Boxing Match Between Vail Resorts CEO and Alterra CEO to Determine Who Has the Better Mega Pass To Commence Tonight at 7 PM ET

Haleigh Hafner | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Watch Kirsten Lynch and Rusty Gregory box it out at 7 p.m. ET.

Tonight at 7 p.m. ET, we will finally have the answer to a question keeping us all up at night: which season pass should I buy. . . Epic or Ikon?

Vail Resorts CEO, Kirsten Lynch, will face Alterra CEO, Rusty Gregory, in a cut-throat boxing match tonight. Both CEOs feel as though they have a lot to prove as they both stepped into their positions within the last five years. Lynch will be stepping in the ring to represent the Epic Pass, and Gregory will represent the Ikon Pass. 

Vail Resorts currently sells and distributes the Epic Pass and has always seen Alterra’s Ikon Pass as major competition. As we all know, both season passes have a wide array of benefits that make it extremely difficult to decide which pass to buy. Before the fight tonight, let’s look briefly at the pros and cons of each season pass. 

Epic Season Pass:


  • Unlimited access with no blackout date restrictions to 37 resorts in MO, OH, IN, PA, NY, NH, WA, VT, CO, MI, WI, CA, MN, British Columbia, and Australia
  • Access to 26 European Partner Resorts
  • 20% off food, beverages, lodging, ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals, Epic Mountain Express transportation, guided Cat Skiing Tours in Keystone, and heli-ski packages in Whistler Blackcomb, BC
  • Buddy tickets 
  • Epic Coverage – no extra cost for insurance!


  • You may feel cornered into purchasing an Epic Pass due to uber-expensive normal lift tickets and resort costs
  • Less access to East Coast resorts – other season passes like IKON offer more access to these areas
  • Due to staff shortages, many Vail Resorts have been forced to keep major parts of the mountains closed
  • It is VERY easy to have your season pass privileges revoked if you step out of line at any Epic resort

Ikon Season Pass:


  • Access to more unlimited ski time at East Coast resorts and Utah area resorts
  • Smaller crowds and fewer lines at the resorts under Ikon
  • Adventure Assurance Program allows for flexibility if you need to change your travel dates
  • 15% off food, beverage, and retail on the mountain
  • 10 Friends and family discount tickets


  • The 2021-2022 Ikon season pass was more expensive than the 21-22 Epic season pass
  • The Epic season pass offers way more unlimited access to large I-70 ski resorts in CO
  • The Ikon pass is not fully insured like the Epic Pass. You have to purchase insurance on top of the pass purchase
  • Epic pass resorts are more accessible from the Denver Airport – a large port of entry for vacation skiers

This fight is going to get heated. Both companies have been battling against each other for what seems like an eternity. Their end goal? Sell the highest quantity of season passes. In this age of skiing, it seems almost impossible to buy a lift ticket without a season pass. Many times, the price of daily lift tickets will end up costing more than a season pass. Vail and Alterra are not unaware of this fact, so each CEO works constantly to strategize the most efficient and effective way to sell the most season passes.

Finally, the strategies discussed in the boardroom will turn physical. Who will win? Comment your predictions below.

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4 thoughts on “Boxing Match Between Vail Resorts CEO and Alterra CEO to Determine Who Has the Better Mega Pass To Commence Tonight at 7 PM ET

  1. I’m not looking for the slopes to myself and don’t mind a reasonable liftline but when it gets to the point that I’m standing in lines for 20 – 60 minutes that’s not what I paid good money to do! The other issue is safety on the slopes, with all the extra passes sold and people that feel that they’re the only ones out there and don’t give a crap about others. Add to this equation the alcohol & pot and it makes for a dangerous situation.

    I take that PC means Park City and there’s a big difference between the vast acreage of PC and most any area in New England. The area we left was Mount Snow in Vermont and their lift layout doesn’t allow for the crowds to be spread out and that leads to the crowded lift lines.

    Vail may have raised their prices on their Epic Pass but with the 20% discount their did this season the 7% increase won’t change the crowds any. I’d rather see a higher price to lower the overcrowding or singular mountain passes at the areas with crowd issues like Mount Snow.

  2. Have had the EPIC pass for the last two years and have not experienced the “EPIC” lines people complain about as I ski at non-peak times and never on a Saturday. I feel that Vail Resorts have delivered generally to my expectations. Snow early season at PC was poor but was that managements fault? I am transitioning to IKON this year just for skiing other resorts and we will see if there is a difference. Not sure why Jeff B is complaining about low prices. Most people do not complain about low prices. He just wants the slopes to himself which is not going to happen. Vail Resorts is raising prices this year – will it make a difference on crowding on the slopes? I don’t think much.

  3. It’s called McSkiing, or industrialized skiing, or just plain disgusting skiing. No heart no soul no integrity, only unabashed American greed.

  4. The decision is a no-brainer! Vail and their Epic pass is well on their way to ruining the “skiing experience”. By selling their passes at Walmart prices they have created longer lift lines, overcrowded slopes & trails, and a staffing problem that further erodes the experience. Even though I’ve never had a Ikon pass I have heard from others that it is a good pass and worth the extra money. Personally, I left a Vail run resort in Vermont to ski at an independent mountain and have no desire going back to a corporate run resort in the near future!

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