Vail Resorts Slashes Cost of Epic Pass by 20%

SnowBrains | | Industry NewsIndustry News
Credit: Epic Pass

Vail Resorts announced today that Epic Passes will cost 20% less than they did last season as the battle with rival Ikon Pass heats up.

The stunning announcement, which was postponed 24-hours due to the tragic events in Boulder, CO, where many of their head office staff live, will price the Epic Pass at $783. That’s $196 less than the same pass last season, and more importantly, $216 less than Alterra is charging this year for its Ikon Pass.

epic pass, vail resorts
Credit: Epic Pass

The Epic Local Pass, which will go on sale alongside the Epic Pass on Tuesday, will cost $583, $146 lower than last year’s $729. The equivalent Ikon Base Pass is $729.

Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz was quick to clarify that they are cutting the cost of the Epic Pass, and day tickets will not be affected:

“We’re not cutting the price of a lift ticket. We’re cutting the price of a pass, which means you have to buy it before the season.”

– Rob Katz told the Denver Post

Full press release below:

  • Company doubles down on advance commitment pass strategy with bold price reset
  • Launches new version of Epic Day Pass with more limited resort offering at $67 for a 1-day pass
  • Epic Mountain Rewards program continues, offering pass holders 20 percent off dining, lodging, group ski and ride school, and equipment rentals

Vail Resorts, the world’s leading ski resort company, today announced a bold price reset of its Epic Pass products to continue to deliver on its commitment of Epic for Everyone and to honor the loyalty of its pass holders. Already regarded as the best value in skiing and riding, the Company’s pass prices have been reduced by 20 percent across the board – making it easier for everyone to purchase a pass and, once again, changing everything about how guests access skiing and riding.

The price reduction applies to the entire portfolio of the Company’s North American pass lineup, including Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass and Epic Day Pass; Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited, Whistler Blackcomb Day Pass and EDGE Cards; Summit Value Pass, Tahoe Local and Value Pass, and Northeast Value and Midweek Pass; Military Epic Pass and Adaptive Pass; and many more. Epic Pass products are now available to purchase at EpicPass.com for the 2021/22 winter season.

“The ski industry, our Company and skiers and riders everywhere just navigated the most challenging season we have ever encountered. Because of the growth and loyalty of our pass holders, we were able to ensure this season was a success, with full operations across our 34 North American resorts, even amid a pandemic,” said Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts. “When we launched the Epic Pass 13 years ago, we began a journey to offer incredible value, flexibility and access to pass holders in exchange for a commitment before the season starts. Since then, we have added 32 resorts to our portfolio to give our pass holders more choice, and watched how they more naturally spread out their skiing over the course of a season. We have also invested over $1.5 billion into the guest experience with industry-leading technological innovations and numerous on-mountain capital improvements. Today, as we double down on our pass strategy by dramatically reducing our pass prices, we are excited to make it easier for everyone to move into a pass, and we remain fully committed to ensuring continuous improvements in the guest experience.”

The Epic Local Pass is now available for $583 (down from $729 last season) and the full Epic Pass is priced at $783 (down from $979 last season). This reset takes these products back to prices last seen during the 2015/16 season when the Epic Pass offered access to only 11 U.S. resorts compared to today’s more than 70 resorts worldwide, including Vail, Breckenridge, Park City and Whistler Blackcomb. With the price reduction, the Epic Day Pass, which provides the same season pass value to guests who want to ski or ride just 1-7 days, gives guests the chance to visit world-class resorts like Vail for just $87 with a 1-day pass (compared to a $219 lift ticket) and as low as $74 a day with a 7-day pass.

New for the 2021/22 season, the Epic Day Pass will offer two levels of resort access. With this new option, guests can get even more value in a day pass and access 29 resorts, including Keystone, Crested Butte, Heavenly, Northstar, Stowe and Hunter Mountain, for a price that starts at only $67 for a 1-day pass. Now guests can choose the number of days they want to ski or ride, whether or not to have holiday access, and the level of resort access they desire for the upcoming season at an incredible value. Find the full list of resorts accessible with this more limited offering and those excluded, here. This new Epic Day Pass customization option will be available to purchase on April 29, 2021.

“The new prices announced today not only provide value to existing skiers and riders, but we also believe they will contribute to the growth and vitality of our sport as we bring new people and higher engagement into the industry, which we think is imperative,” said Katz. “We also believe these lower prices will benefit our financial results based on new learnings from the past few years. First, since we launched the Epic Day Pass two years ago, we have seen a material number of guests purchase a pass who were not previously known to us as customers, especially guests who typically skied less days in a season. Second, people who switched from purchasing lift tickets to passes then actually skied more frequently, purchased more ski school and rentals, and were more likely to visit our resorts the following year. Finally, based on the pass credits from last year, we have much better insight on how to profitably drive renewal rates in the program, particularly for newer pass holders, where we see dramatic increases in loyalty if we can keep them in the program for their first few years.”

“Much like in 2008 when we launched the Epic Pass, it can be counterintuitive to think that providing value to our guests by lowering prices will also drive value for our Company,” Katz continued. “However, we believe the price reduction will drive incremental revenue, given our comprehensive lineup of pass products that can fit any guest’s needs, our personalized and data-driven marketing efforts, and the fact that the vast majority of all visits from our passes occur at our network of owned and operated resorts. We expect that today’s price reductions will generate incremental pass revenue from new unit sales in Fiscal 2022 that will approximately offset any pass revenue lost from the new discount, and we believe that in future years the compounding impact of retaining guests in our program will drive material increases in pass revenue. We have always been clear that advance commitment is one of the core strategies of our Company, and our goal is to ultimately have more than 75 percent of lift revenue come from passes.”

Today’s announcements are a part of Vail Resorts’ Epic for Everyone commitment to broaden engagement in the sport. Launched in 2019, Epic for Everyone began with the introduction of the Epic Day Pass, designed to give new and occasional skiers the same value and flexibility offered with a traditional season pass. Later that year, the Company announced the acquisition of 17 regional ski resorts located near major metropolitan areas – an effort to provide pass holders the ability ski or ride close to home and at world-class destination resorts all on the same pass.

In addition to reducing the cost of accessing the mountains, Epic Pass products provide pass holders with significant savings on the rest of their mountain experience. Introduced last season, Epic Mountain Rewards offers pass holders 20 percent off on-mountain dining, lodging, group ski and ride school lessons, equipment rentals and more at Vail Resorts’ 34 North American owned and operated resorts.

All 2021/22 pass products will come with Epic Coverage, at no additional cost, which provides refunds for personal events like job loss, injury or illness, as well as for certain resort closures, including closures due to COVID-19.

Find more details on the 2021/22 Epic Pass portfolio here.


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3 thoughts on “Vail Resorts Slashes Cost of Epic Pass by 20%

  1. WARNING. This is just a plot to steal more money by refusing refunds from a larger skier base. The passes are sold with what sounds like plenty of assurance you can get your money back if something happens. The reality is they rarely refund or issue credits (look up their BBB ratings and other articles about Epic refusing refunds). They interpret State quarantines as unnecessary and you should violate cause you will not get a refund. As of late April 2021, they still refuse credit for unused passes despite articles saying they will honor unused passes. This is probably a Vail Resorts plan to increase sales without having to increase lift capacity. Outright fraud to lure more customers into this trap.

  2. Thanks to Vail for bringing skiing to those that couldn’t previously afford it. Not only is it a great thing to do for the public it was done at a time when the number of skiers in the US was on the decline.

  3. Congratulations to all the Epic Sheeple. You will have 50% longer lift lines and increased food/beverage prices. Cheers to your corporate partners.

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