Two Colorado Companies, Dozens Of Mountains In Ski Industry Face Off

Mar 7, 2018

There’s still a few weeks left in this year’s ski season, but for many ski and snowboard enthusiasts, it’s to start planning for next season. While early bird deals on season passes tempt winter riders, the upcoming season also offers a new option: the Ikon Pass.

The pass, offered by the newly-minted Alterra Mountain Company, will run customers $899, while the cheaper Ikon Base Pass will cost $599. The passes including access to several Colorado mountains and resorts, including those near Steamboat Springs and Aspen. The Ikon and Ikon Base passes officially went on sale in early March.

Kristin Rust is a spokeswoman for Alterra and the Ikon Pass. She says the Ikon Pass can help skiers and snowboarders be able to go to destinations they may have not been able to afford in the past.

“We also think it will pay off in the end with capital improvements at a lot of these different destinations.,” said Rust. “There’s a lot to be said about character of each destination. We want everyone who has gone to Mammoth, and gone to Winter Park for years, to still feel that character of that destination.”

Both passes are meant to rival Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, which offers similar access to more than a dozen resorts in three countries for $899. The dueling multi-resort passes are the latest sign of a consolidating ski industry.

The two ski companies are the the largest in the world and both call Colorado home. Vail has been operating unopposed for about a decade acquiring resorts all over the world, including Australia, Canada and Europe.

But in 2018, the owners of Aspen Ski Company partnered with a Denver-based investment firm, KSL Capital, to form the Alterra Mountain Company. The formal name was announced in January.

Prices have gone up for individual lift tickets at resorts across Colorado and the U.S. as the market is shifts towards people who go multiple times a year. In 2018 the price for a single weekday lift ticket at Vail is $189. In 2010 it was $108.

For a few hundred dollars more, riders next year can choose between two passes offering access to dozens of resorts -- lists which continue to grow Southwest Gem in Telluride just joined Vail’s Epic offering for next season as an option.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the price of the the Epic pass for next year.