Whether or not you have next season’s Ikon or Epic pass collecting dust in your desk drawer, maybe you have recently decided to book a summer trip to your favorite ski resort. What will you do without some nice groomers and beautiful glades, you’re wondering? Have no fear, because these days, ski resorts are offering summer services like never before.
THE HISTORY OF SUMMER RESORT ACTIVITIES
In 2011, President Obama signed a bill called the Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act, which amended a law from the 1980s that limited ski resorts built on Forest Service land from offering additional recreational activities apart from skiing or snowboarding. This opened the door for ski resorts to provide summer access to their guests and has allowed them to be more financially stable being that there is only so long they can stay open with snow. In the case that you want to use some of the hidden summer benefits of your Ikon or Epic Pass, we’ve broken down some of the best options and deals below.
If you already have your Ikon Pass for the 2019 – 2020 season, you can get free scenic chairlift and gondola rides at 13 iconic ski destinations, including Deer Valley Resort, Steamboat, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, Solitude, and Stratton.
Lucky for mountain aficionados, there is a laundry list of summer activities that can be taken advantage of at your ski resort of choice. Have you always wanted to try mountain biking, but you’re worried about getting uphill? There is no better way to experience some brown pow (read: dirt) than to blissfully ride up a chairlift with your bike secured, and then cruise back down under sunny skies and with a cool mountain breeze following you. Mountain biking has proved to be the number one activity of choice for most summer visitors, and the resorts have taken notice. While you can already hop on the lift with your pass at the 13 aforementioned resorts, you are probably going to want to throw a bike on that chairlift! To bring your bike along, Solitude offers a killer deal with just a $5 fee to include a bike haul on your complimentary chairlift ride to the top. What’s more? The Honeycomb Grill at Solitude offers a 2‑for‑1 dinner deal for Ikon Pass holders. A few of us have tested this deal out already, and we can assure you it can’t be beat! At Deer Valley Resort and Aspen Snowmass, you can also cash in on a 50% discount for a full day bike park ticket when using your 2019 – 2020 Ikon Pass. Lastly, you will be able to get 10% off of bike park lift access at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.
Image Credit: Honeycomb Grill
HIKING & ADVENTURE CENTERS
Don’t care for mountain biking? There are more than enough activities to go around. Head to a number of resorts in the Wasatch Back or the Wasatch Front (read: Park City or SLC) and you will be delighted to hike among some of the most beautiful wildflowers you have ever seen. We recommend timing these hikes during the end of July or beginning of August to get prime wildflower bloom. If you’re too tired to hike, but the kids still want to do something fun, you can’t go wrong with summer adventure centers at a number of resorts. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort features the Grand Adventure Park, where the whole family can hit a climbing wall, ropes course, and even a bungee trampoline. Visiting Utah and afraid of heights? In that case, be sure to skip Snowbird’s Vertical Drop feature, but DO try their summer tubing course.
Epic Pass and Vail Resorts locations more your speed? Not to worry. With some of the biggest resorts in the country under its portfolio, there is no shortage of summer fun at an Epic resort.
While bike haul is not included with your complimentary summer lift access through your Epic Pass, passholders can save 20% on mountain bike rentals, which is certainly a nice perk! While resorts like Park City Mountain are renowned for their summer bike trails, you also can’t go wrong if heading to Breckenridge for vacation. On Saturdays, try taking the Colorado SuperChair to the Vista Haus. Once you get your bike up there with you, you can kick back and listen to Breck’s Mountain Music Series from 11,000 feet. After you’ve had your music fix, you can enjoy the dozens of green, blue, or black trails back down to the base.
HIKING & ADVENTURE CENTERS
You can access some wildly fun alpine slides at both Ikon and Epic Pass resorts, but each resort has different offerings when it comes to hiking and adventure centers. Much like you can with your upcoming season’s Ikon Pass, resorts on the Epic Pass also include complimentary scenic lift and gondola rides in the summer. When it comes to hiking, Park City Mountain provides access to one of the most iconic trails around, Mid-Mountain. Head to the top of the town lift or the top of Payday lift to most easily access this trail. Mid-Mountain stretches 23 miles across Park City, all the way from Deer Valley Resort and past the Utah Olympic Park. While the views are spectacular from 8,000 feet up, don’t worry, you aren’t required to hike the full 23 miles! You can make the hike as long or as short as you want. To experience an adventure center that can satisfy the whole family, don’t miss out on Vail’s Epic Discovery center. You can zipline, climb, bungee, hit the tubing course, and more. If the little ones are afraid of the Holy Cross Ropes Course, you can send them off to the Pine Cone Kids Adventure Course for a day of discovery.
Fairly unique to the Epic Pass is the summer golf discount it provides. A few Epic resorts, including Keystone, offer tee time discounts and reduced club rental rates using promo code “PASSCLUB.” In addition to golf discounts, some resorts even offer a reduced rate on their spa services. If you’ve spent the day golfing and you’ve had your massage, you can also cash in on using your Epic Pass at dinner. Simply provide your pass alongside your bill and you will receive a 15% discount on everything, excluding alcoholic beverages, after 2pm. Want to book a trip to an extra special resort that would otherwise be above your budget? Perhaps the most impressive summer benefit of the Epic Pass is the 20% lodging discount you are eligible to receive. The 20% is shaved off of the lowest offered rate at a number of resorts, meaning you could upgrade from your everyday hotel to a luxury condo accommodation like the Catamount at Northstar in Tahoe.
Image Credit: Keystone Resort
While we are eagerly awaiting snowfall here at Ski Butlers, we know that the weather only stays warm in our mountain towns for so long. Be sure to order your Epic, Ikon, or season pass sooner than later so you can get out there and enjoy these discounts!