Ikon vs Epic ... Why Choose?

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by Philpug, Apr 5, 2018.

  1. Skiscouse

    Skiscouse Booting up Skier

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    Yep, Ray, looking at the pricing if I do 7 days or less at Whistler (and nothing else EPIC related) then getting the day passes and/or getting a deal with lodging and tickets discounted looks like my best bet. That also gives me the flexibilty of not going to Whistler if they are having a bad year. I'd hate to get the Epic and not use it (which almost happened this year).

    The math is tight enough, however, that I almost have to agree with someone further up the thread - get both and be done with it. I'm not in PhilPug's league (yet) where I'll be getting 50-100 days at all kinds of resorts, but I can probably get
     
  2. RJS

    RJS Getting off the lift Skier

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    Truly first world problems :roflmao:!

    I liked Kicking Horse better than Revelstoke too, but I'm not sure that I liked it better enough personally for me to justify buying two passes...but all the power to you if you do so :). Kicking Horse is unreal, so I would completely understand. It's definitely underrated. I really want to check out the new Ozone terrain. Of all of the mountains that could greatly improve with a couple of new strategically placed lifts (or the addition of a gondola mid-station), Kicking Horse is high up that list.
     
  3. raytseng

    raytseng Out on the slopes Skier

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    all the CAD resorts (save WB) are not too expensive due to USD power; so unless you have huge trip planned, don't feel you need to lock it in.

    Kicking horse very cool! even though I was basing in banff/lake louise for a short trip on the Ikon
     
  4. Ski&ride

    Ski&ride Putting on skis Skier

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    I would put it slightly differently.

    If you’re planning a WB trip, you’ll come out ahead. The rest of Canadian mountain, you’ll at least break even.

    That’s assuming you’ll do at least a few days in the US near wherever you live.
     
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  5. raytseng

    raytseng Out on the slopes Skier

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    Remember if you really are a visitor planning a whole trip, if you book lodging at WB, then you'll get some access to reduced rates or ski-stay packages which washes the math out a bit more compared to window rates.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019


  6. Ski&ride

    Ski&ride Putting on skis Skier

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    Yes and no.

    For a couple prrhaps. But for solo travelers, many of the “package” don’t save much.

    I found it the other way around. I was often able to “decompose” a ski and stay package and get some additional lodging discounts if I already have a pass.
     
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  7. raytseng

    raytseng Out on the slopes Skier

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    Agree, I think we're on the same page

    Just pointing out that it's not going to be as bad in CAD; as compared to say Vail Mothership, where you better be planning passes ahead or get financially hit hard
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
  8. gilligan

    gilligan Booting up Skier

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    I contemplated buying both passes because my local mountain is Crystal (Ikon) and I usually make two to three trips to Whistler (Epic) every year. But since I'm a Washington State resident I can get a 5-day Edge card for $330 that includes unlimited skiing through Dec 13 at Whistler. My in-laws live in the Vancouver area so I can day- trip to Whistler early season from their house two or three times. Along with a planned five-day trip in January, I can get at least 7 or 8 days total at Whistler next season with the Edge card. I have two trips planned with the Ikon, Banff mid-winter and Mammoth or Squaw in the spring. Just wish I had an unlimited travel budget and the time off from work to utilize both!
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2019
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  9. RJS

    RJS Getting off the lift Skier

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    Don't we all :D!
     
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  10. David Chaus

    David Chaus If I am skiing the world is a perfect place. Skier

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    I much prefer Crystal Mt to Stevens Pass, so for me getting Ikon would be a no-brainer, and the other mountains on the Ikon pass appeal to me more than most of the mountains on Epic pass. However, I live about an hour closer to Stevens, Crystal is far away enough to make it impractical as a “home” mountain.

    Stevens is where I’ve been a part-time instructor for an independent ski school. We still don’t know if we’ll be allowed to operate at Stevens for 2019-2020, so the Training Director sent out a an email advising us to obtain an Epic Pass now while prices are lowest, and then if we do operate next year Stevens can refund the difference between what we paid and the reduced concession pass.

    Nonetheless I’m finding it hard to make myself cough up the money for an Epic Pass, not sure why. Can’t make myself do it today. Maybe tomorrow.

    Or I could decide to teach for Stevens Pass/Vail next season and get a free employee Epic pass. Somehow that would make it OK in my mind? :huh:
     
  11. Mike Rogers

    Mike Rogers Getting off the lift Skier

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    If you go with IKON, and aren't interested in EPIC resorts other than KH or Fernie, you might want to consider the RCR Rockies Card. It costs 110, and this covers your first day's lift tickets. Day 2 and 3 are 20 bucks off, and 4 is free. So, worth it if you can do 4 days. Days 5 and 6 are 20 off too, and 7 free, but that's a lot of RCR.

    With the card, you will get 4 days of skiing for 290 CAD, or less than 220 USD, Not a crazy add on to a Banff/Revelstoke trip.

    Or, if you love EPIC, but not IKON. Get the EPIC pass and a Sunshine card which has similar deals for Sunshine, Revelstoke and Castle (good to see if you are in the Fernie region). You would be paying full price for Louise, but that's not too awful. (Louise's discount card includes Panorama, Red, Schweitzer and Silver Star).


    Personally, I love Kicking Horse. I have the RCR Super Pass which gives me unlimited access to Kicking Horse, Fernie, and Lake Louise (and Nakiska and Kimberley), but does not qualify for reciprocals with IKON, Mountain Collective, or EPIC. Lake Louise and RCR on one pass is some kind of unholy alliance.
     
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  12. LewyM

    LewyM Getting on the lift Skier

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    This is the scenario I contemplate but will probably decline. I have a Crystal pass which became Ikon. I had a Crystal pass before, I'll have a Crystal pass in the future.

    In theory I'd like to drive up to Whistler once or twice a season at the last minute. This year, we went up once, bought 2 day Edge cards. We were committed with friends. It felt like a ripoff, but even without an Edge card, pre-purchasing 2-3 days online is better than buying an Epic product if you aren't using it otherwise. The 5 day Edge card sort of makes sense, if you do an early December trip and use a couple days (2 of 5) at Stevens. But even though I like Stevens, grew up skiing there and consider it a "home," a day at Stevens isn't really a "savings" when I already have Crystal passes, prefer Crystal's terrain and definitely prefer to avoid the weekend drama of parking and Highway 2. But those are decisions I typically would not make more than a week in advance. So my answer is probably to forget about Whistler for a while and focus on Crystal + Ikon locations. Or indies where the lift cost is either inexpensive or packaged up attractively with lodging.

    But the skiing duopoly is definitely changing behavior. I am typing this from Squaw Valley. . . typically this would have been a Spring Whistler trip. But when you consider the expenses all-in (including the absurd daily parking charges at Whistler hotels), it was a no-brainer to fly to Reno and ski Squaw/Alpine this time.

    I am not surprised that Whistler skier days are off this season. Vail is good at many things, but they don't yet understand how to tap a "secondary" local market like Seattle to Whistler. Rather than create incentives for us to come up during non-peak season, midweek and fill beds and the Village, they've treated Seattle more like they treat the Denver market and created disincentives for anyone who doesn't buy into the Epic universe early. You are either in or out. And then, Alterra came in and effectively divided the Seattle market, creating incentives to go elsewhere. So that doubles the hurt. Again, I am not surprised that their numbers are off this season.

    Vail probably doesn't care, but eventually they might figure it out and create a somewhat compelling product for Crystal, Snoqualmie, Baker skiers again (like the old Edge card, with valuable re-load privileges, before Vail made it a thinly veiled multi-day ticket). One of the assets of Whistler is that it has a huge, growing, ski-focused secondary market with relatively easy access (or people conditioned to believe it is easy access; forgetting that it is effectively the same drive time to Sun Peaks at most times of the day, and all considered, easier to get to Alta/'Snowbird than either). But what made the old Edge Card compelling, and well-tuned to the dynamic of the market and the variable weather environment, was the fact that some of the economic risk was shared. You bought into a certain number of discounted days, so the mountain locked you into a visit or two, but the re-load privileges were more than nominal (50% on a non-inflated daily rate) and incentivized return visits. I get that Vail isn't into risk sharing with its customers, but the point wasn't getting people to "buy" more full-price skiing. It was to fill beds and restaurant seats when they were otherwise under-utilized.

    When Vail took over WB, they not only raised prices across the board, they also de-incentivized the non-Epic universe. Up until this year, it might have worked out; we would have just paid once or twice a year, been annoyed at our friends who bought more Edge days early, and gotten on with it. But along comes Alterra, pulling in Crystal and Snoqualmie, and for half the Seattle market the incentives changed. Overnight, it became economically wiser to fly to UT or Tahoe or Big Sky. All short direct flights away (2 hr or less). So behavior changes this season, because from a skiing/hassle/quality perspective I'll take Alta'bird over WB every time. And at least this spring, Tahoe has more coverage and better weather. Off to go check out Squaw. . . .
     
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  13. David Chaus

    David Chaus If I am skiing the world is a perfect place. Skier

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    Well, I did it, I committed to getting an Epic Local pass for 19-20. Even if I never use it at Stevens, I could use 10 days at Whistler for less than an unrestricted 10 day Edge Card, and about the same as a restricted 10 day Edge Card. Whistler is the easiest major destination for me to get to, I can drive there in 3 1/2 to 4 hours. And, I probably will use quite a few days at Stevens, especially since I often leave some morning free during the midweek, spend 3-4 hours skiing and then head into my office to see clients.

    And, if I instruct in 19-20, I believe I will get the cost of the Epic pass refunded to me.

    So now, I’m debating getting an Ikon pass as well, particularly if I want to attend the Gathering. I looked at just getting a 5 of 7 days pass at Jackson on my J card, and it costs as much or more as the Ikon base pass.. I looked at the MCP, but it’s only $200 less than the Ikon, with only 3 days (by selecting Jackson as the bonus day) and if I used a couple of 50% days after the first 3, that pretty much leaves the difference at $50-80. Getting the Ikon would also allow some days at Summit at Snoqualmie, in addition to being able to go to Crystal.

    So, I’m mulling it over, It really depends on whether I decide to attend the Gathering. Weird, I had not though of myself as someone who would invest in two such passes. I can only do so much traveling for ski trips, so not like I would take advantage of too many other destinations.
     
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  14. James

    James Skiing the powder Instructor

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    So with Ikon do you get any discount buying more lift tickets after the 5 days at a resort? Or is it just the "friends and family discount passes"?
     
  15. Thread Starter
    TS
    Philpug

    Philpug Enjoying being back on two skis. Admin Pugski Ski Tester

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    Just friends and family discounts.
     
  16. Stev

    Stev Out on the slopes Skier

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  17. DanoT

    DanoT RVer-Skier Skier

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    Location:
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    Jackson Hole offers 7 and 10day passes.
    https://www.jacksonhole.com/season-pass.html

    Another way to get cheap day tickets at Whistler is to take advantage of the exclusive reciprocal deal that Sun Peaks has with Whistler: pass holders at either mountain get half price lift tickets at the other mountain. So a Sun Peaks pass, purchased by the end of June for $900CAD (less than $675 US) gets you half off lift tickets at Whistler.

    And during the Xmas holidays Sun Peaks is way, way less crowded (4,270 skiable acres and a lift system that spreads skiers out) and less expensive than WB. But with around 7000 beds on mountain (most ski in/out) Sun Peaks usually gets fully booked at Xmas. By comparison WB has 8,100 skiable acres, 62,000 beds on mountain and 1.5 Million people living about 1.5 hours away.
     
  18. noncrazycanuck

    noncrazycanuck Getting off the lift Skier

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    works the other way as well,
    I see my senior season pass at Whistler has gone up to about 900 CAD this year.

    I always buy 2 of the inland cards as well. Each one is about the same as a single day ticket. first day fourth seventh days free, discounts all other days.
    Covers at least Revelstoke KH, Louise, Fernie and Castle and few others.
     

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