As lift prices at the ticket window creep up toward $100, multi-mountain passes may begin to look more appealing, even for skiers and riders who don't plan to hit the slopes every weekend from November to April.
"If you're going to ski more than four or five days, it's still a bargain to get a pass," said Mary Woolwine, director of marketing for Winter Park Resort.
"The key benefit is the value," Liz Biebl, a spokesperson for Vail Mountain, wrote in an e-mail. "For guests who regularly ski or snowboard in Summit County, or both Summit and Eagle counties, the passes offer a fantastic value with equally outstanding benefits versus the cost of a single-day lift ticket."
Multi-mountain ski passes basically break down to cover either the Vail resorts -- including Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin -- or the Intrawest resorts, which are Winter Park/Mary Jane, Copper and Steamboat.
Prices for passes fluctuate through the year. The prices advertised now are expected to increase around Labor Day.
"You can buy a pass all the time, but January prices are a little high," Woolwine said.
Passes include benefits such as e-mail updates on weather conditions, events at ski areas and gear deals, as well as subscriptions to Ski or Skiing magazine and even the option to use your pass like a debit card at resort stores and restaurants.
Most include the option to purchase discounted tickets available for friends and family.
Renewals are available online already, but many passes must be purchased for first-time pass buyers at in-store locations, many of which have not yet been announced.
All passes come with six days of discounted tickets for friends and family of passholders to use. Pricing on those tickets has not been released.
Epic Pass: One of the more expensive and more flexible options out there, this pass provides unlimited, unrestricted access to Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, as well as Heavenly near Lake Tahoe in California. That's 16,000 acres to ski or ride any day of the season.
Priced for fall sales at $599, and available for purchase online at epicpass.com.
Colorado Pass: A more modestly priced but still epicly capable pass, the Colorado Pass offers unlimited and unrestricted access to Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, plus 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek. Blackout days for Vail and Beaver Creek fall around the Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and Valentine's holidays.
Priced currently at $439 for adults and $329 for teenagers aged 18 or under. Available to renew online at coloradopass.com.
Summit Pass: The smaller-scale version of the Colorado Pass, the Summit Pass gives unlimited access to Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin for $399, or $309 for those 18 and under.
Available to renew at snow.com/passsales.
All Rocky Mountain Passes come with 10 $55 tickets for friends and family to use with a passholder at Copper or Winter Park.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass: For $399, this pass provides unlimited skiing at Winter Park/Mary Jane and Copper. The pass is on sale now online at skicolorado.com.
Through Dec. 1, college students, faculty and staff are eligible to open a new checking account at Wells Fargo and receive two Super Passes for the cost of one.
More information is available at collegeskideal.com.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus: The Super Pass Plus allows for unlimited skiing at Winter Park/Mary Jane and Copper, as well as six unrestricted days and free Friday afternoons at Steamboat for $439.
Full-time college students with an ID and class schedule can purchase the Super Pass Plus for $329. Passes are sold at Copper Mountain, Winter Park or the Christy Sports at Denver West in Lakewood.
Rocky Mountain Ultimate Pass: For unlimited access to Winter Park/Mary Jane, Copper and Steamboat, this pass is the way to go. It's currently priced at $919 and is only for sale at the Christy Sports at Denver West.
Renewals for both passes are available online now.