Are Utah ski passes the most cost-effective way to recreate this winter?

Nov 20, 2023, 3:00 PM

Skiers make their way down the slopes at Deer Valley Ski Resort, utah ski passes can get you more b...

Skiers make their way down the slopes at Deer Valley Ski Resort. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)

(Ravell Call/Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — When word came last week that two Utah ski resorts eclipsed the $300 day pass price, I’m sure it sent alarm bells throughout the ski and snowboard community. 

I should preface this information by saying that those prices at Deer Valley and Park City Resort are for walkups, peak day skiing on high traffic and deep pow days. 

But the $239 and $242 pricing on non-peak days is still intimidating for even the casual snow enthusiast.

The good news: Utah ski passes

There are still bargains to be found all over the state, even at the two resorts getting the headlines.

First, let me address the elephant in the room for ski pricing in general, not just here in Utah but globally.

Resorts want you to invest in a season pass for many reasons. 

First, they can bank that money before the season starts no matter what Mother Nature does or doesn’t deliver during the season. 

Second, it provides them with a mechanism to get an idea of their daily resort load to have better control of the skier experience, which is always a priority. 

Third, it does make skiing in today’s ski industry affordable, particularly for those who ski at least 10 times per season, especially with products like the IKON and EPIC passes. 

Let’s tackle the active skier first.

If you ski seven or more days per season

I should make the point that daily lift prices are a bit of a moving target but it really comes down to simple math.

Let’s start with Deer Valley and the IKON pass. What if I told you that for around $1300 you could get seven days at Deer Valley? 

Simple math: seven times the day price of $239 equals $1673, so you’ve already lowered your day rate to $185.

But wait, it gets better.

Using that same pass, you get unlimited access to 16 resorts including Solitude here in Utah and Steamboat in Colorado.

There’s more.

You also get seven days at 41 other resorts including Utah resorts Snowbird or Alta and Brighton. 

Want to ski Chamonix in France, Sun Valley in Idaho or Kitzbuhel in Austria? The IKON pass includes those too.

Park City is a Vail Resort and their signature product is the EPIC Pass.

Again, for about $1000 you not only get a season pass at Park City but also get all of their Colorado resorts including Vail, Breckenridge and Telluride. 

Canada’s Whistler, Vermont’s Stow and California’s Heavenly, along with other international destinations, are also on the pass.

Easy payment plans and Early Bird specials will save you even more money on both the EPIC and IKON.

The occasional skier or boarder

For the occasional skier or boarder, there are plenty of affordable options right out your backdoor.

$35 at Nordic Valley, $39 at Eagle Point or $57 at Brian Head for instance.

For families, free skiing options for kids are offered at Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude and Snowbasin so your “per head” pricing makes it possible for the entire family to make lasting memories together.

Bottom line, don’t let the headlines scare you out of taking a few turns and creating lasting memories at our amazing resorts in the greatest snow on Earth.

More tips As ski prices rise, here are a few tips on how to save money

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Are Utah ski passes the most cost-effective way to recreate this winter?