One of the most common questions you are likely to be asked as a Coloradan in winter time is a simple one: Epic or Ikon? These two main-contenders dominate the American ski-pass market, and each respectively grant you access to multiple great mountains all over Colorado. With that being said, there are other options besides just these two that you may not know about. Take a look at our guide below so you can choose for which pass is best for you and your family.

Full & Local Passes

Colorado Resorts: Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek, Crested Butte, Telluride (7 total days)

Last Date to Buy: Sunday, November 24th

Price: Adult $989 (13+) | Child $519 (5-12) | Military (active, dependent, retired, retired dependent) $199 | Children 4 & under ski free at Epic resorts

The Epic Pass gives you access to a staggering 60 resorts located all around the world, with 6 of them being some of the best Colorado has to offer. With unlimited access to the conveniently-located Keystone, Breckenridge and Vail, this pass is extremely popular with Denver locals. Having access to all of these mountains completely assures that there will be plenty of terrain to keep skiers and riders of all skill levels entertained for the whole season!

For all Colorado mountains listed above (besides Telluride), the Epic Pass offers completely unlimited & unrestricted riding & sking. This means no black out dates & no worries about when you can hit the mountains, which is also true for Telluride (although you are limited to 7 days total). Some of the other amazing resorts that are not local to Colorado that are included with this pass are:

Whistler Blackcomb, BC | Park City, UT | Heavenly, CA/NV | Northstar, CA | Kirkwood, CA | Snowbasin, UT | Sun Valley, ID | and much more!

Some of the unique features to this pass is the only night skiing in all of Colorado at Keystone and extended Spring skiing at Breckenridge. This past 2018/19 season, Breck was open until June 9th! That means getting an Epic pass will allow you to be skiing the majority of months out of the year right here in Colorado.

Epic is also a great choice for Military, offering a full pass for only $199 for all active & retired military, along with their dependants!

Colorado Resorts: Breckenridge, Keystone, Crested Butte, Vail & Beaver Creek (10 total days between both resorts)

Last Date to Buy: Sunday, November 24th

Price: Adult $739 (19+) | Teen $589 (13-18)| Child $389 (5-12)

Looking to keep it mostly local this winter, with maybe one or two big trips? If this sounds like you, Epic Local might be a better option. The Epic Local allows you unlimited & unrestricted skiing & riding at Breckenridge, Keystone, and Crested Butte, along with 10 total days at both Vail and Beaver Creek. Most other unrestricted mountains are not quite destination areas, however you do get some great restricted-benefits detailed below:

Limited Restrictions (specific black-out dates): Park City, UT | Northstar, CA | Stowe, VT | Heavenly, CA/NV | Kirkwood, CA

10 total, holiday-restricted days: Vail, CO | Beaver Creek, CO | Whistler Blackcomb, BC

2 total, holiday-restricted days: Sun Valley, ID | Snowbasin, UT

Along with these perks, you also get additional discount tickets, lodging, and more. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can also get 5 total days at Hakuba Valley’s ten ski resorts in Japan!

Colorado Resorts: Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Eldora Mountain, Aspen Snowmass (7 days total), Arapahoe Basin (7 days total)

Last Date to Buy: TBD (early-mid December)

Price: Adult $1099 (23+) | Young Adult $859 (13-22) | Child $459 (5-12) | 4 and Under $49 (0-4) | Military/College $799

Featuring 41 world-class resorts around the globe, the Ikon Pass also hosts some of the best Mountains in Colorado. With Ikon, you will be granted unlimited & unrestricted access to Winter Park, Copper Mountain and Eldora Mountain. With all of these options being less than an hour and a half from Denver, it is a great choice for weekend-warriors in the city. This pass is also the favorite for Boulder locals, as Eldora is only a 45 minute drive away (and you don’t have to deal with the infamous I-70 ski traffic!).

Beyond the full, unrestricted mountains in Colorado, you also get 7 days total at Aspen and Arapahoe Basin each. If this wasn’t enough to keep you going for a whole season, some other amazing resorts included in this pass are:

Big Sky, MT | Jackson Hole, WY | Revelstoke Mountain, BC | Cypress, BC | Taos, NM | Deer Valley, UT | Brighton, UT | just to name a few!

Some other great perks of an Ikon Pass are friends & family discounts (10 separate 25% off lift ticket coupons), exclusive retail, food & beverage discounts, early-booking for heli-skiing and various summer adventures, and more. While the last day to buy is still to be determined, typically you have much longer to wait than with the Epic Pass. In past seasons, the last day to buy the Ikon has been early-mid December.

Ikon is a great choice for families with one or more kids in the 5-12 age group as well as 13-22, as they offer steeply discounted passes that will save families a good chunk of change.

Colorado Resorts: Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Eldora Mountain, Aspen (5 days total), Steamboat (5 days total), Arapahoe Basin (5 days total)

Last Date to Buy: TBD (early-mid December)

Price: Adult $799 (23+) | Young Adult $639 (13-22) | Child $419 (5-12) | 4 and Under $49 (0-4) | Military/College $599

Similar to the Epic Local, the Ikon Base is great for Coloradans who are going to be sticking near their favorite mountains with the occasional trip here and there. If you know you’re going to be sticking to Winter Park, Copper and/or Eldora this season, consider saving some money and grabbing an Ikon Base Pass. The other resorts you can access without any restrictions are:

Squaw Valley, CA | Mammoth Mountain, CA | June Mountain, CA | Big Bear Mountain, CA | Snowshoe, WV | Crystal Mountain, WA | Tremblant, QC | Blue Mountain, ON | Solitude Mountain, UT

Beyond this, the 5 days at each of the 28 total limited-restriction resorts will assure that you have plenty to ski and ride this season. You still get great benefits with this pass as well that include lift tickets, food, drink, lodging and more!

Independent / Single Resorts

Resorts: Keystone (unlimited w/ holiday restrictions), Breckenridge (unlimited after 4/1/2020), Crested Butte (5 total holiday-restricted days)

Last Date to Buy: Sunday, November 24th

Price: Adult $409 (13+) | Child $299 (5-12)

If you aren’t planning on getting out much this season (or just love Keystone), this pass could be the perfect choice. Featuring close proximity to Denver and over 3,000 acres of world-class terrain, Keystone is one of Colorado’s most beloved resorts. With the Keystone Plus Pass, you can get unlimited access to Keystone minus a few holiday-restricted dates…and to be honest, you probably wouldn’t want to ski those restricted dates anyways due to the huge crowds. At only $409 for adults, this pass pays for itself in only a few visits.

Resorts: Keystone (unlimited), Breckenridge (limited holiday restrictions)

Last Date to Buy: Sunday, November 24th

Price: Adult $599 (19+) | Child $349 (5-12) | Teen $489 (13-18)

Perfect for Denver weekend-warriors who want a little more than just the Keystone Plus Pass, the Summit Value Pass offers completely unlimited access to Keystone, along with unlimited Breckenridge access with minimal holiday-restricted blackout dates. Having access to two of the top ski resorts in the entire country is a steal for the price! This pass is great for families who don’t want to break the bank this season, but still want to get ride on plenty of diverse terrain that will never get old.

Colorado Resorts: Loveland (unlimited), 3 Days Each at: Monarch Mountain, Purgatory, Powderhorn, Ski Cooper, Granby Ranch, Sunlight Ski Area

Last Date to Buy: TBD

Price: Adult $439 (23-69) | Young Adult $309 (15-22) | Child $189 (6-14) | Seniors $99 (70+)

Looking to get away from the corporate-run resorts and the crowds that they come with? Consider skiing independant at Loveland Ski Resort! While only being about an hour away from Downtown Denver, this resort offers amazing skiing that we can promise will never get old. Beyond getting unlimited & unrestricted days at Loveland, this pass is a part of the Powder Alliance, which includes three days each at 6 other independent resorts in Colorado, along with many others around the country. The Powder Alliance is a fantastic partnership that allows you to explore some amazing, smaller resorts around Colorado where you can find diverse terrain for all skill levels and substantially less crowds than Epic/Ikon resorts.

Colorado Resorts: Echo Mountain

Last Date to Buy: None

Price: Adult $279 (18-64) | Junior $219 (13-17) | Child $179 (6-12) | Seniors $259 (65+) | Military $99

Echo Mountain is the closest resort to Denver, and while small, offers some of the cheapest season passes you will find at any mountain. At only $279 for adults, this pass is a steal and a great option for families on a budget. We specifically recommend this pass for families who don’t ski/ride much or aren’t into particularly hard terrain. If this sounds like you, this is a great mountain that isn’t crowded and offers mellow terrain that is great for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. This is a fantastic option for families teaching young kids how to ski this season! Echo Mountain also offers a family pass that includes two adult and two child passes for only $799!

Colorado Resorts: Eldora (unlimited), 3 Days Each at: Purgatory & Hesperus

Last Date to Buy: None

Price: Adult $539 (18-69) | Teen $389 (13-17) | Child $279 (5-12) | Seniors $389 (70+) | Military $409

Located in Nederland, Eldora Season Pass is perfect for Boulder locals who don’t feel the need to ski/ride many different resorts this season. Eldora is only about 20 miles from Boulder and roughly a 45 minute drive. If this isn’t enough of a selling point, consider that you do not need to take I-70 to get there, which allows you to skip out on the infamous I-70 ski traffic that we see every winter. While it’s not much more to purchase an Ikon Base Pass, if you know you’re only going to hit Eldora with maybe a weekend trip or two to Purgatory or Hesperus, this is the option for you.

We hope this guide has helped you narrow down the important choice all skiers & riders need to make this season! If you enjoyed this article, take a look at some other topics that might interest you below: