Big Sky, Montana

Comparing All Nationwide Ski Lift Pass Networks by Size

There are 5 major multi-resort multi-day ski passes sold in the US and Canada.

  • EPIC: Owned by Vail Resorts, and was the first pass like this created (2008).
  • IKON: Owned by Alterra, and was created in 2018 as a direct competitor to Epic.
  • INDY: Created in 2019 to help independent ski resorts compete with the larger companies.
  • Mountain Collective: Created in 2018 by the Aspen Skiing Company. Shares many of its resorts with the IKON network.
  • Powder Alliance: This is a different type of pass network. The benefits come free when you purchase a full season pass at any of their associated resorts.

While there is more to a pass network than it’s associated resort’s combined size, we feel it is an important metric to consider if you are looking for the most value for your dollar. Use this as yet another piece of information (along with price, number of participating resorts, and difficulty level) when deciding which pass to purchase for the year.

How We Determined “The Largest”

Choosing the largest ski resorts is a bit of a tricky proposition. Do you look at just the summit elevation? How about the total acreage, most trails, or steepest vertical drop?

Well, we decided to combine all four of those metrics into one ranking to get the best idea, although we fully admit this is completely subjective.

In the datasets below, we don’t actually show our Bigness Score (Is that even a word? Didn’t think so…). Unlike our Difficulty Score, this one was too subjective to actually attach a hard score to. So we use it to rank each resort, and provide you the relevant details so that you can make your own decision.

Average Acreage, Trails & Elevations per Pass

To determine which ski pass network has the lineup that is (by average) the largest, we averaged all their associated resorts together. The Mountain Collective comes out as having the lineup that averages out as the largest of all nationwide pass systems. IKON comes in second, with the Powder Alliance third, and EPIC fourth. The INDY network brings up the rear with the lineup of resorts that are, when averaged all together, the smallest in size.

This list is ordered by our combined score as described above, and interestingly, it is the same exact order as our difficulty score as well. This means that the Mountain Collective pass has the resort lineup that is both the most difficult and the largest.

RankPass NetworkSummitVerticalAcresTrails
#1Mountain Collective9418 ft3310 ft2815137
#2IKON7870 ft2584 ft2092116
#3Powder Alliance7812 ft2140 ft152266
#4Epic4885 ft1620 ft130673
#5INDY4302 ft1145 ft61741
All, Combined5622 ft1696 ft122370

It may be jarring to see Epic so far down in this list, but they have a different business model than the others. Their Epic pass encompasses all of their Vail Resort-owned properties, no matter how good each one is. Most (if not all) of the other passes go out and choose which resorts are a part of their network. When you get to pick and choose like that, you can choose to pick on the good ones, which would usually larger and better resorts being added.

Largest Ski Resorts for Each Pass

Here, we picked out the top three largest resorts in each of the five nationwide multi-resort, multi-day lift pass networks.

IKON

The largest ski resort within the IKON Pass network is Aspen Snowmass, CO, which also happens to be its most difficult resort as well.

Rank ResortSummit Elev.Base Elev.Vertical DropAcresTrails
#1Aspen Snowmass, CO12,510 ft8,104 ft4,406 ft5,517336
#2Revelstoke, BC7,300 ft1,680 ft5,620 ft3,12199
#3Big Sky Resort, MT11,166 ft7,500 ft3,666 ft5,800317

Epic

The largest ski resort within the Epic Pass network is Whistler Blackcomb, located in British Columbia Canada. Whistler became a Vail-owned property in 2016 when it was purchased for $1billion. Epic’s most difficult resort, Telluride comes in second, with its eponymous Vail resort coming in third.

Rank ResortSummit Elev.Base Elev.Vertical DropAcresTrails
#1Whistler Blackcomb, BC7,494 ft2,474 ft5,020 ft8,171200
#2Telluride, CO13,320 ft8,750 ft4,570 ft2,000118
#3Vail, CO11,570 ft8,120 ft3,450 ft5,289267

Mountain Collective

The largest ski resort within the Mountain Collective Pass network is Revelstroke, BC. However, their largest US-based resort is Big Sky, MT.

Rank ResortSummit Elev.Base Elev.Vertical DropAcresTrails
#1Aspen Snowmass, CO12,510 ft8,104 ft4,406 ft5,517336
#2Revelstoke, BC7,300 ft1,680 ft5,620 ft3,12199
#3Big Sky Resort, MT11,166 ft7,500 ft3,666 ft5,800317

INDY

The largest ski resort within the INDY Pass network is Powder Mountain, UT.

Rank ResortSummit Elev.Base Elev.Vertical DropAcresTrails
#1Powder Mountain, UT9,422 ft6,900 ft2,522 ft8,464154
#2Castle Mountain, AB7,463 ft4,630 ft2,833 ft3,59294
#3Marmot Basin, AB8,570 ft5,570 ft3,000 ft1,72091

Powder Alliance

The largest ski resort within the Powder Alliance Pass network is Timberline, OR, which also happens to be their most difficult US-based ski resort as well.

Rank ResortSummit Elev.Base Elev.Vertical DropAcresTrails
#1Timberline Lodge, OR8,540 ft4,850 ft3,690 ft1,41541
#2Loveland, CO13,010 ft10,800 ft2,210 ft1,80094
#3Castle Mountain, AB7,463 ft4,630 ft2,833 ft3,59294