The Epic Pass and its variations have been around for while. Options include the full Epic, Epic Local, Tahoe Local, Tahoe Value, Summit Value, Keystone A-Basin -- according to the website, 17 options in all, with access to 64 resorts all over the world. It's confusing to try to pick even one of these, and now there is a shiny new alternative in the very competitive Ikon Pass, which gives you two simpler options and 26 resorts primarily in the United States and Canada. So, which do you choose?

I am going to take a different approach here and ask, "Why ask which one? Buy BOTH!" Sure, it's easy for me to spend your money: you have been letting me do it for years and rarely have I failed you, so we will continue with what works. I will not start with, "You can buy both for as little as …." No, I am saying you can have pretty much unlimited skiing at 90 world-class resorts for $1,898, which is less than a pass to just one resort used to cost.

How much is it worth to basically double your pleasure, double your fun and not have to choose? Well, do you really need that fourth -- or fifth -- pair of skis? Will you really use one more 20k/20k Arc'teryx kit? But what about access to sooo many more ski areas? I gave you the high-water mark of almost $2,000, but in reality it could be a lot less. For the East, if you buy the Epic Local and Ikon Base passes, for $1,268* you would have unlimited skiing at Stowe and five to seven days at Okemo, Sunapee, Killington, Sugarbush, Stratton, and Loon/Sugarloaf/Sunday River (split between them). That is 30 days of skiing before you even add the unlimited access to Stowe, and it doesn't include other perks such as access to Breckenridge, A-Basin, Northstar, Heavenly, Park City, and many other western resorts. So, forget that pair of skis; most likely they will just sit in the corner until you unload them at the end of the season, anyway.

If you ski Tahoe, your deal is even better. Again, for as low as $1,088* (if you don’t ski holidays), you can have access to Squaw/Alpine, Northstar, Heavenly, and Kirkwood -- plus, if you are amenable to the three-hour drive, Mammoth and June Mountain. We haven't even started with Utah, Colorado, and more. Again, it's a no-brainer. Do you really need to hit the swaps in the fall or stop three times at the Patagucci outlet. No!

I would get into Colorado, but there are so many different options there that I don’t have the bandwidth (and quite frankly, I want to avoid the "yeah, buts ….").

So maybe these passes aren't ideal for your exact situation, which is the case for us. We ski Mt Rose a lot; its pass costs almost as much as the Ikon Base Pass, and that is just for one area. Will we not buy a Rose past next year to go along with the Ikon? Hell yeah, we will. So the question I will lay out there: Why are you being pennywise and thousands-of-acres-of-awesome-skiing foolish? Really, what is more valuable, an extra pair of skis or the memories of hitting one resort on a powder day when its neighboring resort down the road got missed by the same storm?

*Early purchase prices; will adjust when prices change.