Ikon Pass Staycation

We have a love-hate relationship with Park City Mountain Resort since Vail has taken ownership. In September 2014, I blogged about the Vail purchase. There has been plenty of drama and change over the last four ski seasons, but nothing drastic enough to switch alliances. We still believe in the community, employees, and are spoiled by the convenience.

In January 2018, the Ikon Pass was introduced as an Epic competitor. The Ikon has 5 and 7 day options at each resort, plus several unlimited areas. They started with 23 resorts, including three (Alta, Snowbird, Deer Valley) in Utah and by the Fall, Solitude and Brighton came onboard. Currently, the Ikon Pass lists 38 destinations, 12-14 are unlimited. The Epic Pass has 19 unlimited areas, only 1 in Utah, plus several other multi-day benefits at resorts across the world.

We've never used our Epic Pass outside Park City since we find it hard to leave the Greatest Snow on Earth and haven't been excited enough about the other locations to pay for travel and lodging. On the other hand, the Ikon includes two of our favorite non-Utah resorts with Big Sky and Jackson Hole. We were already planning a ski trip with a good friend to Montana and Wyoming, so we were very intrigued.  

As the early purchase deadline approached, I ran the numbers and we decided to splurge on both. We stayed with the full Epic pass so we could ski Park City with no blackouts, plus the Ikon Base which gave us 5 days at each resort. We would easily pay them both off with our typical 2-3 days a week of Utah skiing. Now we just needed a big snow year and no injuries.

So far, so good! We've had amazing storm systems and powder skiing for weeks. Since we had company coming with an Ikon Pass, we stuck with Epic and Park City until last weekend. The drama continues with traffic, lack of parking, lost terrain, and more. Luckily we know how to navigate the tourists and can ski during the week thanks to flexible work schedules. We also try to remember how fortunate we are to live here when the frustration sets in. Talking to tourists on the chairlift keeps us grounded and grateful.

As our first Ikon Staycation approached, we were anxious to leave Park City and explore. We skied full days Friday through Monday at Alta, Deer Valley, Solitude and back to Deer Valley. We had a fantastic time and I'm very pleased with our Ikon purchase. Granted we were skiing knee-deep powder on practically every single run. Plus it's always exciting guiding a friend around the mountain and watching her fall in love with Utah skiing.

Solitude - Free Refills

Traffic and parking were awful everywhere except Monday at Deer Valley.  I was a snowboarder for a spell, so don't feel as bad writing this, but skiing at a skier only resort (Alta and Deer Valley) is a wonderful treat. The moguls are clean, there aren't long scrapes down the chutes, and the chairlifts from knees down are less chaotic. The employees at all three resorts were happy, helpful, and plentiful. Unfortunately, we don't see that as much at Park City. We don't eat on the mountain at Park City, so can't compare, but we went to Deer Valley so you can guess where our best meals were over the four days. We missed the steep and deep terrain at Alta and Solitude, where we've held season passes at both in the past. I was thrilled to learn that Ikon is unlimited at Solitude and plan to use more than my anticipated 5 days!

It was an eye-opener to be a tourist in our own backyard. We have another Ikon Pass Staycation on the calendar, plus our Montana/Wyoming trip coming up! We are going to have a very difficult decision next year when it's time to purchase season passes. Now if we can just convince a few of these tourists to visit Colorado instead of Utah, but the secret's out and the Passes make it a no-brainer.

Alta - High T

Deer Valley - Daly Chutes Laps

Solitude - Honeycomb Gates

Deer Valley - Bluebird Powder Day

Alta Love - Love Alta