It is the first European resort to join the alliance of resorts from North America. It already offers Australia, New Zealand Japan & South America.



It was only a matter of time before a European resort joined.

The Swiss resort of Zermatt is now the 41st resort on the pass and 5 continents are represented.

It will also allow skiing and snowboarding into the neighbouring Italian resort of Cervinia.

Ikon Pass holders will have seven-day access to Zermatt on the Ikon Pass with no blackout dates, and five-day access on the Ikon Base Pass, also with no blackout dates.

“The Matterhorn is a true icon known around the world, so we are thrilled to have Zermatt join the Ikon Pass community,” said Erik Forsell, Chief Marketing Officer for Alterra Mountain Company.

“Ikon Pass strives to continually offer pass holders unique experiences in the mountains. Now they can experience Zermatt’s glacier skiing, traditional Swiss fondue, plus its infamous European après ski across two countries, on one pass.”

Zermatt joins the IKON Pass

Zermatt joins the IKON Pass

“Zermatt and Matterhorn ski paradise is pleased to be the first European destination on the Ikon Pass,” said Sandra Zenhäusern, Director of Marketing, Zermatt Bergbahnen AG.

“We look forward to offering our best Swiss quality and Italian lifestyle to Ikon Pass holders everywhere. We are excited to share our passion and devotion to skiing within the Ikon Pass community and its impressive destination partners across the globe.”

Reaction has been swift.

“We’re delighted that Zermatt has decided to join the IKON group, ” said Rowena Phillips from the local ski school, Matterhorn Diamonds, as the news broke today.

“It will open up new possibilities with the US market and we’re looking forward to welcoming IKON pass holders to Zermatt this winter.”

Ikon Pass Stats

  • Destinations: 41
  • Continents: 5
  • US States: 12
  • Canadian Provinces: 4
  • Total Acres: 84,385
  • Trails: 4,857
  • Lifts: 719

The IKON Pass is a rival to the Epic Pass offered by Vail Resorts that already has relations with resorts in the Alps.

Not all are happy with the advance of the IKON Pass with locals in Aspen in Colorado claiming it brings too many people and it crowds the slopes and the transport system at peak periods.

Ikon across North America

Ikon across North America

PlanetSKI Analysis.
PlanetSKI ponders

PlanetSKI ponders


So, why has it happened?

It is surprisingly simple, but how the money (the crux of the matter) is divided up is anyone’s guess.

Zermatt is probably the most international ski resort in the Alps.

Possibly the world.

Like Chamonix in France it is known across the globe.

It looks beyond its domestic market and Europe to visitors from around the world.

It has focused heavily (and very successfully) on Asia in recent years and now it is concentrating further on the North American visitors – Canadians and Americans.

Hence the deal with Alterra and its IKON Pass.

The deal is simple for those across the Pond.

Buy your IKON pass for you local resort and you get Zermatt in for nothing.

It is perhaps the best ski resort in the world.

We  think so at PlanetSKI.

Except there is the  expense of getting to Europe and staying – but the headline offer is more than attractive.

For a European heading over to one of the IKON Pass resorts in North America it may be worth buying one so you can add on a cheeky extra trip to Zermatt with no extra ski pass required.

Bu that is not the main market.

The main reason for the deal is to get the North Americans in.

But just because they get a ‘free’ lift pass, will the lift company benefit?

The IKON Pass is lined up against the Epic Pass from Vail Resorts.

A few years ago St Anton was on the Epic Pass.

Thousands of Americans came over and the lift company was obliged to hand over free lift passes.

The beneficiaries were the hotels, the bars , the restaurants and the ski hire shops.

The lift company was not happy and binned the arrangement.

Lift companies do not like handing out free passes.

So, what exactly is the deal with IKON and Zermatt?

Why should the lift company hand over free passes for no obvious financial benefit?

We are making enquiries and will let you know.

The Ikon Pass It is a collaboration of Alterra Mountain Company, Aspen Skiing Company, Boyne Resorts, POWDR, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Alta Ski Area, Snowbird, SkiBig3, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, Taos Ski Valley, Sugarbush Resort, Zermatt, Thredbo, Mt Buller, Niseko United, Valle Nevado, and NZ Ski.
About Ikon Pass

The Ikon Pass includes Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat, Winter Park Resort, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and Eldora Mountain Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming; Big Sky Resort in Montana; Stratton, Killington and Sugarbush Resort in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia; Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain in Michigan; Crystal Mountain and The Summit at Snoqualmie in Washington; Tremblant in Quebec and Blue Mountain in Ontario, Canada; SkiBig3 in Alberta, Canada; Revelstoke Mountain Resort and Cypress Mountain in British Columbia, Canada; Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine; Loon Mountain in New Hampshire; Taos Ski Valley, New Mexico; Deer Valley Resort, Solitude Mountain Resort, Brighton Resort, Alta Ski Area, and Snowbird in Utah; Zermatt in Switzerland; Thredbo and Mt Buller in Australia; Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Mt Hutt in New Zealand; Niseko United in Japan, and Valle Nevado in Chile.

About Alterra Mountain Company

Alterra Mountain Company is a family of 14 destinations, including the world’s largest heli-ski operation.

It spans six U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.

USA –  Steamboat and Winter Park Resort in Colorado; Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain and Big Bear Mountain Resort in California; Stratton in Vermont; Snowshoe in West Virginia, Crystal Mountain in Washington; Deer Valley Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort in Utah.

CANADA –  Tremblant in Quebec, Blue Mountain in Ontario and  CMH Heli-Skiing & Summer Adventures in British Columbia.

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