Dividing Colorado Skiing: Epic Pass vs. Rocky Mountain Super Pass

The US Ski Team trains at Copper Mountain while Breckenridge has the some of the best pipes in the world. Mary Jane is known for its bumps, Steamboat for its champagne powder and Vail for its majesty. Unfortunately for Colorado skiers and boarders, one pass doesn’t give you access to all Colorado has to offer.

The Epic Pass and Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus force powder-hounds to draw a line in the snow and pick where they are going to plant their poles this winter.

CUI’s Kate Gibbons writes on how Colorado residents are forced to decide which ski pass they want for the upcoming season. (CU Independent/James Bradbury)

“The Super Pass has local mountains where you ski with people who know how to ski, not tourists in for the weekend,” CU graduate student and Colorado Springs native Autumn Jones said. “Not to mention the fact that it is significantly cheaper”

For $489, The Super Pass Plus includes unlimited skiing at Copper Mountain and Winter Park/Mary Jane, with six unrestricted days at Steamboat. It gives pass holders the “Authentic Colorado” experience, according to Rachel Anderson, communications coordinator for Winter Park Resort.

“The Super Pass Plus’ resorts geographically almost guarantee great snow at at-least one location,” she said.

Adding to that, holders won’t be waiting in lift lines or fighting weekend ski traffic with the Super Pass.

At $439, the regular Super Pass offers unrestricted access to Winter Park / Mary Jane and Copper Mountain only.

For college students only, there is the Super Pass Plus – College Pass for $369 that has the same access as the Super Pass Plus. You must be a full time college student and present your college ID and current schedule to be eligible.

The Super Pass may be an “Authentic Colorado” experience, but does it give you access to the best mountains in the state? Not according to SKI magazine. In their annual North American rankings, Rocky Mountain Super Pass’ greatest competitor, The Epic Pass, holds the best rankings, with Vail at no. 3 and Beaver Creek no. 9. Steamboat was also ranked no. 13 on the list.

“The Epic pass is better than the Super pass…with five mountains (instead of Super Pass’ three) in Colorado,” said Adam Daymut, a three-year Epic Pass holder.

“Beaver Creek consistently has some of the best conditions in all of Summit County, but without the crowds,” He said. “And Vail… Ahh Vail, it’s like the crowning jewel in the five mountain chain.”

The Epic Pass, distributed by Vail Resorts Inc., boasts unparalleled mountain resort access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado and Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood in California and Nevada for $699.

For those who have no desire to cross the state line, the Epic Local Pass for $549 is available. It has unlimited skiing or riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin with 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek, except for Nov. 23-24, Dec. 26-31, Jan. 19 and Feb. 16-17.

“This unparalleled mountain resort access on one pass features 30 bowls, 29 terrain parks, and 23,610 acres of the best terrain in the world,” said Kathleen Lessman, corporate communication director at Vail Resorts.

Regardless if you choose Epic Pass or Super Pass this season, the weather may impact your experience more than anything.  Colorado weather blogger and former NOAA climate analyst, Josh Larson is predicting a benign winter this year. Humph.

For more information about passes, including where to purchase, visit www.snow.com for the Epic Pass and www.skicolorado.com for the Super Pass.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Kate Gibbons at Katherine.gibbons-1@Colorado.edu.


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