You don't need strong math skills to realize that a recent acquisition by Vail Resorts is a boon to East Coast skiers and snowboarders.
This week, the ski resort megalopolis welcomed Peak Resorts into its family. With the purchase, the company will add 17 resorts in the Northeast, mid-Atlantic and Midwest to its already fat portfolio of 20 resorts in three countries and 10 states. Several of the added resorts are popular among day- and weekend-trippers in the Washington area, such as Liberty Mountain, Roundtop Mountain, Whitetail, and Jack Frost and Big Boulder, which are all in Pennsylvania and a two- to four-hour car ride away. The list also includes winter sports destinations in New York (Hunter Mountain), Vermont (Mount Snow), New Hampshire (Attitash Mountain, Wildcat Mountain and Crotched Mountain), Missouri (Hidden Valley and Snow Creek), Ohio (Alpine Valley, Boston Mills, Brandywine and Mad River Mountain) and Indiana (Paoli Peaks).
What does this mean for you? Season ski passes. Doug Pierini, vice president of the eastern region at Vail Resorts, recommends the Epic Local Pass for East Coasters. The pass offers unlimited access at 26 resorts, including the Peak Resorts and two popular Colorado vacation spots, Breckenridge and Crested Butte. Pass holders also receive access with limited restrictions to Park City in Utah, Heavenly in California and Nevada, Northstar and Kirkwood in California, and Stowe in Vermont; 10 holiday-restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek in Colorado and British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb; two days (with holiday restrictions) at Sun Valley in Idaho; two days (with holiday restrictions) at Snowbasin in Utah; five consecutive days at 10 ski resorts in Hakuba Valley in Japan; and five consecutive days at Rusutsu Resort in Hokkaido, Japan. (Sun Valley, Snowbasin and the Japanese entities are partners with Vail Resorts.)
Now comes the math: Until Oct. 13, the Epic Local Pass costs $719 per adult, $579 per teen (ages 13-18) and $379 per child (ages 5 to 12). If you, say, book five days of skiing and snowboarding in Breckenridge, you will pay upward of $800. That means you will more than break even, plus you can spend every weekend and mental health day at local participating slopes without having to disturb your wallet. After mid-October, the price will increase and continue to rise as the start of the 2019-2020 ski season nears.
Pierini said the company has also earmarked $15 million for one-time key upgrades. Past improvements have included the remodeling of restaurants and base area expansions — projects that will benefit skiers from coast to coast.