With so many different skiing and snowboarding season passes being offered these days by the resorts, it still caught me off guard that so many major players came together to offer the The Mountain Collective. If you are looking for a variety of the best areas to choose from, this is your pass.
Unequivocally, the reigning champ is the Vail Resorts Epic Pass. For $659 a pass-holder has the full complement of the Vail Resorts family – Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar, Keystone and additionally Arapahoe Basin (which is not technically a Vail Resort).
What is The Mountain Collective? Let’s get to it! You want some of the best powder skiing at any resort year after year, you have Alta included in this pass (sorry snowboarders are still not allowed). How about some bad boy steeps and cliff drops, this pass has those as well and your choices of both Squaw Valley and Jackson Hole both fill that spot with aplomb. Looking for a real ski town, heritage and possibly star-gazing, then Aspen and Snowmass is yours to ski and ride. And Snowmass has one of the longest vertical drops in America. A little under the radar, but great in its own humble regard is Alpine Meadows. Sitting just over the ridge from the KT-22 chairlift at Squaw Valley and getting as much snow as Squaw, it has the best open gate policy in Lake Tahoe.
When I first told a friend about The Mountain Collective, he pointed out to me that members would only get two free ski lift tickets for Aspen and Snowmass and not four. The same would be true for Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. So in total, a skier would get 8 free lift tickets between Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows and not 12 as I had originally thought. So immediately my enthusiasm was tempered.
However, after a little thought and as the amount of free lift tickets sunk in and I also re-read the offer something else then jumped out at me. The user is entitled to 50% off each additional lift ticket, after the free ones at each resort has been used. This got me thinking that, in fact, this maybe a good deal for some.
It may not be the best deal for locals who live and breathe the fresh mountain air and frequently get out on the mountain. But it actually may be good for those who ski and snowboard multiple ski resorts in a year and maybe looking to road trip and hit up some great resorts and towns. Or also those who are not locals, but still get out on the mountain a good amount of time. Even someone wanting to hedge a little and not commit so much money up front and protect themselves for say, maybe a low snow year, or something like that, may in fact find The Mountain Collective a reasonable choice.
If you fall into this scenario, you would drop your $349 bucks, get your 2 free tickets to the resort you are going to frequent the most and then pay half price thereafter. Then have 6 more passes plus the 50% off at the other remaining resorts.
The prices in the chart below show the average cost per ski lift ticket for 5, 10, 15, 20 and 30 days versus the Vail Resorts Epic Pass versus paying for the ski resorts regular season pass prices.
Which pass would you buy?