Is An Epic Pass Worth It For Skiing Families? Believe It
— Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Every year I plan to hit the slopes for at least three weekends, or a total of six glorious days of skiing. Do I want to ski more? Lord yes. Is the reality of being a skier with two kids who lives hours from a passable ski resort a rather large barrier to entry? Don’t I know it.
It used to be every year when I saw the ads and emails tantalizing me with discounted multi-mountain passes, like the Epic Pass, Ikon Pass, Mountain Collective, and Indy Pass, I’d jump to action. I’d look, do some calculations, and dream a little dream. I’d then buy a pass and enjoy my season. But since my son was born six years ago, I stop at the dream. I worry the sizable chunk of money for these passes would go unused. But not buying them kills any motivation and momentum to take the family on a ski trip.
The chance to get an Epic Pass, I was recently reminded, ends on December 1. So I must now choose the number of days that my family will be skiing, do some calculations, and get a pass that could both save my family money and motivate us to, well, go on a proper ski vacation this year. That’s my theory at least. It’s why I’m going home and laying out our winter vacation plans after the Thanksgiving feast and getting my sh*t together before the Epic Pass deals disappear.
To note, I’m focused on the Epic Pass for a reason. It’s got the mountains nearest me (I live in the northeast and frequent the Poconos) as well as access to the Rockies, Tahoe, and Park City — places I love to shred. The other mountain passes — Ikon, Mountain Collective, and Indy — all have their merits (The Points Guy can help you to make your choice.) That said, my numbers are all based around the Epic Pass. And the math speaks plainly.
Let’s break it down: If I’m to go to Jack Frost ($64 per day x 2 adults + $54 per day x 2 kids ) two days this year, Hunter for one day ($89 per day x 2 adults + $68 per day x 2 kids), and Breckenridge for three days ($279 per day x 2 adults + $132 per day x 2 kids), that will cost me a total of $3254 for the family. Six peak days on Epic Pass for the family will run me $2084. That’s $1170 less. A good chunk of change.
Traveling with kids can be a chore. As we laid out in our Travel Issue this year, a vacation is always worth it, and it never feels that way in the planning. So when something can help you lock in those plans (I’ve got a ski pass that we need to use!) it’s just a little motivation for parents to do the hard part. It’s an investment in, well, future me and my family of skiers.