Taos Leaves Ikon Base for Base Plus for 2023-24; Prices Tick Upward to $1,159 Full Ikon, $829 Base Pass
New benefits include 20 percent off North Face, Smith discounts, free Outside+ subscription; passes on sale March 16
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Alterra Mountain Company laid out prices for 2023-24 Ikon Passes this morning. They’ll go on sale next Thursday, March 16, which gives us plenty of time to break down the offerings. I liked the format we used for Epic Pass releases earlier this week, so let’s run it back. First, the prices, including the adult pass renewal discounts ($100 full; $50 Base) and child discounts ($100 off up to two passes with purchase of an adult pass):
How does that compare to last year (and they year before that and so on)? I won’t break down every category, but here are the adult prices - the full Ikon is up 7.4 percent from last year (and nearly 30 percent from 2018), while Ikon Base ticks up 7.8 percent (and is up 38.4 percent from 2018):
Ikon’s not giving up on their sleepy Ikon Session Pass, but I feel obliged to let you know it exists (note that Taos is leaving this bum too):
So what do you get for all those U.S. American dollars? Only the best lineup of ski resorts in the history of the world, including, notably, Valle Nevado, Chile, which Mountain Capital Partners took a majority ownership stake in earlier this year:
Pretty incredible, right? Unfortunately, I have some bad news as well. No, it’s not that the Ikon Session Pass continues to exist (though we can agree that thing is a travesty). It’s that Taos, one of America’s most spectacular ski areas, will be the seventh Ikon Pass “destination” to leap off the Ikon Base Pass in favor of the Ikon Base Plus Pass. Taos joins Jackson Hole, Aspen-Snowmass, Alta, Deer Valley, Snowbasin, and Sun Valley as Ikon Base exiteers.
To sort of make up for it, Taos will no longer require Ikon Pass reservations. Which is great. I’m always in favor of reducing the administrative burden of my ski day. But while remote Taos leveling up to Base Plus-only is not a big deal in isolation, the move further dilutes the value of the Ikon Base Pass, which keeps getting more expensive while offering less value. It also ramps up the appeal of the Mountain Collective, which offers six of the seven Base Plus destinations (the exception is Alterra-owned Deer Valley), for less money than the Ikon Base Pass and zero blackouts.
Also of note: Deer Valley will start requiring reservations again after eliminating them when it moved to Base Plus last year.
OK, what else?
2023-24 Ikon Passholders will again be able to defer the value of their unused pass to the 2024-25 ski season. The deadline to do so will be Dec. 14, 2023.
As expected, both Ikon Pass and Ikon Base Pass holders will have unlimited access to Snow Valley, Alterra’s newly purchased Southern California ski area. Surprisingly, Alterra made the smart decision not to lump this in with Big Bear as a single “destination.”
The incredible child-pass discounts for the 5 to 12 age group return, making the full Ikon just $269 and the Ikon Base $199 with he purchase of an adult pass – though the child’s Base Plus is $419 even with the discount. Explain that one to me.
The widely hated Affirm payment plan is back, with interest rates ranging from zero percent to a usurious 36 percent (Vail and Indy offer zero interest for everyone).
Ikon Pass holders now receive a free one-year subscription to Outside+, a $59 value, as well as a one-year, $20-level Protect Our Winters membership.
Additional benefits include 20 percent off a $200 or more purchase of North Face gear and two Smith eyewear discount codes.
And here is when spring access begins at Alterra’s owned mountains for new 2023-24 passholders:
With Ikon Passes live, all four national ski passes have laid out their 2023-24 offerings. Click through for my breakdowns of Mountain Collective, Indy, and Epic. I’ll do a comparison post soon.
Compared to last year’s seismic Ikon Pass announcement – which included three new partners (and the high drama of Sun Valley and Snowbasin fleeing Epic for Ikon), Crystal moving off the unlimited tier for the full Ikon, and Alta and Deer Valley ditching Base for Base Plus – this is a fairly standard here’s-how-much-it-will-cost-you-to-go-skiing-next-season update. Still, it’s worth digging in a bit more to look at what this announcement means for skiers and the 2023-24 multi-mountain pass landscape as a whole:
Below the paid subscriber jump: analyzing the change in Base Pass access, is Mountain Collective now a better Ikon Base than the Ikon Base?, lots to like in next year’s offerings, and more.