What Pass to Buy This Winter - Mountain Collective or Epic Australia
16th of March 2017
Mountainwatch | Louis Macindoe
With last week’s announcement of the Mountain Collective Pass, sitting alongside Thredbo’s 365 pass, promising year-round thrills and Perisher’s Epic Pass that enables holders to seamlessly transition between winters, never has the Australian Skier and Snowboarder had so much incentive to pre-purchase a season pass.
So, who’s selling the ultimate ticket to ride? Well, truthfully, we asked the same question and while a top-level comparison can be done, it’s kind of like comparing apples to oranges, as each pass offers a different experience. Without further adieu let’s get down to brass tacks and see what each pass is offering.
Not to be confused with Thredbo’s 365 pass, The Mountain Collective Pass is an entirely unique product in the world of year-round riding tickets. Made up of Mountain Collective Destinations and affiliated destinations, the options are endless. If you find it hard to stay put in one place throughout the season and feel anxious knowing there’s greener pastures out there – aka ‘it’s dumping over there, why am I here’, then this is the pass for you.
If you find that you wouldn’t get the value out of a season pass here in Australia, but still want to ride those days when it dumps in Golf course bowl then this pass enables that with 2 days skiing included at Thredbo, if there’s still fresh about you can skim 50% from your pass for however many days it takes for you to get your fix. If you prefer burying rail across the ditch at the Remarkables and Coronet Peak, you’re entitled to the same offer. Plus, if you book now in autumn, you get to tack on another free day to your nominated resort.
Because the Mountain Collective is made up of Independent resorts, you don’t have to do much research to realize that this is a superior option when it comes to accessing some of the best terrain in the world. Jackson Hole ring a bell? What about Revelstoke? Hell, you’ve even got passes at Chamonix (France), Hakuba (Japan) and Valle Nevado (Chile) as part of the affiliated resort network.
This pass isn’t only the cheapest option, it is the most flexible when it comes to being selective about when and where you ride.
Winter is only one half of Thredbo’s year-round operation, and if it’s world class mountain biking, fishing and trekking you crave in the summer months then look no further than the 365 pass. There’s a $100 difference between the winter only pass and the 365 pass which not only grants you 365 days of access (from date of purchase) to Thredbo’s amazing summer facilities but also gives you some of those Mountain Collective perks we’ve hashed over. But do read on, because there’s a lot more to the 365 pass than what appears.
You’d be selling yourself short to only experience Thredbo in the winter time, come summer – the racks at Valley Terminal are loaded up with wheels and rubber and the Mountain Biking community flock from afar to Thredbo’s network of trails. Purchasing the 365 pass lets you experience all of this. This pass really suits that person who wants the best of both Winter and Summer.
When that winter itch must be scratched, the 365 pass grants you 50% off any single day lift pass at each of the Mountain Collective destinations, and a 50% off single days passes at affiliated resorts. This is the perfect excuse to pry yourself off the bike or out of the hiking boots and go seeking the steep and deep for a couple of weeks. This offer is valid for 365 days from purchase, giving you plenty of flexibility on that overseas Jaunt.
Not only do you get the best of both worlds you get to ride them too. This is the ultimate solution for those who love the outdoors and insist on having some summer sun but aren’t willing to give up their winters because of it.
Back in 2011, it was Perisher who made the move to bring season pass prices down, something we can all be thankful for. Since then, Vail Resorts – one of the largest resort operator in the world bought perisher, adding it to their global network of resorts. But what does this all mean to the average ski bum? Well now you can take full advantage of that corporate acquisition by ‘investing’ in some turns at one of the many fine Vail facilities.
Perisher is without doubt the most significant ski resort in both Australia and New Zealand. Vail does efficiency well, and Perisher is very much a well-oiled machine with its unrivalled network of 52 lifts accesses a wide gamut of terrain. Your Epic pass will enable you to seamlessly transition with zero restrictions between all of this but you’ll need to pay extra for ski-tube, which is an additional $100. This is offset quickly as you no longer need a National Parks pass to get up the hill, saving yourself either $29 per day or $190 a year plus $15 in fuel each day to get you to the mountain. It’s great value even if the pass was only valid for use at Perisher… but wait there’s more…
The Vail network is yet to reach New Zealand, so you won’t be getting any perks there but that’s about the only downside because an Epic pass is the ultimate solution for someone following Winter around the sun. Your Epic pass, that gets you on –hill at perisher does the exact same thing at all Vail resorts – there’s a lot of those but Whistler, Breckenridge, Park City and Heavenly are all worthy of a mention. This is a season pass, make no mistake – which means you can ride from the start of the season to the very end at each resort, just not on the blackout dates (Holidays etc). To remove these, you’d need to upgrade to the Epic Pass by paying the difference of $398, which also gives you access to unlimited and unrestricted riding at Whistler, keep scrolling for more.
The Epic pass has been made for those skiers and boarders who’re all about stacking those on-snow days up. Vail’s network of resorts is a little more skewed towards the masses than that of Mountain Collective’s but that’s not a bad thing because you’re getting a season pass at multiple resorts for the price of just a perisher one.
This is where things can get confusing, the Epic Australia Pass doesn’t give you unlimited and unrestricted access to Whistler, for that you’d need the motherload – aka, the Epic Pass. With this beast, you’ll be free to roam Whistler, Vail and Beaver Creek whenever you like during the 2017/18 season. You’ll also get between 3 and 6 days at partnered resorts in Europe. If you’ve made the mistake of getting the Epic Australia Pass when what you actually wanted was the Epic Pass you can upgrade for $398 AUD and get all the perks.
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