon Session Pass 4-Day pricing is:

  • $399 for adults
  • $339 for those 13–22 years old
  • $339 for college students/nurses/military
  • $249 for kids 0–12 (though many mountains offer free skiing to younger kids and the season pass is actually less expensive with the purchase of an adult pass).

This pass gives you four days of skiing at 37 destinations, although blackout dates apply at most resorts. For an adult, this means $100 per day, which may or may not be a good deal depending on where you are looking to ski. For example, at Steamboat, a one-day walk-up lift ticket could cost as much as $219 and a four-day consecutive ticket is between $516 to $876, depending on the time of the year. This makes the four-day pass potentially worth it. Although, if you are an East Coast skier, you might not find it to be as good of a deal.

Related: Hotels near Ikon ski pass resorts you can book with points

The current ski prices are valid through May 5 and will then go up in price, likely multiple times until we reach the start of the next ski season. If you want to ski at the best possible price, lock in your pass before the first round of price increases this spring.

(Photo courtesy of darekm101/Getty Images)

Use a payment plan

Ski passes are a big investment, so I’m thrilled to see a payment plan option for the Ikon Pass if you want to lock in today’s price and spread out payments.

By purchasing the pass by May 5, you’ll put $0 down and then have the option to split the payment over 3, 6 or 12 months — with as low as 0% APR. During the checkout process, you’ll be able to see your options and the cost depending on the plan selected.

Here are the best credit cards to use for ski pass purchases. Ski tickets don’t always code under one particular bonus category, so a card that awards bonus points on everyday purchases can be your best bet. Note: The payment plan is not available for those outside of the United States or in West Virginia or Iowa.

Related: Best credit card to use for ski trips

New this year

Not much has changed this year with the Ikon pass, which is a good thing since it’s such a solid option year after year. There are pretty much the same pass options, friends and family discounted tickets and the exact same resorts included. But, there is always the chance more resorts are added throughout the year, as we saw last year with RED Mountain, Mt. Bachelor and Windham Mountain.

The only major change is that access to Crystal Mountain on the Ikon Base Pass is no longer unlimited. Instead, you’ll be capped at 5 days next season. If Crystal Mountain is your home mountain, you might re-think your pass options, but for everyone else, you won’t see a big difference.

Assurance plan

Since we are still fully in the middle of a pandemic, making an expensive purchase and not knowing what next season will look like can be a scary thought.

Fortunately, Ikon is offering an “Adventure Assurance” plan. This is the same plan that was introduced last year and is automatically included in the price of your lift ticket. This allows any pass holder to defer their pass to the following 2022/2023 ski season for any reason, no questions asked. You’ll have until Dec. 9, 2021, to select this option, which should be more than enough time to figure out what the ski season will look like.

Ski spring 2021 with next year’s Ikon Pass

Despite the pandemic, this has been a good snow year for many resorts (some more than others), and some will likely be open into May. If you buy next year’s Ikon Pass this spring, you can start using it for spring skiing at select resorts now.

Use the 2021–2022 Ikon Pass beginning March 12:

  • Big Bear Mountain Resort
  • Snowshoe Mountain

Use the 2021–2022 Ikon Pass beginning April 3:

  • Tremblant
  • Solitude
  • Sugarbush
  • Mammoth Mountain
  • Squaw Valley
  • Winter Park
Skiing at Mammoth (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Book points-friendly properties at Ikon resorts

As long as you’re mapping out your 2021–2022 ski passes and resorts, you might as well factor in hotels. For me, Marriott properties seem to align most frequently with the Ikon Pass, while Hyatt properties often align well with Epic, though there are exceptions. A few points-friendly properties to consider if you pick up the Ikon Pass include:

Related: 13 of our favorite ski-friendly resort hotels you can book on points

Ski into the St. Regis Deer Valley and then go for a swim (Photo courtesy of Summer Hull/ The Points Guy)
Ski into the St. Regis Deer Valley and then go for a swim. (Photo courtesy of Summer Hull/ The Points Guy)

Bottom line

I’m an advance planner, so I think it’s great we have next year’s Ikon Pass prices and details now. The payment plan, pass assurance and ability to purchase up to two discounted child passes with an adult pass are great aspects of the program. And, of course, if you are itching to get one more run under your skis this season, then buying now to get access to spring skiing could be a great incentive.

Here are some additional head-to-head comparisons between the major annual ski passes.

Additional reporting by Jennnifer Yellin

Featured image courtesy of the Ikon Pass

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