Deals

New Independent Ski Pass Aims To Stem Loss of Skiers Due To High Costs

A new season pass has gone on sale in North America that aims to make skiing much more affordable.

The new, multi-resort ski pass, called the Indy Pass, will provide two day lift tickets for each area, a total of 68 days – at 34 independently owned resorts for $199.

The 34 resorts include 14 in Western North America including areas in Alberta and BC, Canada as well as seven US states from California to Alaska; eight in the Midwest and the remainder spread across eight states in the East.

“Independent resorts are the heart and soul of North American skiing and anything that provides more access and exposure to these hidden gems is something we’ll support,” said Ken Rider, GM at Brundage Mountain Resort, Idaho.

The past decade has seen large corporate groups of ski resorts take an ever bigger market share, with many announcing each year that their profits have increased by more than the number of skiers and inflation, giving the impression that individual skiers are paying more each year and that more and more low to middle income skiers are being priced out.

In addition, according to the US National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) 8.5 million people have given up skiing or riding in the US over the past 10 years. That’s more than twice the number of “core” participants in the 2018-2019 season. The number one reason cited for leaving the sport was the high cost.

NSAA research also found that daily lift ticket prices have been steadily increasing for an average weekend price of $131. The team behind the Indy Pass say it will offer relief from these high prices for occasional skiers and help stem the tide of lapsing participation.

The Indy Pass is a response by independent ski areas to the consolidation of many high-profile resorts that sell multi-mountain ski passes and command vast marketing resources. This has left independent and family-owned areas at a big disadvantage. Indy Pass resorts will be part of a marketing co-op dedicated to promoting the benefits of small-to-mid-sized areas.

“Largely ignored by the mega resorts, up and coming skiers now have a pass with almost no barrier to entry,” said Geoff Hatheway, President of Magic Mountain in Vermont. “The Indy Pass is priced right for anyone to try; it has a wonderful variety of interesting ski areas to explore; and showcases the community aspect of skiing which can create deeper bonds with customers and more ski days in the future.”

“Indy Pass resorts provide an uncrowded and welcoming experience for individuals and families seeking great snow and varied terrain. In addition, vacation getaways at these quaint ski areas cost a small fraction of what major resorts charge for comparable stays,” a statement from the group concludes.

Indy Pass Participating Ski Areas 2019-20:

WESTERN REGION – 14

ALASKA – Eaglecrest Ski Area (pictured top)

ALBERTA – Castle Mountain Resort

BRITISH COLUMBIA – Apex Mountain Resort (pictured above)

CALIFORNIA – Mt. Shasta Ski Park

IDAHO – Brundage Mountain, Silver Mountain

OREGON – Hoodoo

MONTANA – Lost Trail Powder Mountain, Red Lodge Mountain

UTAH – Beaver Mountain

WASHINGTON – 49 Degrees North, Hurricane Ridge, Mission Ridge, White Pass

MIDWEST REGION – 8

MICHIGAN – Big Powderhorn Resort, Pine Mountain Resort

MINNESOTA – Giants Ridge, Spirit Mountain

WISCONSIN – Little Switzerland, Nordic Mountain, Trollhaugen, Tyrol Basin

EASTERN REGION – 12

MASSACHUSETTS – Berkshire East Mountain Resort, Catamount Mountain Resort*

NEW HAMPSHIRE – Pats Peak

NEW YORK – Catamount Mountain Resort*, Greek Peak Mountain Resort

NORTH CAROLINA – Cataloochee Ski Area

PENNSYLVANIA – Blue Knob Resort

VERMONT – Bolton Valley Resort, Magic Mountain, Suicide Six

VIRGINIA – Bryce Resort, Massanutten Resort

WEST VIRGINIA – Canaan Valley Ski Resort

*Catamount straddles NY/MA border

28 of 34 participating resorts offer UNRESTRICTED, season-long access. Four have holiday blackouts and two allow midweek-only access.