In 2019’s Great Melee of Collective Passes, a new contender has entered the ring. The Indy Pass, now on sale, offers two days apiece at 34 wild, off-the-beaten-path destinations across North America. It is an intriguing idea put forth by a group of independent and family-owned hills and resorts to offer a potential 68 days of skiing for $199—or $2.93 a day.
Two days is not an abundance of time to spend at a mountain, but strung together, the Indy Pass is a tempting tool for a cross-country road trip. The pass includes destinations like Bolton Valley Resort in Vermont, with 1,701 feet of vert; Wisconsin’s 200-foot-high Little Switzerland; Apex Mountain Resort in B.C., and more.
Billed as an affordable option appealing particularly to those dipping their toes into skiing, Indy Pass resorts “provide an uncrowded and welcoming experience for individuals and families seeking great snow and varied terrain. In addition, vacation getaways at these quaint ski areas cost a small fraction of what major resorts charge for comparable stays.”
Can its accessible price be enough to bolster its niche place in the pass market? It’s worth looking into a similar pass structure for answers.
As of writing, there are four pass deals on the national playing field, but one of those, namely the Mountain Collective Pass, has struggled to gain the market share that the Epic and Ikon passes enjoy.
Unlike the other mega passes, Mountain Collective does not offer unlimited days at any one of its 18 partner resorts. It offers two days of skiing at each, and unless you travel exorbitant distances, it is a hard sell for some at almost $500 a pop. The pass relies on the selling point of its other perk: 50 percent off of subsequent day passes after the two days have been used up.
It could be interesting to the skier who has a season pass at a home mountain and the luxury to travel and hit a number of resorts in a winter, but on its own it doesn’t offer much to any skier with a home base. Mountain Collective is still for sale for the coming winter but has slowed any heavy promotion.
All of this is to say that the two-day-at-each-resort model for collective passes is one that seemingly lacks longevity or a deep customer base. It remains to be seen how the price-point, which Indy Pass touts as being aimed at new skiers for whom the barriers to entry for larger collective passes are much too high, will keep Indy Pass afloat.
Geoff Hatheway, President of Magic Mountain in Vermont thinks the lower barrier to entry will amass a base of up-and-coming-skiers, arguing “The Indy Pass is priced right for anyone to try; it has a wonderful variety of interesting ski areas to explore; and showcases the community aspect of skiing which can create deeper bonds with customers and more ski days in the future.”