We’re at the 2018 Outdoor Retailer, the largest outdoor sports expo and conference in North America. Stay tuned as we preview gear highlights from the show.
The newest season pass on the market is another four-letter word and it is going after Vail's 750,000 Epic passes.
The Ikon pass made its debut on Thursday in front of thousands at the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver, Colorado. Their booth took center stage in front of the main showroom with an ice sculpture, a yellow spray-painted chairlift, and the word "Ikon" displayed in bold yellow letters against a blue tower (you'd be forgiven for thinking Ikea was at the tradeshow).
A pass from Alterra Mountain Company, the newest ski resort conglomerate on the block, has been anticipated, but their alliance with another dozen ski resorts—an obvious added bonus for passholders—is a statement about the power of a mega big, multi ski resort season pass in the landscape of the ski industry.
"If you look at the makeup of our resorts, they're so different," says Alterra Mountain Company's Chief Marketing Officer Erik Forsell. "We hope to introduce people to a new resort they never thought about going to before."
With access to 23 resorts, the Ikon pass taps into nearly every skier market in the country (with the exception of the Pacific Northwest and B.C.), from Mammoth Mountain and Squaw Valley in California; to Deer Valley, Alta, and Snowbird in Utah; to Copper Mountain, Eldora, Aspen Snowmass, and Steamboat in Colorado; to Jackson Hole in Wyoming and Big Sky in Montana; to Killington, Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Loon in the Northeast.
"For us, it's tapping into what's that thing that gets people outside and connecting with friends and family," said Forsell. "It's really less about a demographic and more about a mindset that we hope we can tap into with this pass. Adventure for someone might be jumping off a cliff and adventure for another might be making their first snow angel. It's tapping into that ethos."
Forsell said that many of the ski resorts on the new Ikon pass had already been working together under the Mountain Collective, the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, and the M.A.X. pass. Alterra Mountain Company's philosophy of keeping ski resorts independent made them an attractive partner to ski resorts like Jackson Hole for a deal like this. The Mountain Collective pass will continue for another season, but the Rocky Mountain Super Pass and the M.A.X. pass have retired.
Forsell wouldn't divulge any details about what the pass would actually look like, its price, or access levels. More information will be rolled out in the coming weeks.
"It will be a group effort across all those partners," says Forsell. "There's a lot of trust put in by some of these very independent resorts to be a part of this thing and we respect that trust."