Lift Ticket or Season Pass?

Claire Weiss |
Vail, CO.
Vail, CO. Photo credit: Snowbrains


Lift Ticket or Season Pass?

When you start planning your winter vacation, besides booking hotels and airline tickets you ask yourself – should I buy a season pass or just purchase few lift tickets?

So, what to keep in mind?

If you only ski one or two days of the season, you probably won’t need a season pass. But may be you ride a bike?!

When you think of a season pass, you need to consider how close is the ski resort? Or how many resorts you can ski with that same season pass? Will there be enough snow?

Let’s look at Vail. It’s perfect place for winter vacation, as it offers great ski trails, as well as it has a nice village with restaurants and shops. And if you come for Christmas/ New Year’s Holidays you will feel like in a fairy tale!  But lift tickets are quite expensive.. For holiday season it can cost you ~$180 for adult lift ticket at the ticket office. It will be definitely cheaper if you buy it online on Vail’s website. Then you will probably pay $159.

The lift ticket costs the same amount as a Vail stock! (NYSE:MTN) Is it a coincidence? 

Vail stock price. NYSE, December 6th. Image credit: Google Finance


Then consider how many days you’re going to ski? Even if you go for one week of vacation, it will cost you $1113 for lift tickets alone. The solution is to buy a season pass! And if you buy it ahead of the time, it can cost you ~$800. (EpicPass costed $809 in April 2016)

Even if you only ski 5 days a season, your season pass is already worth its money, and if you’re a “frequent flyer” and ski 20 days or more per season, then you definitely need a pass.

It might be tempting to say – “What if there won’t be enough snow?” But the beauty of Vail is, that you can go to any of the following resorts which spread from West coat to East coast! And somewhere there will be snow for sure!



And you can also ski in European Alps with same season pass! Not to mention Whistler Blackcomb, Canada.

European ski resorts where you can ski with Vail season pass. Image credit:

And as you might know, Vail is tracking your ski progress and you can see how many vertical feet you skied for the day, season or even lifetime!


Dashboard of EpicMix app. Image credit: Claire Weiss


And back in the days you could get coupons while skiing certain amount of vertical feet. So, you can ski and then enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a bowl of chili for free? 🙂 Some might remember those good old days at Northstar. Wasn’t it nice? Yes! Unfortunately not anymore, but you could still get funny pins for skiing vertical feet, like Snow Turkey for skiing on Thanksgiving or Everest, for skiing for 29,035 feet.

park city vail
Park City. Photo credit: Snowbrains

Though the season passes are no longer offered for the current season at Vail, you can consider to buying the pass for the next season, and besides skiing in winter, you can also enjoy mountain biking in summer.




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