October’s heavy rains have brought the first snow of the season. Before long, we’ll be knee-deep in powder in the throes of ski season. If you’re new to Washington or new to skiing, you may be wondering which ski pass provides the best bang for your buck when it comes to our local Washington ski resorts. While there’s no clear best pass for Washington ski resorts, you can make an informed decision based on when and how often you plan to ski, what sort of terrain you enjoy, and how often you travel to ski. If you’re considering shelling out for a pass this winter, continue reading below for the Gearhouse Guide to the Best Ski Pass for Washington Ski Resorts.
Multi-Resort Ski Passes
Vail Resorts changed the ski industry forever when they introduced the Epic Pass in 2008 Initially, pass holders were granted access to five Colorado mountains. Over the years, Vail expanded their operations around the world, and the pass grew. In 2018, the Colorado-based Alterra Mountain Company announced its own pass to give skiers access to their mountains, and the Ikon Pass was born. Ikon originally offered access to Alta Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin, Aspen/Snowmass, Boyne Resorts, Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Powdr Corporation, Revelstoke Mountain Resort, SkiBig3, and Snowbird. Today, the Epic Pass grants access to 41 ski areas around the world, while the Ikon Pass gives skiers access to 50-plus mountains.
The Epic Pass gives Seattle skiers access to one of the closest Washington ski resorts, Stevens Pass. Epic Pass holders also receive unrestricted access to the nearby world-class mountain, Whistler Blackcomb, across the border in British Columbia. In addition to Stevens Pass and Whistler, Epic Pass users have unrestricted access to their pick of Vail Resort gems, including Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, other Colorado resorts, and Park City, and Tahoe resorts. Epic Pass is a great option if you plan to travel outside of Washington on occasion to ski – whether in sunny Colorado or stormy British Columbia, Canada. When Vail Resorts bought Stevens Pass in 2018, they were met with criticism. Many skiers feel the Vail Resorts pass system contributes to overcrowding and that the mountain lost a bit of its local charm. To address the criticism, Vail Resorts brought University of Washington alumni Ellen Galbraith as the General Manager to help reconnect the mountain with its local roots. Epic has three pass options for Washington skiers: the Epic Local Pass, the Stevens Pass Premium, and the Epic Pass.
The Epic Local Pass gives skiers 10 combined days of access to Epic mountains like Stevens Pass, Vail, Beaver Creek, and Whistler Blackcomb, excluding restricted peak dates. Price: $719.
The Stevens Pass Premium gives skies unrestricted access to Stevens Pass all season long. Price: $616.
The Epic Pass gives skiers unrestricted access to all Vail Resorts ski areas all season long. Price: $969.
The Epic may have Stevens Pass, but Ikon has the crown jewel of Washington Ski Resorts, Crystal Mountain, and local favorite, Summit at Snoqualmie. While Epic offers unlimited days at Stevens, Ikon pass holders have limited days to Crystal and Summit at Snoqualmie, depending on which pass they choose. In past years, Ikon holders were granted unlimited access to Crystal with first the Base Pass and later the full Ikon Pass, but recently, Alterra Mountain Resort has since removed Crystal from its unlimited offers. Still, with an Ikon Pass, you get plenty of days on the snow between Crystal and Summit at Snoqualmie. Alterra offers the Ikon Pass, the Ikon Base Pass, and the Ikon Session Pass. Ikon passes offer great access to skiing outside Washington as well from the Canadian Rockies down through Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico, as well as resorts in California.
The Ikon Pass offers skiers 7 days with no blackouts to both Crystal and Summit at Snoqualmie, with Lift Reservations required for certain dates at Summit at Snoqualmie. Price: $1,309
The Ikon Base Pass offers skiers 5 days with some blackout dates to both Crystal and Summit at Snoqualmie, with Lift Reservations required for certain dates at Summit at Snoqualmie. Price: $979
The Ikon Session Pass offers skiers 4 days off access to both Crystal and Summit at Snoqualmie with some blackout dates. Price: $539
Individual Washington Ski Resort Passes
If you plan on skiing at only one Washington Ski Resort this winter, an individual resort pass may be the best option for you. The only issue with purchasing an individual resort pass is that there is a finite quantity sold, and they tend to sell out quickly. Some resorts are already sold out for 2023 passes, but it’s never too late to start thinking about where you want to ski in 2024.
Summit at Snoqualmie
Summit at Snoqualmie comprises four ski areas located just outside of North Bend. Summit at Snoqualmie offers a variety of pass options.
The Unlimited Pass offers unrestricted access with no blackout dates. Price: $799
The LTD Pass offers access to all summit areas except Alpental on weekends. Price: $689.
The Remedy Pass offers access to all summit areas but excludes peak weekends & holidays with blackout dates. Price: $439
Mount Baker’s season passes quickly. They offer a single-season pass priced at $1,030.32. 2023 passes came and went in a flash, but it’s not too late to get on the MT. Baker email list to receive news about 2024 passes. Beyond season passes, Mt. Baker offers some of the most affordable day passes, with daily lift tickets starting at $91.20.
Crystal Mountain offers a few different passes that give you full or restricted access, with one option even including a full Ikon Pass.
The Crystal Legend Pass with Full Ikon Pass offers unlimited access to Washington’s largest ski resort, plus a full Ikon Pass. $1,949.
The Crystal Roots Pass offers midweek access all season long plus weekend access starting 3/11/24. Blackout dates (12/26/23 -12/29/23, 1/15/24 and 2/19/24) apply during holiday periods. Price: $1,235.
The Crystal Roots Premium offers midweek access to Crystal Mountain Monday through Friday all season and weekends starting 3/11/24. The Crystal Roots Premier pass also includes an A-Lot parking permit for front-row parking midweek. Blackout dates apply (12/26/23 -12/29/23, 1/15/24 and 2/19/24). Price: $1,235.
Located just outside of the charming mountain town of Leavenworth, Mission Ridge offers 2,000 acres of ski area with 4 lifts and 36 runs. Mission Ridge skiers can choose from four passes: the Premier Pass, the Core Value Pass, the Midweek Pass, and the Twilight Pass.
The Premier Pass grants skiers unlimited access every day and night during normal, public operations. (Sold Out for 2023-24)
The Core Value Pass gives skiers unlimited Monday through Friday access all season long plus every night of Night Skiing and early/late season weekends. Price: $669.
The Midweek Pass gives skiers Monday through Friday access during the 2023/24 winter season. Price: $499.
White Pass Ski Area
White Pass Ski Area offers skiers and boarders views of Mt. Rainier, 1,500 acres of skiable terrain, and access to some of Washington’s finest nordic trails. White Pass offers two pass options, the Season Pass and the Off Peak Season Pass.
The White Pass Season Pass gives skiers unrestricted access, with no reservations required during every operational day. Price: $839.
The Off Peak Season Pass grants skiers access Monday through Friday, excluding the Holiday Season (12/18/23 through 1/1/24), MLK Day ( 1/15/2)4, and Presidents Day (2/19/24). Price $519.
Ski with friends at Gearhouse this winter. Join us for group ski outings to a variety of Washington ski resorts or try something with cross-country skiing or an Intro to Backcountry Class this winter.