Which Ski Pass Should You Snag This Season

Posted by Brooke Sullivan on Sunday, November 18th, 2018 at 2:51pm

When lift tickets can cost anywhere from a hundred dollars or more for a day pass, it’s no wonder so many people invest in a season pass.

Feeling a little overloaded by all the choices? The many great ski resorts in the Tahoe region can do that to you. We’re here to help you find the right one.

The Epic Pass was released by Vail Resorts ten years ago and revolutionized the way ski resorts make money with one season pass to rule all of the company’s mountains for just a few hundred dollars. The Epic Pass price tag today is $949 and offers unlimited skiing at 65 resorts in eight states, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan. The Ikon is a similar product, with unlimited skiing and free days at 35 resorts including Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Mammoth Mountain, 12 states, Canada and Japan. Independent and smaller ski resorts are also pooling their resources to offer their own competitive multi-ski resort season pass.

The Tahoe Local: Epic or Ikon

North and south shores are divided by geography even further with these two passes as options. Skiers partial to the north shore and Truckee can choose the Ikon pass. You can bet if winter takes its time in Tahoe, the Ikon passholders can then bounce to the other resorts in Utah, Colorado and Wyoming. The Ikon that works on weekends and holidays will cost you $1,049. The Epic Pass will appeal to the south shore crew, including Kirkwood and Heavenly resorts. They also give you Telluride, Whistler Blackcomb and Stowe in Vermont.

The Weekend Warrior:

Smaller, independent ski areas in Lake Tahoe are selling full season passes for a fraction of the cost. The best values are at the down-home ski hills like Homewood Mountain, with its 1,260 acres of quiet slopes and huge views of the lake. Snag their unlimited pass for $669. Sugar Bowl is offering their passes for $820 and they give you free days of skiing at 17 other indie ski hills all over the world. Diamond Peak and Sierra-at-Tahoe come without the crowds and at less than half the price of the Ikon or Epic for their adult unlimited season pass.


The list of things a toddler needs to hit the mountain adds up quick – skis, boots, poles, hat, puffy, gloves, etc. Thankfully, many ski resorts have adapted to the family life and even let the little ones ski for free. Of all the ski resorts in Tahoe, Diamond Peak up at Incline Village has the most reasonable rates for families. Kids ski for free until they are 7 years old and it has a great program to help the littles ages 3 – 6 learn how to shred. After that, big kids can get a season pass for $199, teens for $259 and parents are just $479.

The Explorer:

Don’t want to lock into one resort for the entire winter? Get a ticket bundle! Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Tahoe Super 4 Lift Ticket Pack counts towards four days of skiing, including holidays and lowers the cost of a lift tickets to less than $98 a day. You can also get an even better deal with the Mountain Collective Pass for two free days of skiing at Squaw Alpine, along with access to 16 other destinations in North America and around the world. After just five days of skiing, the Mountain Collective pass pays for itself at $469.

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