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For the 2019-2020, Snowbasin entered into an agreement with Vail Resorts giving holders of the Epic Pass seven days at Snowbasin. The “V” word elicits mixed reactions from from skiers and snowboarders. For some, it’s akin to saying “there goes the neighborhood.” For those already indoctrinated into the multi-resort Epic Pass, each new partnership or acquisition by V.R. provides an opportunity to ski somewhere new.
Snowbasin’s situation is somewhat unique. Vail did not buy Snowbasin, and the owners of the resort have said publicly that they don’t intend to sell Snowbasin or Sun Valley, which they also own. Rather than the unlimited access Epic Pass holders enjoy at the 37 resorts Vail owns (including Park City Mountain Resort), access to partner resorts restricted. At Snowbasin and Sun Valley, the agreement is for seven days at each resort.
The ski pass landscape can be confusing even for the most seasoned ski travellers, so here’s a quick look at what this new relationship means for Snowbasin skiers.
The Epic Pass is Vail Resort’s multi-resort pass. It is one of three major multi-resort pass products available in the U.S., along with the Ikon Pass and the Mountain Collective. There are different levels of the Epic pass. The premiere pass offers unlimited skiing at all VR owned resorts (37 in all, including Park City, Whistler, and Vail), and varying numbers of days at partner resorts, including Snowbasin, Telluride, Sun Valley in the U.S. as well as six resorts in Canada, 11 in Japan, and 19 in Europe. In Utah, the Epic Pass is accepted at Park City Mountain Resort. Deer Valley and the four Cottonwood Canyons resorts are all affiliated with the Ikon Pass.
The Mountain Collective is the outlier in that it is not anchored to a specific resort or group. Instead, it offers limited days at a collection of resorts. In Utah, is accepted at Alta and Snowbird. Snowbasin was on the Mountain Collective in 2018/19, but is no longer accepting the pass.
If you’re planning to ski 7 days or less at Snowbasin, and live near or plan to vacation at another Vail Resort, the Epic Pass may make sense for you. It sells for $939, which is about nine day tickets at most resorts. If Snowbasin is your only ski vacation, day tickets or a Snowbasin season pass (which includes 5 days at Sun Valley and 50 percent off at other Epic Pass resorts) is a better option. The break-even on a Snowbasin Pass versus day tickets is 9-14 days, depending on when you buy your pass (prices increase as the season approaches).
That’s the big concern, right? The allure of Snowbasin is that it is a quieter alternative to the larger resorts near Salt Lake and Park City. Vail sold 750,000 Epic Passes in 2017, three times more than rival Alterra stated they hoped to sell of the Ikon Pass (as a private company, Alterra doesn’t reveal their sales numbers). In partnering with V.R., Snowbasin obviously hopes to attract some of those skiers, while at the same time not degrade the ski experience that makes Snowbasin unique.
We’ll have to wait and see how this season unfolds. However, there are a few reasons why becoming Epic may not that big of a change for Snowbasin.
First, the partnership is limited to 7 days, so even Utah skiers with an Epic Pass will have to choose their days wisely. Second, Snowbasin dropped the Mountain Collective for this season. While the Mountain Collective sells considerably less passes, by nature of the product it’s passholders travel more. Most Epic Pass holders at resorts such as Whistler, Crested Butte, or Stowe will never use their Snowbasin days. The Mountain Collective is not tied to a single resort, so holders of this pass put more effort into visiting all the resorts they paid for. Since it is also accepted at Alta and Snowbird, a Utah trip including a visit to Snowbasin was a no-brainer for Mountain Collective skiers.
Any significant increase in skier traffic will likely come from Utah skiers who have the Epic Pass and want to avoid the crowds at Park City Mountain Resort on powder days or during the holidays.
Simple answer: no one ever brags about the second track. On Snowbasin’s busiest days, most of the traffic lines up on the Mountain Green side of Trappers Loop. If you stay in Park City or Salt Lake City, you’ll be lined up right with them, plus you’ll be in the car for 45 minutes to an hour before you get there. Stay with us, and you’ll be in the parking lot in as little as 10 minutes. Check out our Snowbasin Lodging Options and our guest amenities including our complimentary guest ski shuttle. Don’t forget to check out our Snowbasin Real Estate as well. There’s no such thing as a bad day in the mountains, let us be your guide.