If you were truly independent would you band together with lots of other ski areas and present a united front?! Probably not, so it strikes us ironic that starting last winter the Indy Pass appeared. IndySkiPass The newest collective ski pass to hit the market touts the independence of the ski areas it represents, but the 50+ (at the time of publication of this article there were 59 resorts participating) “independent” resorts have banded together to counter the Ikon/Epic/Collective giants. As described in the Indy website:  “Join the Indy Revolution! Discover the true spirit of skiing and riding on quality snow and terrain…at uncrowded, welcoming, and affordable ski resorts across the US and Canada.”

The pricing of the pass is appealing. The $199 pass nabs you two days of skiing at each participating area. At that price there are predictable black out dates at some areas, so for $299 they offer the pass with no black out dates.  Passes for 12 and under are half those prices, and there are steep discounts if you are a season’s pass holder at any of the areas. Interestingly, each geographic area in the US (with 3 western Canadian resorts) is well represented – Western – 21 ski areas: Midwest – 17; Eastern – 21.

In addition, given some uncertainties about this upcoming season, the Indy Pass gang has a “Get America Skiing Promise.” Despite its corny name the policy is bold – if you use the pass less than 4 days you get a serious credit towards the next year and you can get full pass protection for an additional $20. If you don’t use the pass at all this winter you get your total purchase price refunded.

We will admit when we looked into the Indy Pass last year it looked gimmicky. Many of the areas are complete no name hills with small vertical, and they may hold little interest except for die hard locals. But the concept has appealed to an increasing number of areas. As they have been able to add resorts and gotten some heavier weights to join – Cannon and Jay Peak in the east and White Pass and Silver Mountain out west for example – the pass starts to appeal.

We also love the idea of the small guys taking it to the big boys. (Yeah, we know they aren’t really taking it to the big boys, but the thought counts.) And we are fans of skiing the smaller “mom and pop” areas. When you are skiing a foot of uncrowded new does it really matter if the vertical is only 800 ft?! (Some of our best tracks at Snowbird have been on the Wilbur chair – 668 ft. of vert while the hoards wait in the tram line.) And for the family largely confined to one geographic area or for the adventurous up for a road trip it could be a boon. Skiing VT/NH? Skiing 6 days split 2 each among Cannon Mountain/Bolton Valley/Jay Peak for $199 appeals to even the most spoiled among us. And lastly and perhaps most importantly, one of our favorite areas in North America is part of the pass – Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Montana. If they are in, we are in!

November 18, 2020

 

conSKIerge co-founder

Kevin Dennis is a life long ski bum with a 34 year legal career on the side. Now retired, he skis 80+ days a year. While he lives in Alta UT in the winters, he has traveled extensively through skiing and has skied almost every major resort in North America (and many you have never heard of). He continues to hit the road often throughout the western United States and Canada and trips over the last several years have included ventures in British Columbia, Montana and Colorado. Whether you want to know about the behemoths like Aspen or Squaw or are interested in the road less travelled (Lost Trail Powder Mountain in Montana or Whitewater in BC anyone?), Kevin has been there, has an opinion and you will most likely have to tell him to shut up after a half hour!