Brighton Ski Resort Pass

Multi-Resort Passes: The New Normal?

One WasatchA few days ago, I read an article published in the Denver Post that talked about a startling new “concept” called One Wasatch. This new development idea would connect seven of Utah’s most popular ski areas: Deer Valley, Park City Mountain Resort, Canyons, Brighton, Solitude, Snowbird and Alta, creating an 18, 000-acre, 100-lift resort complex accessible on a single lift ticket. The success of this plan hinges on approval of three “connection points” that lie of private land, but all the resorts are reportedly “committed” to the idea.

The details are uncertain and there are many roadblocks that must be overcome, but One Wasatch is an interesting idea. Two of the proposed One Wasatch partners, Alta and Deer Valley, don’t even allow snowboarding, so there are kinks to be worked out. At the very least, it’s nice to see other mountains banding together against corporate monsters like Vail Resorts, which offers the Epic Pass. This season, for $729, Vail Resorts offers access to five Colorado mountains, the Canyons in Utah, three mountains in Tahoe, and even two small mountains in the Midwest. Not to mention, Vail just signed an agreement with Niseko, Japan to offer Epic Pass holders five days at the Japanese resort next season. All that access at that price point is quite a bargain when you put into perspective that a season pass to other iconic resorts like Jackson Hole amount to as much as 00 for skiing privileges at only one mountain.

The Mountain CollectiveWith resort collaborations like the Mountain Collective Pass, the Epic Pass, and the proposed One Wasatch gaining traction, it seems we have reached a point where the question now becomes: can you survive as a sole operator in the age of ski partnerships? Shredders will now start to expect access to multiple resorts and will find it harder to shell out big bucks only to be confined to one location. European resort destinations like Chamonix have been offering multi-resort passes for decades, so there’s obvious proof that it can work well.

This new trend doesn’t come without drawbacks, however. The Epic Pass is one of the key reasons why Colorado’s Interstate 70 becomes a parking lot every weekend. With all of the One Wasatch resorts in close proximity to the urban metropolis of Salt Lake City, they too could soon see a massive ski traffic influx. The repercussions of joining a ski collective can be quite overwhelming, just ask Eldora Mountain Resort, who decided not to renew their partnership with Vail Resorts after just a single season. Apparently, full parking lots by 10 am on the weekends, traffic complaints from the nearby town of Nederland, CO, and packed lift mazes weren’t worth whatever Vail Resorts was paying.

It’s clear that the ski industry is growing and changing very rapidly. Resorts that were once fierce competitors are now banding together, hoping for a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Hopefully, further growth and collaboration across the industry doesn’t significantly detract from the mountain experience we all have come to love.

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