Season Passes in the Ski Southeast Region: A Report on What Has Been Published

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by Brian Dix

Hello skiers and riders of the Southeast.

Not too long after my article regarding single day lift tickets costs was posted, which you can read here, I noticed the feedback and felt the impression that vital information was left out, which merits the need for a follow up.  In fact, Mike Doble praised my homework and then simply said “More please?!?!” while another reader named Mark Henzel emailed me to share details about a viable option called the Indy Pass that comes with great value.  I agree, and therefore have now gathered the intel regarding all seasons pass options within our region as best as I could.

Admittingly I should have thought about this earlier, because a lot of the rates were less expensive at the start of the offseason, but nonetheless you still have time to decide if any of these are adequate to your situation.

I obtained these figures from each resort’s websites, which you can find here at skisoutheast.com, and the information below is simply my best attempt to lassoing all the data into one spot.  You will notice a few spots left blank, and that is because the information was not present.  You will also notice that some of the larger nationwide passes are not included this chart, but I will highlight those further down.

What I am getting at (again) is that these numbers are what I found independently, are subject to change, might have an error somewhere, and are meant to be a guidance only.  You may need to contact the local resort to get specifics from them.  Anyhow, here is what I can share:

Safe to say that not all passes are created equally.  I understand that this information overload, but there are additional things to be noted.

North Carolina and Tennessee

Appalachian Ski Mountain:

  • Junior = 6 to 12 years
  • Senior = 60+
  • The 5 X 7 Pass is $480 for adults and can be used 5 days and 7 nights per week with the exceptions of holidays.

Beech Mountain Resort:

  • Senior = 65 to 69 years
  • 70+ years = $5
  •  Junior, Senior, and Military Weekday = $300
  • Local Student, Faculty and Staff Weekday (Valid for Lees-McRae College, Appalachian State, East Tennessee State, Watauga, and Avery County Schools) = $225

Cataloochee Ski Area:

  • Adult Limited Pass is $579 (Valid any day EXCEPT Saturday 8:30am to 6pm)
  • Indy Pass option too

Wolf Ridge Ski Resort:

  • Senior = 60 to 64
  • 65+ years = $5 for pass printing fee
  • Weekday is Monday through Friday for non-holiday

Ober Gatlinburg:

  • Prices shown are after Nov. 19th (They are less right now)
  • Indy Pass option too

West Virginia

Canaan Valley Resort:

  • Senior = 60 to 69 years
  • 70+ years = $50
  • WV residents get a discounted rate of $540 for adults; $310 for Junior; and $360 for Senior
  • Indy Pass option too

Snowshoe Mountain:

  • Silver Creek Only Pass = $259 and includes access to the Basin & Western Territory value season when Silver Creek is closed
  • IKON Pass option too

Timberline Mountain:

  • Multiple Pass Options
  • Gold Pass = Every Day
  • Silver Pass = Weekdays
  • Bronze Pass = Valid ONE day per week, Monday through Friday

Winterplace Ski Resort

  •     Indy Pass option too

Virginia and Maryland

Bryce Resort:

  • Indy Pass option too

Massanutten Resort:

  • Special Value Pass = $399
  • After December 11th
  • Restrictions on their busiest days prior to 4 PM (December 25 to January 1st) and all Saturdays January and February
  • 70+ years = Complimentary Special Value Ski Season pass with $19 processing fee per pass.
  • Military members (active, retired, & veterans) receive 10% off Full Season Adult pass
  • Ski Season Passes are currently unavailable for physical pick-up
  • Indy Pass option too

Wintergreen Resort:

  • Student = 6 to 22 years
  • Senior = 65 to 74 years
  • Honorary Ages (0 to 5 & 75+) = $21.22 Season Pass plus a $29 processing fee (AKA $50.22)
  • Season Plus Pass restrictions are similar to Massanutten Special Value, but can be upgraded before 4 PM with a $49 per skier “Density demand charge”
  • Sister Resort Program with unlimited access* to all North American PGRI resorts. Junior & Senior passes are subject to daily surcharge fees.

Wisp Resort:

  • Student = 6 to 22 years
  • Senior = 65 to 74 years
  • Honorary Ages (0 to 5 & 75+) = $21.22 Season Pass plus a $29 processing fee (AKA $50.22)
  • Season Plus Pass restrictions are similar to Massanutten Special Value, but can be upgraded before 4 PM with a $49 per skier “Density demand charge”
  • Sister Resort Program with unlimited access* to all North American PGRI resorts. Junior & Senior passes are subject to daily surcharge fees.
  • Wintergreen Resort with high demand surcharge of $49 December 25, 2021 through January 1, 2022 and Saturdays in January and February.
  • Powderhorn Mountain Resort (CO)
  • Ragged Mountain (NH)
  • Mt. Washington Alpine Resort (BC)

Four Letter, Two Consonant, Starts with a Vowel Season Passes

Perhaps they are aware, but those marketing experts at the major resort conglomerates have set an unwritten precedent that the name of a pass must fit within the parameters of the aforementioned title of this section. If that is the case, then perhaps I should snail mail myself a poor man’s copyright for the Avid Pass, Easy Pass, or Ugly Pass just in case one or more of them pop up someday.

For the 2021-2022 ski season the buzz surrounds three of them, all of which offer a lot of skiing and riding in multiple locations at relatively inexpensive rates.  These passes are sometimes tied to mega conglomerates such as Vail Resort (Epic Pass) or a smaller, yet competitive group called Alterra Mountain Company (Ikon Pass), but the third comes from an anti-Vail approach where independently owned locations are joining forces for a nomadic experience (Indy Pass).

I’ll start with the Epic Pass because none of our resorts fall under their umbrella.  This is a great pass if you want to travel to some of the biggest places in North America and even down under in Australia if turns in our summer months sound attractive, pending the Covid-19 restrictions loosen up some.  They have so many smaller pass packages to choose from based upon locations, but the main pass is currently advertised with a 20% discount for $819.

Next is the Ikon Pass, which Snowshoe is a part of.  They too have a variety of pass packages to choose from, and I advise you to go online to get all the fine details, such as which locations are listed for each option.  Again, this is a partnership pass with coast-to-coast and worldwide destinations in countries such as Japan, Chile, Switzerland, etc. Listed below is a generalization of what they show this is still available:

  • Ikon Pass: Unlimited access at 15 destinations and up to 7 days each at 31 destinations for $1,149
  • Ikon Base Pass: Unlimited access at 13 destinations and up to 5 days each at 31 destinations for $879.  Some places have blackout dates around Christmas to New Years, MLK Weekend, and Presidents Day Weekend
  • Ikon Session Pass 4-Day: Choose from 38 destinations, 4 days in total, $499

Finally up is the Indy Pass, which six of our own are a part of this unique concept.  Those six are Cataloochee, Ober Gatlinburg, Bryce Resort, Massanutten Resort, Canaan Valley resort, and Winterplace Ski Resort.

They advertise themselves as independent resorts in 28 states and provinces that offers quality skiing and riding within a few hours of most skiers in North America.  One catch is that they limit your visit for each location to two free lift tickets, but you can purchase a bonus day for 25% off the daily rate.  All you need to do is register your pass online, and then go to the resort ticket window to get the free lift ticket. Be sure to bring a photo ID as well.  They too have blackout dates, but not at Cataloochee or Ober Gatlinburg.  Lastly, they do not print a physical pass to carry, which apparently helps reduce the costs somewhat.  Keep your smart phones charged upon arrival until you get the daily lift ticket in hand.

North Carolina Ski Areas Association’s Gold Card

A pass for all the resorts in North Carolina without blackout dates for $950.  However, they limit the number of these to 100 in total, and they have sold out already.  I share this for future reference in case this is desired later on.

In Conclusion…

That is a lot to digest, especially right before the season begins around the Thanksgiving holiday break.  A general rule of thumb is somewhere between 7 to 10 days a season will justify the pass, but only if you routinely visit the places included.  If you ski or ride very frequently it is highly recommended that you do not pass on the pass.  Hopefully you have gone ahead and received one, but just in case, now is the time to act.  We have already set our clocks back to ski-time, and we will be seeing you on the slopes any day now.

 

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