As skiing and snowboarding has exploded in popularity, so too has the corporatization of ski resorts. Mega resorts have now become commonplace in the skiing world, resulting in most multi-resort passes catering to these resorts only. While these massive mountains offer world-class terrain and facilities, they also come at a steep cost.
Fortunately, those looking for the exact opposite – laid back, small resort vibes – can purchase the Indy Pass. Let’s dive into the details to find out if the Indy Pass is worth it and some of the Indy Pass locations to visit.
What is the Indy Pass?
The Indy Pass is different from other pass options. It opts to give you two days at each of its 92 resorts, rather than unlimited access at just a handful. With the Indy pass vs. Epic pass, you shouldn’t expect thousands of vertical feet or high-speed chairs, but you can expect endless laps and apres ski that you can actually afford.
How Much Does the Indy Pass Cost?
A huge advantage of the Indy Pass is that it comes at a significantly lesser price tag compared to other multi-resort passes, leaving plenty of left over funds for new gear.
There are a variety of pass levels, each with their own price point. Their pricing structure is pretty straightforward, so let’s break it down here:
|Indy Base Pass
|Indy XC Pass
|Child (12 and under)
There are also two variations the Indy+ and the Indy Base Pass. The Switch Pass offers a discounted rate on the Indy+ or Indy Base pass for those that are Epic, Ikon, or Mountain Collective pass holders.
The Addon Pass is an option for those wishing to purchase the Indy Pass in addition to a local season pass at one of their participating resorts.
Pricing is as follows:
|Indy+ Switch Pass
|Indy Base Switch Pass
|Indy+ Addon Pass
|Indy Base Addon Pass
|Child (12 and under)
Is There a Payment Plan Available?
Yes! The Indy Pass offers a payment plan which requires a small down payment upfront, and zero interest monthly payments until December 15th.
Normally, payment plans come at a financial disadvantage through accrued interest, but not with the Indy Pass payment plan. It’s a fantastic option for those looking to spread the cost of their purchase out over a few months before the season.
Levels of the Indy Pass – Explained
Much like the Epic and Ikon pass, the Indy Pass comes in both an unrestricted, and a holiday blackout restricted form.
As mentioned above, there are also pass options for those that are looking to switch from a mega pass, or own a local season pass and are looking for more resort access.
Let’s look at the details of all the pass types.
Indy Base Pass
Indy Pass Blackout Dates
Because the Indy Pass is composed of independent resorts, each mountain has its own blackout schedule. Meaning, you will have to do your own research on which mountain restricts which dates. A complete list of resort specific blackout dates can be found at the Indy pass website. A brief overview of these dates are as follows:
- Christmas Week – 21 resorts
- MLK and President’s Weekend – 23 Resorts
- Peak Saturdays – 11 Resorts
- Peak Sundays – 5 Resorts
The Indy+ Pass is the unrestricted version that allows you to ski or ride at each resort two times, with zero blackout dates.
While normally it is not advised to venture to a ski resort during a holiday period, independent resorts are different. Usually, lift lines are manageable even on the busiest days with far less crowds. There is still a fair share of beginners on the slopes during these time periods, but overall the experience is much more enjoyable than at a mega resort.
Indy Addon Pass
The Indy Addon Pass is a unique option for individuals that already own a season pass to one of Indy’s resorts, but are looking to travel to others.
The Addon Pass can be purchased as an Indy+ or an Indy Base. This is a fantastic deal if you’re looking to ski or snowboard at some other local, small resorts in your area. Choosing this pass option will save you 30%, compared to the full price of an Indy Pass.
Indy Switch Pass
The Indy Switch Pass incentivizes current Epic, Ikon, or Mountain collective passholders to “make the switch.” Those that hold a mega resort pass from the previous season will receive a discount off of either the Indy Base or Indy+ pass.
To be eligible for this pass, purchasers must upload their full receipt of an Epic, Ikon, or Mountain collective pass from the previous season. While this discount isn’t massive – $20 for an adult pass – it is still a discount that should be utilized by those looking to pursue a less corporate ski season.
How to Use the Indy Pass
Using your Indy Pass is a breeze off. First off, there is no actual physical pass that you receive when you make your Indy Pass purchase. Each resort hosts a database with every pass holder’s name. The Indy pass does this to ensure that the pass is the most affordable it could possibly be.
Indy passes are used by redeeming lift tickets. Remember, each pass gets you two free lift tickets at each participating resort. To redeem your ticket, simply walk up to the ticket office, inform them that you’re an Indy Pass holder, present your photo ID, and you’re good to go!
Peak Seeker Pro Tip: Looking to redeem more than 2 lift tickets? Additional tickets can be purchased at a 25% discount.
A Look at the Indy Pass Locations
The independent mountains located on the Indy Pass are spread across 28 different states and provinces in North America. These are broken down into five regions:
The Indy Pass even offers access to four different independent Japanese resorts for the hardcore skiers and riders going after “japow”.
Let’s take a closer look at the complete list of Indy Pass locations.
East Coast Indy Pass Locations
Indy Pass Mid Atlantic
- Cataloochee Ski Area
- Blue Knob All Seasons Resort
- Montage Mountain
- Shawnee Mountain Ski Area
- Ski Sawmill
- Ober Gatlinburg
- Bryce Resort
- Massanutten Resort
- Canaan Valley Resort
- Winterplace Ski Resort
Indy Pass Midwest
Indy Pass West Coast
Indy Pass Benefits
Besides the affordable price of the Indy Pass, it also comes with 10% off select independent lodging. However, there are no additional benefits when it comes to food and retail discounts.
Are There Any Discounts?
There is no Indy Pass discount besides the ones offered for switching passes. The pass does not offer any discounts for students, military, or senior citizens, due to their absolute minimum pricing model.
Can I Get a Refund On an Indy Pass?
Much like the other multi-resort ski passes, the Indy Pass is non-refundable and non-transferable.
In the case that you did not use your pass at all in the previous season, Indy Pass will provide you with a 10% discount towards next year’s purchase. However, Indy offers an optional pass protection program. For $30 applied at the time of pass purchase, Indy Pass will refund your pass 100% in the event you don’t use your pass at all. The pass protection fee, along with credit card processing fees are non-refundable.
So Who Should Get an Indy Pass?
The Indy Pass is for the skier or rider who values authenticity, unmanufactured experiences, and down-to-earth resort vibes. With the Indy Pass, you will be getting access to resorts that have a much more local crowd, rather than a tourist one.
For those that want to get out and ski as much as possible the Indy Pass is perfect, as you will almost never be waiting in line at these smaller resorts. If you are willing to sacrifice the amenities that big resort budgets offer (fast 6-person lifts, meticulous grooming, etc), you will be thrilled with the raw nature of skiing and snowboarding that is found at independent resorts.
Final Thoughts: Is the Indy Pass Worth It?
In our opinion, the widespread resort access that is available at such an astoundingly low price makes for a resounding yes. Finding another pass that has as many resorts as the Indy Pass, for only $300, is impossible.
No, you won’t be riding at some of the largest mega-resorts in the country. But, is this a bad thing? Do you really want to be standing in line for 20+ minutes on a powder day when you could be taking lap after lap in the same snow levels at a smaller resort? Do you really want to be spending $12 on a lunchtime beer? Nope, and neither do we.