Shortly after the official release of next year's Ikon Pass from new mega ski conglomerate Alterra Mountain Company, Vail Resorts announced early this week the addition of six new Canadian resorts to the Epic Pass for the 2018-19 season.
In a newly formed partnership with Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR), Fernie Alpine Resort, Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, and Kimberley Alpine Resort in British Columbia, Nakiska in Alberta, and Mont Sainte Anne and Stoneham in Quebec will all be available on next year's Epic Pass. The new additions bring Vail Resort's global empire to 61 mountains across eight countries.
"We're thrilled to welcome the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies on the Epic Pass for the 2018-19 winter season," said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts in a statement. "The family of ski resorts that make up RCR are some of the most sought after winter playgrounds for skiers and snowboarders around the world."
Similar to their recent announcement of the inclusion of Telluride to the Epic Pass for next season, the addition of RCR marks a partnership rather than a full acquisition by Vail Resorts, which appears to be a growing trend as more and more mountains are added to the pass. Unlike at resorts owned by Vail, Epic Pass holders will only receive a total of seven days with no blackouts between RCR resorts. Once the seven days have been used, pass holders will receive 50 percent off additional lift tickets at RCR.
After their massive $1 billion acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb in 2016, this is Vail Resorts' second foray into Canadian territory, which could be to compete with Canadian sales of the Ikon Pass, which includes unlimited access to both Blue Mountain in Ontario and Tremblant in Quebec, along with seven days each at Revelstoke in British Columbia and SkiBig3 in Alberta.
While next year's ski season is still seven months away, with what seems like weekly announcements from both Vail and Alterra about new mountains being added to their passes, many skiers may be left with a tough decision on what pass to buy for next year.