Telluride Renews Epic Pass Partnership with Vail Resorts
Vail halts its partner exodus as rivals accelerate growth
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What happens when all the Cool Kids stop coming to your parties? You were it and you kind of had this whole thing but then Ikon built like this fucking mansion down the road and now that was the spot. A-Basin bounced first and whatever because Keystone and Breck still had to be your friend because they already moved into the house they couldn’t leave on account of having those ankle-tracker things attached. But then Sun Valley and Snowbasin did the same and you’re like “what the hell man I thought we were cool?” And the question then everyone was asking was “hmmm Telluride is pretty hot maybe it’s moving its game to Chateau Ikon next.” That was the rumor and all summer long it seemed like the Big Box Canyon at the End of the Road was on its way from Broomfield to Denver.
Not happening. Today, Vail Resorts and Telluride renewed their partnership for an undisclosed number of years. The terms remain the same: Full Epic Pass holders get seven days at Telluride with no blackouts. Four-to-seven-day Epic Day Pass holders with “all resorts” access can also redeem those days at Telluride. Telluride season passholders get half of Vail Resorts lift tickets, which sounds like a deal but half off $275 is still too much money for one day of skiing.
So the Epic Pass seems to have stabilized its external partner roster after the exodus of recent years. It was crucial that the company do this. Vail’s big-mountain competitors continue adding partners at a furious rate. Ikon Pass has added seven new partners for the 2022-23 ski season, including Chamonix, Snowbasin, Sun Valley, Panorama, Lotte Arai (Japan), and, just today, Sun Peaks, the second-largest ski area in Canada, and Grandvalira, a three-resort monster in Andorra. Mountain Collective has added five new mountains: Le Massif in Quebec, Marmot Basin in Alberta, Sugar Bowl, and, of course, Sun Valley and Snowbasin, which returned after a three-year Epic vacation.
Vail’s partner growth, meanwhile, has stalled. The company continues to purchase resorts, of course, and Andermatt-Sedrun and the Pennsylvania trio of Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, and Laurel will join the Epic Pass for the first time this season. But as Ikon stacks trophies in its poolroom, Vail’s party is thinning out. The North American partner roster is down to Telluride and the fabulous Resorts of the Canadian Rockies, with their Powder Highway monsters Kicking Horse and Fernie. There’s not much left to grab, and Epic had to hold onto this one.
With the deal done, it’s worth taking a closer look at this announcement and what it means for Telluride, the Epic Pass, and skiing in general:
Below the paid subscriber jump: a breakdown of Telluride, thoughts on the partnership and what it means for Vail, where the company goes next, owning my dumbassery, and more.