Epic Vs Ikon - What Pass To Choose

Epic Vs Ikon - What Pass To Choose

The Epic Pass changed the game a decade ago allowing skiers and snowboarders to travel the world with a single ski pass. Vail resorts put together this radical new approach allowing access to world-class resorts with one Epic Pass. For years, this pass has been the best option to let skiers and boarders explore on a global scale.  But, there is new competition in town. The trailblazing Ikon Pass is becoming Epic’s big challenger adding a new group of resorts on one pass. While Epic offers more global opportunities, Ikon is focusing on spots in North America and now brought in Thredbo in Australia. The addition of a new multi-resort pass can only be good for consumers. With the new Ikon pass, riders aren't limited to Vail resorts, and this new option will create more competitive pricing in upcoming years.

So which pass is the best?  While both Epic and Ikon have varying levels of passes, let’s look at the passes that offer unlimited and unrestricted skiing. Both passes have a different target audience, so it will come down to personal preference when choosing what pass to buy.  As always, there are pros and cons to each. Looking at the number of resorts, Epic has 65 resorts across the world and Ikon has 27.  If you are looking to travel, Epic is the way to go. It has over 30 resorts in France, Australia, and Switzerland.  Five days are also available in Hakuba, Valley, Japan. In Canada, Epic has a stranglehold on Whistler, the most visited resort in the world, as well as other mountains such as Fernie and Kicking Horse. With a pure focus on the US and Canada, Ikon doesn’t offer anything overseas. So if you are looking to travel abroad for some skiing, get the Epic Pass.

Looking at the United States, both passes offer some excellent options. The Ikon Pass gets some great resorts such as Mammoth, CA, Jackson Hole, WY, and Aspen Snowmass, CO. The Epic Pass gets some classics such as Vail, CO, Park City, UT, and Keystone, CO. The decision here may be influenced by location as well. Looking to ski in Summit County, CO? Then the Epic pass gives you more bang for your buck. Live in California? Ikon is the way to go, giving you access to Big Bear, close to Los Angeles, and Mammoth and Squaw Valley that Californian's love. An upside to Epic is the Midwest, offering options in Minnesota and Michigan. Ikon’s offerings in the Midwest, nada. Ikon beats out Epic on the East Coast, with unlimited time in Stratton, Snowshoe, Mont Tremblant and Blue Mountain. And Epic’s access to Stowe, Mount Sunapee and Okemo can beat Ikon’s connection to Killington and Sugarbush.

Both Ikon’s and Epic’s unlimited passes, $999 for Ikon and $899 for Epic for a full season. The two also have options for a local pass and base pass, which gives fewer options for a cheaper price. Ikon offers a full children’s pass for $549 (ages 5-12) compared to Epic’s $469. Epic give a small discount for teenagers, while Ikon has none. So, you will have to do some research to find the best fit for your needs.

All in all, both passes are excellent and will give skiers and boarders more than enough resorts to fill their snow cravings. With similar pricing, it all comes down preference, location, and travel. Or, having that one resort, like Epic’s addition of Telluride next season will sway your decision. The Epic pass does beat Ikon in the global travel department, even though they have just acquired Thredbo, while Ikon wins the East Coast battle.  Either way, you can't go wrong with either pass, so go have some fun next winter!


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