The Upside/Down side of Multi-Area Passes

joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
in NELSAP Forum Posts: 1,743
On some level, multi-area passes are great.  Consider the Peak Resorts Pass.  If one lives in the greater Boston area, you've got Crotched close-by, Wildcat for its gnarl, Mt. Snow for its poshness - and Attitash which has its own character and merits.  

They provide variety with economy.  However, having that variety available on one pass, it sure elevates the barrier for those who have a bit of wanderlust and really want to explore the breadth of ski country.

Your thoughts on Multi-area passes? 


Comments

  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 123
    I agree.  
    This season I had the Max Pass, which is really the most multi of the multi-mountain passes.  It worked out great.  I skied 5 days at Loon, which I can see out my window but never go there.  I skied 3 days at Sunday River, which is one of my all time favorites but I don't go often anymore because I'm closer to Cannon.  I went to Killington and still plan some late-season days there.  I got 11 days, at 4 areas in Canada.  We booked that trip specifically to capitalize on the Max Pass. All in all the per day cost on Max Pass was ~$30.   That is the pros.

    The above all sounds great, and seems like a no-brainer to repeat the purchase this year.  BUT...the cons.  For all of that great skiing and diversity what I missed was Wildcat, Burke, Jay, Bretton Woods, etc.  There were a lot of times when the Max Pass in hand was the driving factor about where I went.

    So, based on those pros/cons, I'm skipping the Max Pass and all multi-Mtn passes next year.  Sticking with Cannon pass only. Then I'll consider the $630 (Max pass amount) to be my free spending budget to go wherever I want any given day. 


  • ski_itski_it expert
    Posts: 1,683
    "There were a lot of times when the Max Pass in hand was the driving factor about where I went."
    Same here, even more so when several family members had the same pass.
    My first year ever on a pass, a Peak Pass. I never bought a pass before because: A - I'm a flatlander and usually working. B - I like diversity. But when they offered 2 days $150 off at Wildcat last season plus this season it seemed like a no brainer.

    I talked to another Max Pass holder last weekend and it worked out great for him, so I'm going to take a hard look at it. But if course he was a single young un,(I think) with what appeared to be a lot of discretionary income and friends to crash at to be able to travel around North America.... Cannonball were u in a brewery in Providence last Saturday?

    Pros:
    If it wasn't a multi area pass I wouldn't have bought it.
    Cons: it's the driving factor where I went.

    ISNE-I Skied New England | NESAP-the New England Ski Area Project | SOSA-Saving Our Ski Areas - Location SW of Boston MA
  • NELSBEERNELSBEER advanced
    Posts: 243
    For retired seniors there are a few short cuts.to economical skiing....assuming you prefer little amenities like up front parking, no lift lines, first tracks all morning, free seats for dining and a 'crowd' small enough to make friends.

    Cannon for NH Seniors (65+) is free weekdays.
    The Peak Pass does not offer a senior pass, but the next best thing is their Weekday pass... $299  ($99.00 down) if bought by the end of the month. Valid weekends too late season. Seems to be only major pass with this feature.
    A Macintyre senior season pass plus a Freedom Pass Add on round it with a number of smaller places including weekends.

    ..or if you don't mind skiing a lot, join Ski Patrol & see the world. My choice,  115 days of skiing, no cost for lift tickets this year. But I will need new boots, wore out my old ones in 2 seasons. 
  • CannonballCannonball advanced
    Posts: 123
    Haha, wasn't me, I was not at a brewery in Providence. And that doesn't really describe me. Not a "young-un" for sure! My pass purchase decisions are also a little more complicated. I buy for me, my wife, and my 3 nephews. So a lot goes into the decision making each season as the kids enter different age categories and school commitments.
  • JimKJimK advanced
    edited April 27 Posts: 215
    I've been through a lot of phases in my 50 years of skiing.  
    -youngster following my folks on day trips, weekends, and the rare longer family trip
    -young adult with season pass and my folk's ski house, concentrating on one ski area, with rare trips elsewhere
    -family man with no season pass, day tripping with my kids and cherry picking ski days at various local ski areas, rare longer trips with my family
    -semi-retired older dude traveling widely

    In recent years I've shifted from a mostly a day-ski skier to primarily a destination skier.  The multi-area pass is a good deal for folks like me.  Can build several long trips around visiting multiple big ski areas out west.  The upside is some great skiing at great places.  Downside is all the extra expenses of traveling far from home.

    The emergence of multi-area passes like EpicPass, Max Pass, MCP, Peaks Pass, etc. have caused a nice opportunity for folks to ski more places at a good savings on lift tickets costs.  They have caused season pass prices to drop at many individual ski areas in almost all parts of the US.  I'm concerned with how well the independent/family owned ski areas cope with this evolution?  Those with some sort of advantage like good proximity to an urban area such as Wawa or Loveland seem to be doing well, but others could get left in the dust.  Less competition usually leads in the long run to fewer choices and higher costs for customers.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,078
    Another downside is fragmentation in ski groups.  Within my crew we have guys who wind up spending the day at different places, for example in December we had some guys at Okemo using the MAX pass, and others at Sugarbush using a Warren Miller voucher.  It wasn't the end of the world, but it is more enjoyable to have the entire team together.


  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 255
    I would think weekend crowds have gotta be, or will soon become, a problem, particularly when the skiing is good. ASC areas were complete zoos when they had their A41 pass that was ludicrously cheap. Goodness knows that a cheap Stowe pass next year with perks for destination trips would be amazing... but that is what everyone is thinking. The multi-area passes can certainly make for a cheap season if you don't mind skiing at the busiest areas and not skiing many areas that off more character and less resort vibe. I don't see myself buying into the multi-area passes unless I can link it with a trip out west.
  • bobbuttsbobbutts intermediate
    Posts: 96
    It's a nice perk if your home resort offers it and the price isn't too high.  I almost pulled the trigger on Peak Pass but the Ragged $250 full pass was too tempting.  The biggest factor for me was that outside CM (40 min) the other places are a haul compared to resorts off of 93 and 89. 
    I think my first pass was a 90's ASC which was great living in W. MA.  Being able to choose from Mt. Snow, Killington, Bush gave lots of options as far as drive time, terrain variety, weather.  I don't think I made it to any of the NH/ME places on those though.  More recently I've had Bold and Beautiful, Boyne, and SOS, with those I generally stuck to Cannon,  Loon, and Sunapee but made it once or twice to the other places with each.
    When I lived in Tahoe before the Vail resorts days I paid between $1k and $1,500 for full Heavenly only passes each year.. ouch.
  • JimKJimK advanced
    Posts: 215
    What adds a further dimension to this upside/downside question is a situation like Stowe in 2017-18 when a multi-area season pass including Stowe will become cheaper than previous Stowe-only season passes. This seems like a pretty nice development for the frequent Stowe skier, although do you think locals and long-time Stowe pass holders would rather pay more for less crowded slopes? Would you guys agree that over the last 10-20 years in relative terms adjusted for inflation season pass costs have gone down while day ticket prices not so much?
  • joshua_segaljoshua_segal expert
    Posts: 1,743
    riverc0il said:

    I would think weekend crowds have gotta be, or will soon become, a problem, particularly when the skiing is good. ASC areas were complete zoos when they had their A41 pass that was ludicrously cheap. Goodness knows that a cheap Stowe pass next year with perks for destination trips would be amazing... but that is what everyone is thinking. The multi-area passes can certainly make for a cheap season if you don't mind skiing at the busiest areas and not skiing many areas that off more character and less resort vibe. I don't see myself buying into the multi-area passes unless I can link it with a trip out west.

    I agree.  The sub-30 year-old-crowd is having a great deal of difficulty affording skiing and the industry has been wooing them with real cheap season passes.  The net result will be some increase of revenue, but at huge cost to the comfort of skiers by turning the entire mountain into a WROD.

    Regarding Stowe: I was told that some of the better weekend days featured in excess of 10,000 skiers and parking was non-existent.  It shows that if you've got the product, people are willing to pay, even their $120+ fee.
  • riverc0ilriverc0il advanced
    Posts: 255
    Non-existent parking at Stowe seems to be par for the course since they decided real estate and lodging was more valuable than parking. If you build it, they will come. But they better get there early...
  • JimKJimK advanced
    Posts: 215
    Real good article on this subject from SAM:
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