Pros and Cons of the Epic Pass from season 2018/2019

Canyons, Utah, USA

Thirty days skiing Perisher and Park City on the Epic pass, the verdict on the pros and cons is in (case study population of 1. Okay … 6).

Resorts where you can use your Epic Pass as of January 2019 with more resorts added all the time.

The Cost

Pro: Great value To get the value of the Epic pass you need to be very organised.

My snow bags are ALWAYS packed. Year round

We bought our Epic pass right on release date at the end of 2017 Australian snow season. We paid the deposit (from memory $49) with the remainder due in May 2018. Total for an adult was $859 or so. Eight days skiing in Perisher (Australia) paid off the cost (of the Epic pass). We used it for a weekend in July and a week (staying in a friend’s chalet as paying guest) in August. Done. Life got busy and we got snowed under (excuse the pun) so we hung the ski boots up till December.

Heading to Park City

Christmas Day is an excellent day to travel. The airport has a quiet, festive feel to it and champagne tastes a little sweeter. We had a 3 night sojourn in Dubai (hey, I know Dubai is in the wrong direction but we’re doing everything on the cheap here). It was educational and a bit of a ‘one-off’ random, fun thing to do. We booked using credit card frequent flyer points a year earlier, destinations in the opposite direction are often the only flights on offer. So be it.

Dubai’s amazing aquarium life

Landing in Los Angeles, ready for a road trip to Utah.

Travelling light? One of two trolleys plus a backpack for each person.

To be fair, if you want to fly LA to Salt Lake City it’s just 1.5 hour flight. Driving straight to Park City is just 10 hours on freeways. But I’m a detour-lover. I’ll do anything for an educational opportunity. Much to the eye rolling of my captive audience, I made my husband-driver veer east just before Las Vegas to experience Hoover Dam (worth every minute of bad traffic), a night sleeping in our car homeless (VERY educational. So what if we were freezing?) and a dawn waking up beside the Grand Canyon (completely worth added hours of travel).

Epic Pass Black Out Days

Con: Black out days Why did storm-chasing ski-nuts take 6 days to get to Park City? The Epic Pass has blackout days if you purchase it in Australia. That meant no skiing on: 23-24 November 2018, 19 -31 December 2018, 19 January 2019, 16 -17 February 2019, 9 March 2019, 16 March 2019, 23 March 2019 for this season.

Con: Hanging about avoiding Black out days. Seeing we left on Christmas Day and returned home January 26 it impacted our January 19th (so we paid to ski at a non-epic pass resort – it was so quiet!) The other black out days (26-31 Dec) were our travel days and yes we could have bought day passes and skied anyway but the Epic pass is about value for money, right? We suspected Park City accommodation would be expensive during black out week with USA holiday makers pushing up accommodation prices, thus the decision to stay away.

Con: Crowded lift lines and busy slopes The crowds, sadly the crowds! This was out third visit to Park City so we have a good benchmark. Yes, the area in general is expanding and Utah is a growing USA state but it’s really reflected in the numbers on the slopes. One morning the gondola (Canyons side of the mountain) was on wind hold so we queued for TWO hours. Yes we’re keen so we queued but my 76 year old father was really bummed. He was only there for one week, he wasn’t prepared to queue (his 1960s ski suit couldn’t take the cold) so waiting till 11.30am to head out ticked him off because he need to ski a full week to get the full value ( pay the Epic pass off).

My kids benefited, Grandpa paid them $1 an hour to go and check on the gondola line and report back. I’ve never seen a queue that long, it was past the pizza shop!! Another day we queued for ONE hour at the Orange Bubble due to wind hold.

Great things about Park City Resort. And look how fresh I am on NYE because I haven’t skied for a week!

Pro: Good times coming. I’m going to detail all the wonderful delights of the Park City mountain, restaurants, cafes, activities so stay tuned, it’s not all dismal. And who doesn’t love a ski town whatever the situation? Snow, crowds, sleet…there’s nothing a hot chocolate can’t fix.

Con: On mountain discounts. The Epic pass advertises discounts in food and merchandise all over the mountain but there is fine print. Food was discounted at 2pm, I don’t know about you but when I ski, I eat at 11.30am, I can’t wait till 2pm. Same goes for merchandise. The odd time we needed to replace gloves, a neck warmer or warmer socks the shops we happen to be in all said ‘we’re not owned by the mountain’. Sad to sad in 23 ski days we didn’t see one single discount.

Like I said, more positive stuff on the town, snow conditions, alcohol and resort coming soon.

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