This winter, if you buy an Epic Pass from Vail Resorts, you’ll be able to ski for free in Verbier too.
The new partnership, announced on September 6, links the dynamic American resorts group of Vail, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood with an Alpine ski resort for the first time. Anyone who buys an Epic Pass for $679 will now get three days’ skiing in Verbier – as well as unlimited skiing for the entire season in all seven of Vail’s resorts, plus Keystone’s neighbour, Arapahoe Basin.
It’s a move designed to tempt well-heeled European skiers across the Atlantic. Over New Year, a three-day lift pass for Verbier (and its neighbours Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon) costs CHF200 (about £133 at current exchange rates), and the epic pass pays for itself if you ski Vail for seven days peak season and 10 days in low season. So if you take your main ski holiday in Colorado or California, then a long weekend’s skiing in Verbier is essentially for free.
It’s a neat trick – and the very mention of the names Vail and Verbier together will be sending shivers through rival resorts in both America and the Alps. Here at Welove2ski, we can’t help thinking the Espace Killy or the Three Valleys in France would have been better partners – because their ski areas are more balanced than Verbier’s. (It rocks as an off-piste destination, but will disappoint the kind of on-piste skiers who love the groomed runs of Vail.) The French resorts aren’t cursed by the over-valued Swiss Franc either. But all the same, we’re glad to see an innovative organisation like Vail getting involved in the Alps. It should shake things up nicely.
Vail has dropped hints that this is only the start of its involvement in Europe – so, guys, next season how about a week’s lift pass in Val d’Isere or Meribel for free instead of three days in Verbier?
If you’re tempted, remember that the Epic Pass is on sale during the autumn only. The last day of sale has yet to be announced, but is always before Thanksgiving in November.
*By the way, did you ever see Colby West’s mock-infomercial about the Epic Pass? It’s the best ski video we’ve ever seen which doesn’t include any skiing. West is a fantastic freestyle skier too…