Ski pass war intensifies as Merchant Pass price announced for Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Ski pass war intensifies as Merchant Pass price announced for Steamboat

The slopes of the Steamboat Ski Area from the Yampa River

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The 2,300 people who purchased their ski pass through Steamboat’s Merchant Pass program now know what they will pay for next ski season.

The Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association on Monday announced details of pricing and benefits for the 2018-19 Merchant Pass program, a partnership between the Steamboat Chamber and Steamboat Ski Area.

The cost of the pass will be $999 and will be for Steamboat Ski Area only. It will not include any of the 24 associated resort destinations that are included with the new $899 IKON Pass.

Steamboat Chamber membership manager Vic Walker said about 2,300 people employed by Steamboat Chamber businesses participated in the Merchant Pass program this ski season. He expects that number will drop a little with the introduction of the Ikon Pass.

Despite the Merchant Pass costing $100 more than the Ikon Pass, its flexibility could still lure buyers. Through the program, employees are able to pay for their passes over the ski season, and they have more time to decide whether they want to get a pass.

Employers are also able to transfer passes if employees leave the company.

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In 2017-18, the Merchant Pass was offered at an early season rate of $1,149 and included unlimited access to Winter Park, three days at Mt. Hood Meadows in Oregon, three days at Crested Butte and three restricted days at Deer Valley in Utah.

There will not be eight- or 15-day passes offered for the 2018-19 season, and no kids free skiing benefits are associated with the Merchant Pass.

New for the 2018-19 ski season, people who get a pass through the Merchant Pass program will be required to take customer service and safety training with the hopes they will be good ambassadors to guests.

"It's something that a lot of towns are implementing now," Walker said.

Details related to the training are still being worked out, but Walker said it could require watching a video and taking an online test.

The Ikon Passes as well as the Epic Passes offered by Vail Resorts go on sale Tuesday.

With the purchase of an adult Ikon Pass, a child pass can be purchased for $199 through April 9.

The $899 Ikon Pass and $599 Ikon Base Pass prices are guaranteed through April 30.

For an additional $49, people will be able to access night skiing. The First Tracks add-on will go on sale June 1 and cost $449. Both of these prices remain unchanged from this season’s pricing.

As of Monday afternoon, the price for Vail's Epic Pass had not been announced.
For the 2017-18 season, the Epic Pass cost $859.

Vail Resorts on Monday announced it has added six Canadian ski resorts to its Epic Pass for a total of 61 resorts in eight countries. Telluride and the Hakuba Valley in Japan are other recent additions.

Vail Resorts has also announced deep discounts for active military members and veterans that start at $99. Their dependents will also be eligible for $99 passes.

The Ikon Pass is being offered to members of the military and their dependents for $719.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.