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IKON PASS: FOREVER EXPANDING - Katie Bamber, Senior News Reporter
Wednesday September 5, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The collaborative ski pass that gives holders the chance to ski dozens of the USA's most famous resorts now extends to Japan & Australia. NEW

Ski all year, on one pass, at 35 destinations across the world.

It's called the Ikon Pass.

It was announced at the start of 2018 and this will be its first season up & running.

Though it is new, it has managed to sign up some of the most impressive ski resort names across the globe.

With all the updates in recent weeks, we've lost track of the massive array of resorts - big, small, the well-known & the hidden gems - now linked up by the one, complete Ikon Pass.

So we're taking a review of the new pass, already launched and forever adding and improving for Winter 18/19.

The resorts new to the pass this summer are:
  • Niseko, Japan
  • Boyne Highlands, Michigan
  • Boyne Mountain, Michigan
  • The Summit at Snoqualmie, Washington Cascades
  • Cypress Mountain, B.C Canada
  • Taos, New Mexico
  • Solitude, Utah
  • Brighton, Utah
  • Thredbo, Australia
We've also just got wind of news that Alterra Mountain Co. intends to buy Crystal Mountain - Washington's largest ski area 2 hours from downtown Seattle - meaning it'll also be added to the Ikon Pass if all goes ahead for Winter 18/19.

Add these too (are you ready for it...):

In North America:

  • Squaw Valley, Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Big Bear
  • Aspen, Steamboat, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Eldora, Jackson Hole, Big Sky, Deer Valley, Alta, Snowbird
  • Stratton, Killington, Sugarbush, Snowshoe, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, Loon
  • Tremblant, Blue Mountain, Ski Big, Revelstoke, CMH Heli Skiing
Will Europe be next?

Les3Vallees in France is already signed up to Vail's Epic Pass, as has Tignes, Val d'Isere, Les Arcs and La Plagne.

As is Skirama Dolomiti (lesser known resorts in the Italian mountain range), Verbier in Switzerland, Ski Arlberg in Austria, including the giant St Anton and the gorgeous Lech-Zurs ski areas.

Vail is really extending its reach to tempt customers towards the Epic as the competition steps up for most impressive collective pass.

These names spread across the ski world are impressing us, anyhow...

Ikon PassIkon Pass

The business goings-on behind skiing and mountain resorts in North America is wild.

Or wild to us, used to simpler European ways.

In the Alps we have the mountains, and cafes, restaurants, bars and shops run by locals or individual businesses like any other town.

It's part of the charm on visiting to learn the history of how these ski resorts developed - in Austria, say, with old farming families setting up and still running their different sectors pre/post-war.

The lifts are owned by massive companies (there's the mega bucks) but generally it runs like the rest of our land and business.

However, in the USA it's on a different level.

The ski industry is a money-making business on a different scale to those of our independent resorts.

Essentially, two big companies are buying up the resorts, and at an alarming pace.

They are Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Co. (the new name for the Aspen-run resorts - more below).

Arguably the world's most renowned resort, Whistler, was bought by Vail for $1.06 billion in 2016 and since then we've seen the re-jigging of Aspen's collective and the birth of Alterra Mountain Co. and its Ikon Pass for ultimately a ski race (of sorts) between two mega rivals.

Read these articles below as we reported in detail of the business developments, as they occurred:

What we have with the Ikon Pass is a damn good rival to big-dog Vail Resorts and its Epic Pass.

I mean, can you get more obvious with your agenda than by naming your new pass something equally as hyper-confident as the competitor.

Perhaps another will come soon called 'Rad Pass' to scoop up all those indies that have thus far resisted and want to bring it back the people.

It's impressive anyhow; Hell, they are both going at it buying up resorts and signing up others to join the two collectives.

The race is on as Ikon premieres this season...

Ikon passIkon map

A ski continent comparison:

A Val d'Isere day lift ticket will cost you €59 this coming season.

A ticket in a comparable resort out in the States, Aspen say, will put you back around $160 (plus tax).

However, if North America is all about buying resorts up for an impressive catalogue, Europe too has a trend.

It tends to be expansion - growing our ski areas at no slow rate and linking them up to one another.

The Arlberg in Austria would be an example of this as St Anton and Lech, with Zurs in between, linked at the start of last season to create the massive new ski area.

But we digress.

The pricing above gives you an idea of the cost of skiing in America and Canada's big resorts.

Best to get in on a collective - or even buy a season pass in your intended resort before you get there to save $$.

Now it's just your job is to decide on your top ski destinations, compare the resorts of Vail and Aspen on the Epic & Ikon passes, respectively, and get involved.

Recognise the symbol for this iconic resort?Recognise the symbol for this iconic resort?

A massive addition to the Ikon Pass...

As we near the start of Winter 18/19, we'll keep a close eye on the ski world across the pond.

In the meantime, stay in the loop with our rolling article on anything winter-related across the world:

Ikon PassLet's get winter going

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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