It's Time to Start Planning (& Booking) Your 2022-23 Ski Season

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It’s Time to Start Planning (& Booking) Your 2022-23 Ski Season

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It's not even April and this year's ski season isn't over yet. The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer. Yet I've already purchased all of my ski passes for next season.

Why? Because right now is when you can lock in those 2022-23 ski passes at the cheapest prices. That's why I've been preparing for next season for weeks: Spring savings make my oft-expensive pursuit of sliding down snowy mountains affordable.

Of course, there are still some ways to save on a a last-minute ski trip, but the best bet for saving is getting ahead of things–way ahead of things. From ski passes to hotels and rental cars to even flights, booking in advance is the key to saving on what can be an expensive wintertime activity. Critically, all the major ski pass programs that can offer huge savings for avid skiers and snowboarders have now put their passes for the coming year out for sale – at the best price you'll find.

So, if the lifts are still running all over the world for this current ski season, why is right now the best time to plan for next year? Let's take a look.
 

Ikon vs Epic ski pass guide 

Not sure where to start? Check out our roundup of some of the best ski resorts for the year ahead!

 

Season Passes are at their Cheapest

If you're planning to hit the slopes a few times or more each year, buying a season pass – or even a mega ski pass that covers multiple resorts – can unlock some huge savings. These season passes won't get any cheaper than they are right now. 

Whether you're looking to ski in the Swiss Alps or at Little Switzerland Ski Area in Slinger, Wisconsin, the best deals on next year's seasons passes all usually spring up during … well, spring.
 

How to choose your ski destination 

At my small, local ski hill in Minnesota, buying a season pass during the spring sale saves you about $250 on what eventually sells as a $550 season pass. It's a no-brainer for both you and the mountain. They get a little cash infusion from their members heading into the quiet summer months, and you get a cheap pass in your pocket so you're ready to rip as soon as the snow flies next fall.

But it's not just individual resorts and the little guys who offer big savings in the springtime. The mega ski passes that offer days at dozens of different resorts around the world are also offering sales this time of year. The Ikon Pass, Epic Pass, the Mountain Collective Pass, and the Indy Pass have all announced their introductory pricing for the 2022-23 season.
 

2022-2023 Ski PassesIkonEpicMtn. CollectiveIndy Pass
Adult Price$1,179$859$579$299/$399* (*no blackout dates)
Teen Price$879N/A$479N/A
Youth Price$389$439$189$139/$189*
Total Number of Resorts596227110
Unlimited Access Resorts1440N/AN/A
Additional Resorts4522N/AN/A
(prices current as of Sept. 1, 2022)
 

Choosing the right pass is important to help you save money on your ski season. Check out our guide comparing the Epic vs Ikon Pass (as well as some of the smaller options.)

But let's take a closer look at what's different this year and why right now is a great time to buy.

 

Ikon Pass

With 59 resorts in its portfolio – and a minimum of seven days of skiing and riding allowed at each one – the Ikon Pass is one of the ski pass behemoths. It also comes at a big price of over $1,000.

But if you ski or snowboard a lot, that price tag might well be worth it considering many major ski areas now routinely sell $200-plus single day lift tickets.

At $1,079 for the full Ikon Pass, it's actually a little bit cheaper than last year's price point – even as a few more resorts join the team for next year. The price of the Ikon Pass is expected to go up throughout the year and will peak just before the holidays. Last year's final price was $1,149.
 

Ikon Pass 

Both Sun Valley (Idaho) and Snowbasin (Utah) have joined forces with Ikon for the upcoming season after defecting from Epic. Maybe the best addition, however, is Chamonix Mont-Blanc in France. Chamonix is synonymous with big mountain skiing and the Alps. It serves as yet another iconic, bucket-list ski resort for Ikon.

 

Epic Pass

Epic Pass was the last of the mega passes to go on sale for the 2022-23 season, and will start off at a price point of $851.

The 2022-23 passes officially went on sale on Monday, March 21 … and it includes 10 “Buddy Tickets” if you buy it by April 21. That allows friends and family to ski with passholders at a significant discount, varying from resort to resort.
 

Epic pass price details 

Last year, this pass that comes from Vail Resorts made big news when it cut the cost by about 20% to $819 for the 2021-22 season. Don't expect prices that low again.

After overcrowding of Epic Pass slopes became an issue, some critics pointed to that steep price cut as one of the culprits. Staff shortages, the proximity of Epic's most popular resorts to major metropolitan areas, and a general surge of interest in snow sports also exacerbated the issue. In releasing this year's pass, Vail noted that it is investing $175 million in its workforce, including raising its minimum wage to $20 per hour in North America and raising hourly wages an average of 30 percent. Plus, it hopes to curb lift lines problems with 21 new lifts at 14 of its resorts.

It will be interesting to see if some of those disgruntled Epic Pass holders jump ship to one of the other options out there this year or if they stick with Vail and its sprawling network of resorts – especially after a price increase … even if it is fairly modest.

Epic's ski resort offerings for next season have shrunk, as they will be without Sun Valley and Snowbasin which joined both the Ikon and Mountain Collective passes.

 

Mountain Collective

The Mountain Collective is a great budget option for people interested in many of the resorts featured on the Ikon Pass at about half the price.

The Mountain Collective's introductory offer of $539 will only last a few months before it climbs again. By the holidays last year, the pass was more than $600.

Passholders get just two days at each resort on the list, which features Ikon crossovers like Alta, Aspen, Big Sky, Jackson Hole, Snowbird, Taos, and more. Mountain Collective also added Sun Valley and Snowbasin this year, but will be dropping Palisades Tahoe and Mammoth Mountain, leaving a Lake Tahoe-sized hole in its resort map.
 

Mountain Collective 

The Mountain Collective also gives skiers and riders 50% off all additional days at the Mountain Collective destinations. And if you buy the pass during this introductory offer, you'll get a bonus third day at a resort of your choice at checkout.

 

Indy Pass

The single best value in skiing is back for 2022-23. The Indy Pass has expanded its member resorts to over 80 this year, all of which are expected to return. Skiers and riders get two free days at each ski area, which are all independently-owned resorts. It's all of the skiing, and none of the crowds.

This year's Indy Pass comes in at the exact same introductory rate as last year of $279 with blackout dates – or $379 without. If you're dead set on skiing Christmas, MLK Day, or President's Day weekend, then the no blackout-pass is the best way forward for you. The cost of the Indy Pass is also expected to climb slightly as the year goes on. It's safe to say that this is the best rate you'll find in the calendar year.
 

Indy Pass 

Plus, after a year of discontent among Epic Pass holders who faced long lines and surging prices around many of their resorts, Indy Pass is offering an additional $20 discount with the “Switch Pass” if you can prove you were an Epic Pass, Ikon Pass, or Mountain Collective passholder in 2021-22. The Switch Pass promotion runs through May 17.

 

Score The Cheapest Ski Gear

Passes, flights, rental cars, and hotels can add up on a ski trip. But to get started, you need some gear. And all that equipment and apparel you need can get pricey, too.

That's why it pays to plan ahead. You'll generally find the best deals and biggest sales on skis, snowboards, boots, poles, and soft goods like jackets and pants over the next two months or so.
 

Ikon vs Epic ski pass guide 

Ski shops all over the country, especially the brick and mortar stores, are going to start looking to unload last year's models of equipment and apparel in preparation for their summer selections and next year's new winter models, too. Pop in to your local ski shop to see if there are some savings to be had.
 

Travel Bookings for Next Winter are Open

There's no best day to book flights. There's no hard-and-fast rule about how far in advance you should book to get the best deal, either. Flight prices are fickle and constantly changing.

But if you've poked around on Google Flights lately, you might have noticed you can book flights for all of January and out into February of 2023, too. Most airlines start selling flights about 11 months in advance – aside from Southwest, which releases its schedule in batches.

And you might find savings on those far-off flights now, too. Take a look at this search between my home base of Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) and the gateway to Canada's Powder Highway: Calgary (YYC).
 

Flights to Calgary 

If you try to book these flights a few weeks or even months ahead of time, it might be hard to find that $358 roundtrip fare on any days except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. But this far in advance, you can pretty much pick you dates, including MLK Jr. weekend and much more. A cheap flight to Calgary can put you at the doorstep of famous Alberta and British Columbia ski destinations like Banff Sunshine, Lake Louise, Kicking Horse, and Revelstoke.

Or when you subscribe to Thrifty Traveler Premium, you can get alerted as soon as we find flight deals to tons of different mountain towns from Calgary to Denver (DEN) to the British Columbia and plenty of other destinations. But if you're looking to get a jump on booking, take a look at your desired destination for next year on Google Flights.

At the very least, set yourself a few Google Flights price alerts so you can get an email as soon as fares go down.

 

Bottom Line

If you want to maximize the value of your 2022-23 ski or snowboard season, the best time to make some of those purchases is while the snow is still flying this season. It's right now.

Spring brings the best deals in the snow sports industry. Season passes, gear, and travel are all at some of their cheapest price points right now. So even if you still have a ski trip coming up this season, starting taking a good, hard look at next winter if you want to save.

 

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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