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  • Adam Kaufman

Which Multi-Mountain Pass Is Best (For You)?

In a changing industry riddled with mergers, new companies, and shifting alliances, deciding which pass to buy is harder than ever. We've broken down the details of seven different passes to make it easier for East Coast skiers and riders to choose.

In the race to provide variety, ski areas have teamed up to provide a host of multi-mountain pass options.

Ikon or Epic? Peak Pass or Mountain Collective? The New York Ski3 or the New England Pass? Nothing is as hotly debated among us Easterners as which multi-mountain pass to buy.

It’s hard to overstate how revolutionary they’ve become, but it’s been less than a decade since the multi-mountain pass has completely transformed how skiers and riders spend their money and time each winter. For many of us, they’ve become a practical alternative to the comparably expensive and geographically-limiting single-resort season pass. Instead, we have more resort options at a more affordable price.

For the past few years, the MAX Pass was our favorite option here at ICM, particularly given the addition of four New York resorts at the beginning of last season. But alas, the multi-mountain pass market is a chimera, constantly shifting, with passes coming and going (RIP MAX), resorts teaming up then re-aligning, and behind it all lies the titanic struggle of the two main North American ski conglomerates - Vail Resorts vs. the newly-formed Alterra Mountain Company.

With so much recent change, it’s hard for consumers to keep track of which pass will provide us with the most bang for our ski buck, so we took an in-depth (some might say obsessive) look at each option, and we’ve broken down the pros and cons of each to help you make your decision this year:

A brief disclaimer, though: Any of the following can change by the time you read this, as the market is constantly in flux. The people behind the Ikon pass were still announcing additions to their pass in early September, including days at Niseko in Japan and unlimited access to Crystal Mountain, two hours outside of Seattle. And there will almost certainly be changes to all of these passes by the time the 2019-2020 season arrives. For comparison’s sake, all pricing details refer to the base adult price. Senior, child, and college pricing is available for most of the passes below.


EPIC PASS Price: $689 for the Local Pass (With Restrictions) $929 Full Pass

Eastern Resorts: Okemo, Stowe, Mont-Sainte Anne, Stoneham, Sunapee

The Epic Pass gets you into a number of Northeast favorites, including Okemo, with its iconic orange bubble chairs. Photo: John Giuffo

The grandfather of them all—Vail was responsible for creating the multi-mountain pass in 2008 when they first released the Epic Pass, granting unlimited access to several resorts across Colorado and elsewhere out west. As Vail has grown, so has the pass, with additions in Colorado, California, Utah and Canada. In 2017, Vail introduced the Epic Pass to the east coast with their acquisition of Stowe. This year they’ve increased their presence in the east with the addition of Okemo, Sunapee, Mont-Sainte Anne and Stoneham. While five resorts may not top the scales for east coast multi-mountain passes, Vail makes up for this in the quality of their resorts, unlimited days, and top-notch options virtually everywhere in the western US and Canada.

The Epic Pass has a small but well-curated selection of eastern resorts available. Stowe, arguably the best all-around resort east of the Rocky Mountains, is a big differentiator for this pass and offers great skiing and riding and great lodging, dining and entertainment options under an hour from Burlington.

For those journeying from further south or east, Vail has now added Okemo and Sunapee to the mix. Okemo is an excellent option for beginners and intermediates, with an endless supply of blue and green trails with beautiful easterly vistas. Sunapee has similar terrain and is a nice additional option for those looking more for a locals’ mountain than a destination resort.

For those willing to make the journey far north to the land of White Walkers and poutine, the Epic Pass now includes Stoneham and Mont Sainte Anne. With a respectable 1151 feet of vertical and 16 trails of night skiing, Stoneham is a popular spot for locals and just 20 minutes north of Quebec City. Monte Sainte Anne is also very close to the city (just 30 minutes east) and boasts over 2000 vertical, excellent variety of trails for all levels (including experts), and incredible views of the Saint Lawrence River to the south. Like nearly every other mountain in Quebec, Mont Sainte Anne also offers excellent night skiing served by their gondola, which is fortunate because it is often inhumanely cold there on a winter evening.

Epic also gets you into Whistler-Blackcomb, the largest ski resort in North America. Photo: John Giuffo

Points West and Overseas: Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Telluride, Crested Butte, and Beaver Creek in Colorado. Brighton and Park City in Utah. Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Northstar in Tahoe. Stevens Pass in Washington. Whistler-Blackcomb, Kicking Horse, Kimberley, Fernie, Nakiska, Mont-Sainte Anne, and Stoneham in Canada. Hakuba Valley in Japan and 30 resorts across the Alps.

Vail’s best attribute is their massive collection of western and overseas ski areas that give northeastern Epic Pass buyers nearly endless options for that annual trip many of us make for the guaranteed goods.

Vail’s Colorado options are its crown jewels. A quick trip west on I-70 from Denver brings you right to the front door of Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Keystone, Beaver Creek and, of course, Vail. This year Vail as also added expert favorites Crested Butte and Telluride to the mix, giving them the indisputable claim of best selection of Colorado resorts. You can’t go wrong with a trip to any combination of these resorts, but watch out for that infamous I-70 traffic.

For those more inclined to ski Tahoe, you can fly into Reno and visit Heavenly, Kirkwood and Northstar. Heavenly is known for great tree skiing and postcard views of Lake Tahoe. Kirkwood is revered among experts as one of the best spots for gnarly terrain and massive dumps of Sierra Cement. Northstar is known as a destination for families and parks, with milder steepness than the other Tahoe resorts.

Park City Mountain Resort offers another great destination for those who choose the Epic Pass. While it may be Vail’s only resort in Utah, but it has trails for every level and style of skier and rider, top-notch amenities, and consistently great snow. The town of Park City, famously home to Sundance Film Festival, is among the best ski towns in the world with great restaurants, bars, shops, art galleries and, most importantly, a ski-in/ski-out distillery.

With their newly announced partnership with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies and their recent purchase of Whistler, the Epic Pass now includes access to several amazing resorts across the province of British Columbia. In the west just two hours north of Vancouver, Whistler is widely heralded as the best resort in North America (and it is undeniably the largest). In the east of the province, Revelstoke, Fernie, and Kimberly all offer incredible skiing and are each destination resorts in their own right, and all are located within just three hours of Calgary.

The Epic Pass also offers access to several top quality resorts overseas in Australia (summer skiing anyone?), the Alps, and Japan. This makes it a great option for those whose travels take them abroad.

Who Should Buy This Pass:

  • Skiers and riders willing to travel frequently by air

  • New Englanders, particularly those living in northern Vermont (looking at you, Burlington)

  • People who love skiing in Colorado and/or British Columbia

  • Former season passholders at Stowe, Okemo, and Sunapee

IKON PASS Price: $699 for Base Pass, $999 for Full Pass

Eastern Resorts: Unlimited access to Stratton, Mont Tremblant, and Snowshoe. Limited access (5 or 7 days each, depending on pass level) to Killington, Sugarbush, Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf.

The Ikon Pass gets you unlimited access to Stratton, a reliable favorite in southern Vermont.. Photo: Alterra .

Earlier this year we learned that the Denver-based Alterra, the new joint venture by Aspen and investment firm KSL Capital, would offer the Ikon Pass. While it offers access to resorts formerly under the MAX Pass umbrella, it’s also expanded access to additional resorts that have been recently acquired or subsumed by Alterra. Designed to be a direct competitor to Vail’s Epic Pass, Alterra offers in its Ikon Pass access to a massive array of 35 resorts across the eastern and western U.S. as well as abroad. Those who previously purchased the MAX will find a familiar list of eastern resorts on the Ikon Pass (give or take a few), albeit with a bevy of new options for trips out west.

Like the MAX Pass, the Ikon Pass features the most eastern resorts of any multi-mountain pass (albeit somewhat changed from 2017’s MAX Pass, losing a few New York Mountains but adding Sugarbush). Alterra owns just two properties in the northeast (Tremblant and Stratton), so they have partnered with Powdr and Boyne Resorts to round out a list of eight destinations in the east. Like Vail, Alterra provides unlimited access to their own resorts and limited access (5-7 days, depending on whether you have the Base or Full Pass) to partner resorts.

In Vermont, Ikon offers a trio of excellent destinations, each with their own unique identity. Stratton, in southern Vermont, is an excellent mountain for beginners and intermediates, and the resort village makes it a perfect choice for families with children as every activity, meal and service is available without having to drive anywhere. Killington, in central Vermont, is a behemoth among east coast resorts with over 1500 acres of skiing covering over 3,000 vertical feet. There are trails for every level of skier and rider here, and while the resort lacks a walkable town, the access road is littered with restaurants, bars and shops. Sugarbush rounds out the selection of Vermont destinations with a much more traditional, “old school” ski experience, albeit with a modern, luxury resort at its main base. There are trails here for every type of skier and rider, but Sugarbush is most well-known for its rugged, windy mogul runs and countless glades.

Boyne Resorts’ famed New England trio—Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Loon—remain a staple of the pass, and Alterra just recently announced that they will offer 5-7 days at each resort rather than the initial offer of 5-7 combined days. Sunday River is an enormous resort with 870 acres of every type of trail and glade imaginable spread across eight peaks. Sugarloaf is an even bigger resort, spanning over 1200 acres with some of the steepest trails in the region, and it is the only resort to offer cat skiing east of the Rockies. Loon is a great family destination, just two hours north of Boston, with a wide variety of primarily intermediate trails and stunning views of the White Mountains.

In eastern Canada, the Ikon Pass offers access to Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario. Tremblant, located ninety minutes northwest of Montreal, is a destination resort complete with a faux alpine village lined with shops, restaurants, activities and countless lodging options. It’s perennially awarded as one of the top overall resorts in the east as it offers a great experience for just about everyone, no matter skill level. Blue Mountain is Ontario’s largest resort, with 365 acres of skiing just two hours northwest of Toronto.

The Ikon also gets you a few days at Snowbird, Utah's most badass high-altitude sendscape. Photo: Hilary Vidair

Points West and Overseas: Unlimited access to Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Eldora in Colorado. Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Mammoth Mountain near Tahoe. Crystal Mountain outside Seattle, Solitude in Utah, as well as June Mountain and Big Bear in Southern California. Limited access (5 or 7 days) to Snoqualmie, Taos, Deer Valley, Brighton, Alta, Snowbird, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, and Aspen Snowmass, as well Canadian destinations such as Revelstoke, Cypress, and the so-called Big 3 outside of Banff – Lake Louise, Sunshine Village, and Norquay.

Ikon offers a massive array of Western and overseas resorts that would be nearly impossible to visit in a single season. With options available in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, California, Washington and even New Mexico as well as in Canada and overseas in Australia and Japan, the options are almost limitless.

In Colorado the Ikon Pass includes eight resorts, half of which are located surrounding the town of Aspen. A trip to Aspen offers access to Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk, combining to over 5,500 acres of skiing in one of the world’s most iconic mountain destinations. There is terrain here for everyone, and the lodging and dining options are world-class. Those who prefer a more low-key vibe could instead visit a combination of Copper, Winter Park, and Steamboat. All three are excellent destination resorts with terrain suited to every level of skier and rider, and Steamboat Springs is among the region’s best winter towns with its quaint western feel and, of course, hot springs.

In California, you get access to Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows near Lake Tahoe, and Mammoth Mountain roughly four hours to the south. All are large, world-renowned resorts with terrain suitable for any level, so you could have a great trip visiting either area or combining all three for a tour of the Sierra Nevada range.

In Utah, you get access to three valleys: Cottonwood Canyon, where Solitude and Brighton offer great terrain with minimal crowds, and Brighton’s night skiing is unparalleled in the region. In neighboring Little Cottonwood Canyon, Alta and Snowbird offer the best expert terrain in Utah, although snowboarders are limited to just Snowbird. And Deer Valley in Park City is known for its perfectly groomed slopes and five-star accommodations.

In the northern Rockies, passholders have access to Jackson Hole and Big Sky—both enormous, world-famous resorts with terrain straight out of your favorite ski porn film.

In western Canada, passholders can fly to Calgary and travel just 90 minutes west to find incredibly scenic slopes at Norquay and Banff’s Sunshine Village and Lake Louise Resorts. A few more hours to the west lies Revelstoke; home to incredible tree skiing and unimaginably long runs that cover up to 6000 vertical feet. At the other end of British Columbia, Cypress Mountain offers consistent powder just 30 minutes outside of Vancouver. Serious powder hounds will appreciate early booking access with CMH Heli-skiing, allowing passholders to book the most sought-after dates to ensure optimal conditions.

In addition to the above locations, the Ikon Pass also includes Taos in New Mexico, Thredbo in Australia, and four resorts at Niseko in Japan, should the urge hit to hunt for some legendary Japow.

Who Should Buy This Pass:

  • Vermonters and New Yorkers willing to drive for the kicks

  • Bostonians

  • Those planning a trip to almost any major western ski region

  • Former MAX Pass owners for whom the loss of New York mountains this year isn’t a deal-breaker


PEAK PASS Price: $829 for the Explorer pass (unlimited) to all seven resorts, $729 for the Ranger (11 blackout dates).

Eastern Resorts: Attitash, Big Boulder, Crotched, Hunter, Jack Frost, Mount Snow, Wildcat

Hunter's steep (and expanding) terrain is one of the highlights of the Peak Pass. Photo: John Giuffo

Peak Resorts is a relative newcomer to the multi-mountain pass market, first offering their namesake pass for the 2016-17 season, featuring seven eastern resorts and a variety of pricing and access options. Less expensive than Ikon or Epic, the Peak Pass is an excellent option for skiers and riders who will spend their entire season in the east and do not care about access to resorts out west or abroad.

As an east-coast exclusive deal, the Peak Pass features a selection of resorts spanning from eastern Pennsylvania all the way to northern New Hampshire. Most people living in the northeast can access at least one of the mountains offered on the pass within two hours by car.

Pennsylvanians get some love on the Peak Pass, with unlimited access to Jack Frost and Big Boulder resorts in the Poconos. Under two hours from both New York and Philadelphia and just a few miles from each other, these resorts are a great option for weekend trips to the Poconos, but they better suited for beginners, families and park skiers than for intermediates and experts.

In New York, you get access to Hunter Mountain, just two and a half hours north of New York City and an hour from New York’s capital region, which gets even better this year with the new addition of “Hunter North,” the largest expansion to any eastern resort this season. The expansion will include five new intermediate trails and four glades accessed by a brand new detachable six-pack lift.

In southern Vermont, there’s Mount Snow; the eastern Mecca for park rats seeking X-games style jumps and features within driving distance. In addition to the renowned parks in the Corinthia section, Mount Snow also features great tree skiing, a bevy of fast lifts, and newly improved snowmaking that allows them to now be among the first resorts in the east to open each season.

In New Hampshire, the Peak Pass includes three resorts spanning the White Mountains—all within a three-hour drive from Boston. Wildcat, located just across the road from famed Mount Washington, offers over 2,100 vertical feet of windy, rugged, distinctly-northeastern slopes and plentiful glade skiing accessed by a lightning-fast detachable quad. Just 20 minutes to the south, Attitash offers 1,750 vertical on two peaks covering over 300 acres and accessed by 10 lifts. Like Wildcat, Attitash is also known for its windy, rugged trails and excellent glade skiing, although the terrain is well suited for all levels. To the south, and just 90 minutes from Boston, Crotched Mountain offers 1,000 vertical feet of skiing spread over 100 acres and accessed by a high speed quad. It’s a popular local’s mountain known for night skiing that lasts until 3am on mid-winter weekends.

Who should buy this pass:

  • Families and individuals that want to limit drive times to larger mountains

  • Those who plan on sticking to the east coast

  • Beginners and intermediates looking to improve, and experts looking to avoid crowds

  • New Englanders looking for unlimited access to multiple resorts within driving distance

  • New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians who ski in the Catskills and/or Poconos

OTHER OPTIONS

While the Epic, Ikon, and Peak passes offer the broadest array of options for east coast skiers and riders, there are a few multi-mountain passes that are best suited to those those who plan to split their ski time among a smaller number of resorts. A couple are more suited to skiers and riders who are okay with choosing among three mountains, and a couple are a better fit for those looking to add more options to an existing pass, whether season or multi, and don’t mind traveling to make the most out of their pass.

Revelstoke's legendary glades are among the benefits of the Mountain Collective pass. Photo: John Giuffo

MOUNTAIN COLLECTIVE Price: $449 Destinations: Sugarbush in Vermont is the only eastern resort on the pass, but it gets you two days at each of 17 resorts around the world (and half-price lift tickets each additional day), including Aspen; Alta, Snowbird and Snowbasin in Utah; Taos in New Mexico; Sun Valley in Idaho; Big Sky, Montana; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in Tahoe; Mammoth south of Tahoe; Sunshine, Lake Louise, and Revelstoke in Canada; Coronet Peak and The Remarkables in New Zealand; Thredbo in Australia; and the four mountains of Niseko United in Japan.

The Mountain Collective offers a different approach. This is a ski pass for those who like to travel and sample a few different mountains each season. With Sugarbush being the only resort included in the east, the Mountain Collective is not ideal for east coasters who don’t have long-distance ski travel plans. However, the pass more than pays for itself after a few days at one or more of the many attractive destinations out west, and is ideal for those looking to add a handful of days to their existing ski pass.

It came in very handy for our editor, John, two seasons ago during a road trip from Salt Lake City to Jackson, then to Big Sky, and back to Salt Lake, where he skied at Alta and Snowbird. Six days at four different world-class resorts is a great deal for $449, and combined with a season pass, it’s a great option for those who want to add some variety to a season at a relatively low price point.

Whether it’s a road trip from Calgary to the mountains of Alberta and eastern British Columbia, around Tahoe, or the long haul to Asia for some legendary Japow, the Mountain Collective makes long-distance ski adventures that much more affordable for east coast powder hounds who love their home mountains but also need to make that regular pilgrimage to more far-flung locations. Many of the locations on the pass have recently signed partnerships with either the Epic or Ikon passes, so some of the mountains on the pass may not stick around for next season. Get it while you can.

NEW YORK SKI3 PASS Price: Full Season: $899 until Nov. 26; $999 after Nov. 27 Non-Holiday: $729 until Nov. 26; $819 after Nov. 27 Mountains: Whiteface, Gore, Belleayre

Whiteface's gnarly steeps are included in the NY-centric Ski3 Pass. Photo: John Giuffo

This three-mountain pass is perfect for those who usually buy a season pass to any of the three ORDA* ski areas in New York, and who enjoy visiting one or both of the other two. With two tiers – the full season pass or with select holidays blacked out - they’re only slightly more expensive than the season passes to any of the individual mountains, which makes it worth the extra money after only three days spent at one of the other two ski areas.

The Ski3 Pass is a great deal for New Yorkers who can’t get enough of Gore’s glades, Whiteface’s steeps, or Belleayre’s proximity and family-friendly terrain.

Gore is something of an under-recognized superstar mountain, with its pucker-worthy steeps, get-lost-for-days variety, and a dizzying array of fun and challenging glades. It’s a favorite destination not only for Capital Region skiers and riders, but also for those who love bouncing around in the trees in high winter, when the base is deep, the roots and branches plastered down, and powder stashes lurk around each turn.

Located just an hour and a half outside Albany and four hours north of New York City, Gore gets somewhat overlooked by those on their way to Whiteface or Vermont, but it’s a mid-sized mountain that skis like a larger resort. And with recent expansions to the terrain, improvements to the lifts, and an expansion of The Tannery, the popular base lodge pub, it’s better than ever.

Its underdog status is a product of its location – it’s situated in a small town located about 45 minutes from the Interstate, and lodging near Gore is catch-as-catch-can, and helps contribute to Gore’s reputation as a mostly-locals’ mountain. But its trail and glade variety, as well as the general vibe in its old-school base lodge and pub place it among the most enjoyable ski areas in the Northeast.

Whiteface, located about an hour and a half north of Gore, is a serious destination resort that ranks among our favorites in the northeast, and that’s before factoring in the appeal of Lake Placid – which is one of the country’s best winter vacation towns.

Steeped in skiing history, Lake Placid remains a place where Olympic dreams are still born and nurtured. As the home of both the 1932 and 1980 Winter Olympics, the city remains a hub of winter sport practice and competition. You know a ski town is the real deal when the first landmark you see is the 75-meter ski jump tower, which looms over the tail end of Route 73 as you drive into town.

And the mountain itself is a no-messing around slice of Adirondack seriousness. Although there is terrain for beginners and timid intermediates, there isn’t much, and this is a place for skiers who know how to handle speed and how to engage an edge. With a fast gondola that hustles people up the mountain efficiently, and a legendary series of steep trails that seduce skiers into ripping fast, Whiteface is one of the best ski rushes in the Northeast. Things really heat up when the mountain gets enough snow to enable patrol to open The Slides – a hike-to series of avalanche-prone, cliff-strewn, icefall-littered terrain that becomes, on a powder day with a deep base (usually in late February or early March), as legit a piece of mountain badassery as any to be found inbounds, east or west.

Belleayre is an ideal option for families and skiers of all levels who prize proximity and affordability above more advanced thrills. Located just two hours north of New York City, it’s an ideal mountain in which to learn, to introduce newcomers to the sport, or to bring a group of infrequent, uncertain skiers.

With an intuitive layout that funnels down to one main base area, a series of beginner-friendly trails, and a new gondola that goes from the lower base area to the summit, it’s a popular destination for families with younger children, older skiers, or uncertain intermediates.

But no matter your skill level or terrain preferences, it’s likely that there’s an ORDA mountain that will delight you and keep you coming back for more, and the Ski3 Pass is a great option for New Yorkers who enjoy having a few options but like keeping things local.

(*ORDA is the acronym commonly used for the New York State Olympic Regional Development Authority. Created in 1980 to manage the preparations and facilities during that year’s Olympics, it’s the state authority that operates all three of the above mountains, in an effort to both develop Olympic talent within the state and to act as an economic anchor in those rural communities in which the ski areas are located.)

NEW ENGLAND PASS Price: Four tiers, ranging from $1,199 for the unlimited pass to $599 for a weekday-only pass with blackout weeks. Click here for a complete list of pricing options. Mountains: Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Loon

Loon's groomers and views are part of the package with the New England Pass. Photo: John Giuffo

Like the name suggests, the New England Pass offers various levels of access to Boyne’s three New England resorts; Loon, Sunday River and Sugarloaf. This is a great option for those who would otherwise be season passholders to any of the three resorts, as well as New Englanders who live in more northeasterly quadrants of the region. From Boston through New Hampshire to Portland and points north, this is the right pass for coastal regulars. If you’re playing dice with the other diehards on #fullalbumthursdays at the Paul Bunyan Room , or if you’re on a first-name basis with the bartenders at the Foggy Goggle, this pass is your jam.

Boyne’s three New England ski areas are a well-curated selection of resort holdings: Loon, a mid-large mountain with killer White Mountain views within day-trip distance of Beantown; Sunday River, a sprawling resort with seven separate peaks that holds its own on a list of the best Northeast ski areas; and Sugarloaf, a steep-as-fuck expert-friendly well-gladed slackcountry wonderland – which, by the way, features the only cat skiing in the Northeast.

It’s a great option for those who have strong opinions about the per-pound price of live lobster, as well as those who don’t mind traveling a bit to some of the best terrain in the Northeast. From the confidence-building rippers at Loon to the powderhound playground of Sugarloaf’s alpine and treed terrain, there’s plenty to keep skiers and riders of all ages entertained. And combined with one of the other limited passes on our list, the New England pass would keep all but the most travel-hungry skiers and riders satisfied with a wealth of variety during the coming season.

SILVERTON UNGUIDED SPRING PASS Price: $199 for the Spring Unguided Pass Resorts: One $39 heli-drop at Silverton, plus three free days each at Smuggler’s Notch and Mad River Glen, as well as 12 other resorts across the U.S. See the website LINK for more details.

Get a front-row seat to the cliff-drop shenanigans of Upper Liftline at Smugg's. Photo: John Giuffo

We know what you’re thinking. What the heck is this doing here? Silverton—known for its lift accessed backcountry skiing and bare bones accommodations—recently announced a season pass option that includes $39 heli-skiing, unlimited unguided day’s at Silverton (late March and early April) and, most importantly for east coasters, three days of skiing at Smuggler’s Notch and Mad River Glen.

With only one chairlift and an array of expert-only terrain that is best explored with a guide, Silverton is the most badass-only ski area in Colorado, and arguably in the Lower 48. The minimal infrastructure forms a natural bottleneck to the traffic that would otherwise track out such gnarly steep western terrain (it tops out at 13,487’ – the highest elevation skiing in North America) it’s the closest a skilled skier or rider can come to shredding Alaskan spines and bowls.

And while skiing Silverton is a bragging point all by itself, putting a downpayment on a possible heli-skiing trip is irresistible. While heli drops into pucker-worthy terrain is workaday stuff for the pros, most of us have such hardcore feats on our “if-only” bucket lists. This pass can help make heli-skiing fantasies a reality, especially if purchased in conjunction with another multi-mountain pass that opens up more of Colorado’s riches to those of us on the east coast.

Toss in a bonus six days split among Smuggs and Mad River Glen, this pass is a no-brainer. Smuggler’s Notch is a fun-as-hell, serious-as-shit Northeast shredder’s mountain, and its valleyside cousin, MRG, is an old-school badass playground on days when the snow is good and deep.

Even if you never make it to Colorado this spring, six days of skiing at two of the gnarliest old school resorts in Vermont for just $199 is a great deal. We highly recommend buying this pass no matter what your winter plans are, and at such an affordable price you could even buy it as an addition to another multi-mountain pass.

© 2018 by ICE COAST MAGAZINE.

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