Ikon pass, Epic Pass, Local pass… & what it means going forward
Good, Bad or Both?
The days of the local ski hill pass are dying. Some would argue dead already.
Doesn’t mean you won’t ski there at all, just means you’re probably not buying a pass there…or are you?
Smaller mountains are having to get increasingly more creative to bring wide ranging interest to their product. What do you do then? Do you fight it, stay independent and lean on the loyalists & locals? Do you sell out? Or, do you have other viable options?
The answer per usual, is probably somewhere in the middle. Create value for your locals, be creative, and if the opportunity comes to be part of something bigger… make the call.
My question remains…is it a good thing or a bad thing?
It’s not new by any means. The ski industry like many others has always been big on conglomerates or groupings of different brands. It only makes sense, if a formula works for one company, why wouldn’t it work for many? Look at your favorite medium to large sized brands. K2, Line, Full-Tilt, Dalbello, BCA & Volkl are all under the Kohlberg & Co. umbrella, same with the “AMER hammer” in Salomon, Atomic, & Armada… and so on.
I’m aware that this is not the exact same thing, but it’s the same idea.
Ikon, Epic, Mountain Collective…all the way down to smaller more specific group passes like Indy Pass, Drifter, Powder Alliance, New England Pass… all compete in the same world. So where does that leave everyone else?
More and more of your favorite local hills are getting scooped up on the regular to avoid having to close doors entirely. Even the bigger resorts are being bought out and succumbing to forced participation.
Now skiers have every *affordable* option to ski a variety of new places like they have never before. Why would a college student purchase a $400 pass to their local hill instead of a $400 (insert group pass name here) that opens up all the new terrain they could want access to? Even for adults, the deals are seemingly too good to pass up.
So now is it a race to the bottom, or a race to the buy? I’ve got a bit of a pessimistic outlook on all of this… but I will say; more people are traveling to ski than ive ever seen in my lifetime, and there’s no doubt that Epic & Ikon are driving that.
What say you?