Why purchase the Mountain Collective pass? Here are three scenarios to consider

Comments by Henrik Lampert/

There’s an exciting collaboration this year, enabling skiers to ride to ride Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows on a single pass. The alliance, dubbed the Mountain Collective, allows skiers two days of shredding at each destination for $379. Additionally, skiers receive a 50-percent discount on unlimited tickets at each spot after the “free days” have been used. A variety of lodging deals will also be available to passholders throughout the season.

The Mountain Collective pass grants access to eight mountains with a combined 16,000 acres of terrain. And while this all sounds like biscuits and gravy, a question that has come up repeatedly from the public is, “Who is this pass actually for?” To answer that question, we’ve come up with three scenarios that might apply to you:

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Aspen, CO. All images courtesy the Mountain Collective.

Scenario #1: The dream month-long road trip

Road trip! You’ve saved up a lot of money this summer, you’ve purchased a beat up van, cleaned out its interior and swapped seats for a couch or a mattress, and you’re hittin’ the road, Jack. With the Mountain Collective pass, a proposed course of action would be as follows: Start ‘er off in Aspen. Maybe you head into town to check out X Games? Shred for two days, then as many more as you’d like at $50/day. Maybe you plan on doing some skinning here and there in between days at the resort to save some money. Once you’ve had your fill, fuel up that van of yours and book it north to Jackson. Get your cowboy on and let loose on some steeps. Once you’ve had your Wyo-fix, head southwest to Alta. Use up your two “free days,” and ski three more days for $150. Ain’t bad! With an abundance of backcountry terrain nearby, spend the next week touring the hills. After you’ve spent enough time in Utah, saddle up and follow the sunset. Squaw/Alpine is your next destination. Ski one day at each, then spend your $50/day thereafter on whichever locale you enjoy more. Once done, party on to the south—after all that shredding, you’ll want to relax on the beach for a few days before returning to reality.

Scenario #2: Regular pass holder who frequents one of the four Mountain Collective destinations, with plans for a ski trip during the season

Let’s pretend for a moment you’re a resident of Summit County, CO. You spend your days at Breckenridge, but you also enjoy the occasional jaunt to Aspen. With the Mountain Collective pass, you can shred Aspen on a deep weekend, and you’ll enjoy $50 prices per day every time you decide to go back during the rest of the season. Fast forward to Spring Break 2013. You and your friends—who you also convinced to purchase the Mountain Collective pass—have the easy choice to drive to Jackson or Alta. Heck, maybe you hit the road and squeeze in both Jackson and Alta. Or perhaps you’ll fly to Cali? Do as you wish, the world is your oyster. Rest assured you’re skiing lots, having saved plenty of money to cover gas and/or food along the way.

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Alta, UT.

Scenario #3: Someone in the greater U.S. who doesn’t have a season pass, who is planning on taking at least two trips this winter

You call Chicago home. [Editor’s Note: Blackhawks suck, go Bruins!] You typically manage two ski trips throughout the winter. And this year, with the Mountain Collective pass, you settle for Aspen and Alta. Two fantastic destinations, and you’re not paying out of your ass to shred. Or maybe you’re from SoCal. You’re going to shred Squaw and Jackson this year. All of your friends will be jealous.

In case you need a refresher on the ins and outs of the ski areas that comprise the Mountain Collective, here are some excerpts from our 2011/12 Resort Guide:

Alta, UT:

With only one lift pass you have access to 5,000 acres of terrain that’s usually blanketed with the best snow in North America. Each resort has its own unique vibe, but combined, they form a power house of options that put them midway through our Top 10. No matter which you choose on any given day, you can do no wrong in that Wasatch powder.

Aspen, CO:

With Aspen/Snowmass having four mountains and 5,300 acres of skiable terrain, its sheer size alone promises something for every skier. Consider 4,406 feet of vertical (at Snowmass), expansive backcountry, five terrain parks (including two 22-foot pipes) and a rockin’ downtown party scene, and it’s a no brainer: Aspen/Snowmass is one of the raddest places to spend your time. It’s also exactly why we opt to host our All-Mountain Ski Test at Ajax.

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Jackson Hole, WY.

Jackson Hole, WY:

Few resorts on the continent can offer what Jackson Hole can: nearly limitless notorious sidecountry, North America’s steepest skiing, world-class accommodations, creative park features in the Burton Stash Parks, and a rowdy Western nightlife. We could go on, but all you need to know is if you like getting gnarly, Jackson is where you want to go.

Squaw Valley, CA:

If you found a way to dig yourself out of the ridiculous snows of last winter and made it to Squaw, you were certainly blessed with some of the greatest steep powder skiing of the year. Unfortunately, wind blew a lot of the fresh away, but those who got it, got it good. Add to the terrain a long season and a thriving base area and Squaw is always a winner.

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Squaw Valley, CA.

Alpine Meadows, CA: [Info not from 2011/12 Resort Guide]

Known for its abundant and varied terrain, Alpine Meadows also boasts a family-friendly atmosphere and reputable children’s ski programs. Home to seven bowls and great T-to-B groomers, Alpine Meadows offers more than 100 trails across 2,400 acres, serviced by 14 lifts. Logging solid snowfall year after year, the resort boasts one of Tahoe’s longest skiing seasons.

Bottom line: If you’re looking to visit multiple resorts this season, it’s certainly worth considering the Mountain Collective pass.

The Mountain Collective.