Winter’s creeping in and here we are again, slowly considering what pass to purchase for this season (if you haven’t already). If you haven’t read it yet, I’ve written a more detailed break of: Is Ikon/Epic Pass Worth It? I suggest you open that in a new tab and read that after. That’s the more detailed, no-preference article. In there, I’ve mentioned specific situations when/how these passes can be worth it and that’s what I have this year. I’ll tell you how I would consider it “worth it” and why I purchased one this year.
1. My finances got better
So ever since 2019 I’ve been straightening out my finances among many things. Came last winter season, I was able to actually purchase an Ikon Base Pass at the lowest possible commercial price: the early bird price. If I remember correctly, you get the same discount if you renew your pass or if you get it with the early bird price.
“Ok, everybody knows the early bird prices. Tell me something I don’t know”. Well yes, but the most important piece I’d like to share in this point is I was able to purchase it with my credit card and pay it off asap (using the 20-day-or-so grace period; so you don’t get interest).
I think many people overlook this. Here’s an quick, oversimplified math:
“If Ikon pass renewal/early bird prices comes out every March (not sure exactly when), and let’s say you can get the pass for as low as $2 (oversimplifying). Let’s also assume that in regular season, regular price the pass costs $10 and let’s say at your location, snow gets ridable around Jan. That means there’s actually eleven months in between.
So now if you’re finances aren’t in order and you’re accruing interest between March and January, it may not be worth it. If in the end sure you bought early bird price but you accrued interest and in total you paid $11 for it, then it would’ve been better for you to just keep and hold your money in March (possibly not spend and not trigger any additional interests) or even use that money for something else. You could even just blow all those money at worst and just start saving again around September and you’d still have it cheaper when you buy it regular season.”
So you wanna jiggle the factors and the numbers with your own data. I’m not just trying to make you a better snowboarder here but also a better person overall (and possibly better financial habits)
If it’s totally breaking the bank for you man, honestly, I’d just go for day passes. I’ve broken it down in the article/link I mentioned above. There’s actually a strategy and it may be worth it for you that way.
2. I do plan to go to other Ikon Pass destinations this year
I would say this is connected to item #1 above and should only be considered after and if #1 is satisfied, figured out, and financially, responsibly handled.
Yes, my home resort is Blue Mountain and it’s around $70-80 day pass. So if I’m just trying to break even just in this resort alone, it’ll be arduous. The way you can make it “worth it” is if you go to the more expensive resorts.
(plot twist: one could argue that ‘are you really getting it cheaper’ or ‘are you really getting the worth out of it’ if you’re having discounts on passes but you’re paying more in accommodations? lol. It’s true and it’s something I always consider at the back of my head)
This year, that’s my plan. I’d probably hit Tremblant again and then probably go one trip with my American friends either in the east or PNW. We’ll see. This one’s pushing it but if there’s even a miracle that I can pull off Banff, I’d really like that
But whatevs. I think one trip out would actually help big time already in breaking even with the pass. Because in one trip of course that’s always at least 2 day rides and these places are just naturally going to be more expensive than Blue lol. I wouldn’t be surprised if they average around $100-150 USD. That’s another one. The USD/CAD conversion helps more in the breaking even stage.
but even without these far-out trips, I think it’ll actually be worth it for me still because
3. It’s all in the name of snowboard progression
Similar to what I’m doing now with football ⚽️, I’m actually currently football clinics. I’m not just playing a game but this is like a camp, a workshop where they have training, drills, exercises, scrimmages, etc; all to make you a better footballer.
This is what I’m doing with snowboard at Blue too. I’ve enrolled myself already for an adult advanced snowboard classes. This means that it’s guaranteed that every weekend from Jan to Mar, I’ll be up the hill.
So financially speaking, all this did is to guarantee that I will make good use of my pass, right? It’ll have to be the arduous route of trying to break even with the (relatively) cheapest resort (but hey, at least I’m not paying for accommodations). I wanna say that it would not have been any different because I still would have been intrinsically-motivated otherwise, but it’s definitely better to have something set already; not to mention the improved skills I’ll be having.
“Ok, but I can get snowboard classes at other resorts for cheaper rates, cheaper local resort pass”
If you’re in a place wherein you can do this, then yes by all means I’d actual support that more. Unfortunately in my area, this year it’s only Blue that offers adult advanced snowboard classes. All my readers know I’m a fan and a regular of Mount St Louis, but unfortunately they don’t offer this type of adult class. If they did, this article wouldn’t exist right now for sure.
I’m not talking about “first time snowboarder classes”. I’m talking about those kids you see in a class, in a group up the mountains. If you’re under-21 or something I think almost all resorts offer this, or even ski clubs. The problem is I am sooo not under-21 that’s why it’s hard to find a class lol.
If you read a lot of my articles, you’d know that it’s been a whiiile since I got Ikon Pass. It’s a mix of:
- I’m trying to promote local business
- Our local hills around are sometimes actually better than Blue
- it’s just damn expensive and I’d strategize my money some other way instead of committing it to Alterra resorts (owners of Ikon pass, Blue Mountain, etc)
That said, it’s been a while going to Blue or Alterra resorts. I’ve improved and I’m looking to improve more on newer terrain and newer experiences so this definitely adds up to the perks list.
With these specific scenarios, for this year Ikon (Base) Pass is worth it for me. If you haven’t read it yet, I’d suggest you read my “Is Ikon / Epic pass worth it” article. That talks about an unbiased comparison not just two of the two big passes but also possibly other alternatives you can do instead of committing a lot of money in one go. I broke down some calculations there and the logic there will forever be valid, unless these passes decide to significantly reduce their prices.
Calculate your own ski pass use by heading to our Ski Pass Calculator.
Cheers mate and happy riding.
Stay in shape and don’t get injured later up there.