Four New Regional Ski Passes Debut as 2023-24 Season Pass Sales Blast Off
New products unite ski areas within California, the Midwest, and the Mid-Atlantic
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11 ski areas, four new or revamped passes
We sit days or weeks away from the mega-drops – Epic and Ikon and Mountain Collective and Indy – but early-bird season pass sales began in earnest this month. As of today, 63 U.S. ski areas have released details of their 2023-24 offerings. While that’s only around 15 percent of the 400 or so mountains that will offer a season pass for next winter, operators who spent last year expanding their portfolios have in many cases already consolidated their new holdings into unified passes. Here’s a rundown of four new or enhanced regional products that build directly off recent acquisitions and will give skiers expanded choice and value next ski season:
When Invision Capital and Karl Kapuscinski, long-time owners of Mountain High and short-time owners of Dodge Ridge, purchased China Peak late last year, they promised a pass that would be good at all three ski areas. Here you go. The CALI Pass will debut at $599 for renewing passholders from any of the three mountains, and $649 for new buyers. It looks as though all three ski areas will continue to offer individual-mountain passes, but prices are not yet live for China Peak or Dodge Ridge, and only the CALI Pass will include Powder Alliance membership. Mountain High’s season pass is set at $499 for renewing passholders and $549 for everyone else, both slight increases from last year. China Peak and Dodge Ridge debuted 2022-23 passes at $379 and $499, respectively, with discounts for returning passholders. All 2023-24 passes will go on sale March 11 and prices increase, um “April 31,” according to Mountain High’s website – let’s call it May 1 and adjust as necessary. All three ski areas are Indy Pass members, which will make CALI passholders eligible for a discounted Indy Pass.
By the time Midwest Family Ski Resorts (MFSR) closed on Snowriver, a pair of side-by-side ski areas in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, last September, passes for its other two resorts – Granite Peak, Wisconsin and Lutsen Mountains, Minnesota - had been on sale for months. MFSR did add Snowriver to Granite and Lutsen’s shared pass, but it was expensive and not a great value, particularly for the Michigan mountains, which had long offered bargain season passes. The new Legendary Pass fixes that with a three-tiered offering. Gold is $675 and is unlimited at all three mountains (MFSR is no longer offering distinct passes for each mountain). Silver runs $475 and is unlimited at Snowriver, but blacked out over 12 holidays at Granite and Lutsen. Bronze is just $375, and is good midweek at all three mountains, with three Christmas week blackouts. Passes go on sale March 4 and prices increase May 15. All Legendary Pass ski areas are on Indy Pass, making passholders eligible for the Indy add-on, with its stacked Upper Midwest lineup.
Perfect Season Pass
This one’s a bit different, as Perfect North, Indiana purchased Timberline, West Virginia three years ago, and the resorts have offered mutual discounts for at least two seasons. But Perfect North is finally going RFID next winter, providing a pretty seamless opportunity to just throw the ski areas together onto a single pass. The Perfect Pass is just $419 and, for the tube-aholics, includes two hours of snow tubing every day. Each ski area will continue to offer single-mountain passes: Timberline’s runs $389; Perfect North’s is $299. A cool extra: add season gear rental on for $100, a money move if you have children, who outgrow their ski gear every four minutes. Passes are on sale now. Prices increase April 2.
BBMR Season Pass
While Alterra’s Bear Mountain and Snow Summit have always been unlimited on the Ikon Base Pass, the two ski areas – collectively known as “Big Bear Mountain Resort” – have retained their own season pass. Alterra purchased nearby Snow Valley last month and added it to Big Bear, making this pass pre-ordained. It’s a pretty good deal: $569 for unlimited access to all three ski areas. A midweek version is just $359. I was somewhat surprised – and pleased – to see that Snow Valley will retain its own single-mountain pass for $329 – the same price it debuted at last year. The whole of BBMR will, I’m certain, still be unlimited on all sorts of Ikon Passes, but this is a great option for Local Brahs who gotta stay local, Brah. Passes go on sale March 7. Prices increase April 11.
There’s nothing revolutionary in any of these products, but there was nothing inevitable about them, either. The rapid introduction of four regional multi-mountain passes by independent operators underscores how rapidly skiers’ expectations have shifted from the one-mountain, one-pass model to season-pass-as-a-snowy-island-hopping passport. In most cases, these operators had hedged on creating a single pass for their portfolios, preferring to offer reciprocity that was often inconvenient for customers but gave the owners more control. Suddenly and collectively, those reservations have evaporated.
I don’t expect to see many more new combo passes for 2023-24 – at least not drawn from the existing partitions of our many resorts. Just about any collection of resorts has either already introduced a joint pass (Aspen-Snowmass, Silver/49, Wisconsin Resorts, Berkshire East/Catamount, Labrador/Song, Whiteface/Gore/Belleayre), or has determined that such a product makes no sense given the distance between them (Red Lodge/Homewood, Jiminy Peak/Cranmore/Bromley). But whoever gets swallowed this offseason – and someone will – expect them to show up holding hands with their new buddies about this time next year.
The Pass Tracker 5001 returns
As of today, 63 U.S. ski areas have put 2023-24 season passes on sale. I’ve even updated the Pass Tracker 5001 with a 2023-24 tab:
Yes I do intend to build a better Pass Tracker, but for now, the old spreadsheet will have to do. In the meantime, here’s a breakdown of trends and outliers I’m seeing so far:
Below the paid subscriber jump: a look at some of the stronger early season pass deals, some urgent pass deadlines, an inventory of discount spring 2023 passes, a new CEO for Aspen Skiing Company, and much more. Remember - the $50 annual rate is back for a limited time.