Epic Pass vs Indy Pass vs Ikon Pass: [Compared 2022]

Skiers from the powder forests out west and the ice coasts of the east wait each year to get their hands on their Epic Passes, Indy Passes and Ikon passes but which is the best choice? We will go into depth to compare the Epic Pass vs Indy Pass vs Ikon Passes and help you make an informed decision.

Epic Pass vs Indy Pass vs Ikon Pass

What is the Vail Epic Pass?

The Epic Pass provided unlimited ski days at 37 resorts. In addition, you can get a limited number of days at additional resorts and discounts for some resorts as well.

The beauty of the Epic Pass is that there are no blackout dates so you can ride all through Christmas and New Years. For someone who is in Colorado, Montana, Utah, Vermont or as few other states, the Epic pass can be a great option. It all depends on how much you plan to ride and where you plan to ride though.

Not only does the Epic Pass give skiers and snowboarders access to unlimited riding but there is also a mountain of discounts over the season. We will touch on that a bit more in a minute.

How much Does the Epic Pass Cost?

Vail Resort’s Epic Pass costs $841 if you get it on sale. The price does up the longer time after release. There are also cheaper options like the Epic Local Passes.

Where Can You Buy the Epic Pass?

Unlike other ski passes which can be bought in some stores, look out for Vail’s email blast when the Epic Passes come out. You can get them online or at their resort that are open to selling the passes. Eventually, they cut off selling the passes and they close the sales for the season.

What is the Indy Pass?

The Indy Pass is another popular ski pass option that has been growing year over year. You get access to a lot more resorts but for much fewer days. This is the pass you want if you are traveling or road tripping.

The Indy Pass offers 82 resorts in total but 2 days at each resort. Often you will get much smaller lift lines at these resorts since they are independent resorts. This doesn’t mean there won’t be fantastic runs though. There is still some seriously notable resorts which we will touch more on.

How Much Does the Indy Pass Cost?

Indy Pass snowboarder

The Indy Pass is a fraction of the price of the Epic Pass and comes in at $279. Just riding a few days at a few resorts makes the pass completely worth it. You’ll also get to see new resorts and trails as you take advantage of the 2 days at resorts.

You can bump up your access to full and unlimited access at all the resorts for an additional $289 witht the Indy+ Pass Addon.

What is the Ikon Pass?

The Ikon pass has two major options which is the Ikon Base Pass and the Ikon Pass. The Ikon base pass has access to 44 resorts worldwide and the Ikon Pass has access to 50 resorts. It doesn’t mean there is unlimited riding at all these destinations though. The Ikon Pass has no blackout dates while the Base Pass has limited blackout dates.

How much Does the Ikon Pass Cost?

The Ikon Pass is $1,079 and the Base Pass is $769 but they both get cheaper with year over year renewals. There are also cheaper passes for 2 to 4 day adventures.

Where Can You Buy the Ikon Pass?

Ski Pass Mountains Compared

What Mountains Does the Epic Pass Include?

So which mountains are included with the Epic Pass? Good question. Here are all the resorts included with the Epic Pass in the U.S. with some of our favorites highlighted –

Last updated 3/4/22

What Destinations Are Included With the Ikon Pass?

The U.S resorts included in the Ikon Pass and unlimited resorts outside the U.S. –

Last updated 3/4/22

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What Mountains Are Included With the Indy Pass?

The Indy Ski Pass includes the following U.S. ski slopes –

Last updated 3/4/22

Ski Pass Discounts

Ikon Pass Discounts: What Discounts are Available?

The Ikon Pass has discounts for college students, nurses and the military. You can save a little over $300 if you meet their criteria and can produce a valid id.

Snowboarder on mountain.

Epic Pass Discounts: A Few to Consider

We are happy to see it, Vail makes sure military members can take advantage of the military Epic Pass which is discounted at a rate to the normal Epic Pass.

Indy Pass Discounts: Are They a Thing?

Fortunately, the Indy Pass is low already to begin with. At such a low price, they don’t offer any discounts aside from locking in early. This means no military, student or senior discounts.

One discount for the Indy Pass if you buy a Spring Pass, you can get a 10% discount on the following year’s Indy Pass.

Ski Pass Refunds

Epic Pass Refunds: What to Know

Epic Pass refunds are based on two things. How much you used the pass and if you have a qualifying personal event. Refunds are prorated as long as you have used your pass less than 7 days. If you have used it for 7+ days then you can’t get a refund through Vail.

Some personal events that qualify for a refund of the Epic Pass include –

  • Injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Military service
  • Job loss

Indy Pass Refunds: Must-Knows

The Indy Pass is nonrefundable! Make sure you know that before buying it. If you don’t make it to the trails at all during the season then you can get a 10% credit for the next year.

There is also pass protection for $25 but that only gives a full refund if you can’t use the pass before the end of April in the ski year.

Ikon Pass Refund: What to Know

The Ikon Pass offers Adventure Assurance, pass protection and injury insurance.

Pass protection is an addon if you can’t use your pass to an unforeseen event.

Injury insurance is an addon covering medical costs if injured when using the past.

Adventure insurance comes with every Ikon pass and is a deferral option for Covid closures.

Pros and Cons of the Epic Pass vs Indy Pass vs Ikon Pass

Epic Pass Pros

  • Unlimited riding at 37 resorts with no blackouts
  • Limited riding days at select other resorts
  • Covers all the major Vail owned resorts
  • 20% off food, lodging, transportation, rentals and lessons
  • Discounted buddy tickets

Epic Pass Cons

  • Mountains and lifts are crowded
  • Pass is expensive
  • The discounts cause you to spend more money
  • Parking at a lot of the resorts is terrible

How about the Ikon Pass? Here are the pros and cons.

Ikon Pass Pros

  • 50 destinations with no blackouts 
  • Unlimited riding at 14 destinations
  • Up to 7 days at remaining destinations
  • First tracks (ride before the lifts open to the public, once a month at select locations)
  • 25% off up to 10 lift tickets at select locations for family and friends
  • 15% off food, beverage and retail at participating locations
  • Lodging and travel deals for pass holders
  • 10% off heli-skiing and summer adventures

Ikon Pass Cons

  • Only unlimited days at 14 resorts
  • High price for the number of resorts
  • Discounts are mediocre
  • Parking at a lot of the resorts is terrible

Lastly what are the benefits to the Indy Pass? Here are the pros and cons to the Indy Pass.

Indy Pass Pros

  • All-Day or 2 All-Night tickets at 82 Resorts
  • Ability to upgrade to unlimited riding and no blackout dates
  • Inexpensive and most affordable pass option
  • Discover new private ski resorts
  • Less crowded ski resorts
  • The team at Indy Pass is always trying to add resorts

Indy Pass Cons

  • Limited riding days at each resort unless you upgrade
  • Doesn’t include the major commercial mountains
  • Not heavy with discounts on lodging, gear and food

Which Ski Pass to Get

Now that you have a good idea of the pros and cons of each pass, do you see a winner? It may not be clear-cut and depends on what type of skier or snowboarder you are. Do you like big mountains or do you like more wide-open trails, lower crowds and better pricing?

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, it is much clearer once you have compared the Epic Pass vs the Ikon Pass vs the Indy Pass. We sure think so. We’re unbiased so as long as there is a trail with fresh powder or newly groomed corduroy runs, well be on it.

Once you get your pass, we hope to see you there!

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