Sun Valley has been part of the Mountain Collective pass, which essentially covers two days of lift tickets, for the past few years. In February, the resort announced that it would be joining the Epic Pass and dropping the Mountain Collective.
Telluride Ski Resort—which switched from the Mountain Collective to the Epic Pass starting with the 2018-19 season—is an example of the Epic effect. The co-owner of Telluride, Bill Jensen, reported that the average skier visit under the Mountain Collective pass was 2.2 days. Last season, Epic Pass holders stayed for four to six days. Epic Pass holders also had a higher household income and spent more dollars in the community. Jensen further reported that Vail Resorts opened new marketing channels that resulted in more employment opportunities and greater sales tax revenues.
Consolidation in the ski industry creates a new paradigm in which visitors are making decisions based on what their Epic or Ikon pass gets them. The reality is that Vail, for better or worse, is now a factor in our community. It will open advertising channels that never previously existed. That allows the city of Ketchum to provide less support to advertising and focus on essential government functions like public infrastructure and emergency services.
Ed Johnson, Ketchum