How Do You Use an Epic Ski Pass?
The Epic Pass is a multi-resort season pass offered by Vail Resorts, a ski resort company based in Colorado. The Epic Pass gives skiers and snowboarders access to more than 20 ski resorts in North America and Europe, including very popular resorts in Colorado, Utah, California, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and more.
The Epic Pass is designed for skiers and snowboarders who want access to a wide range of resorts and the flexibility to ski at different resorts throughout the season. With an Epic Pass, skiers and snowboarders can visit multiple resorts without having to purchase separate lift tickets or season passes for each resort.
There are several different Epic Pass options available, including the Epic Pass, the Epic Local Pass, and the Epic Multi-Day Pass, each of which offers different levels of access to the resorts in the Vail Resorts network.
Below, we answer a bunch of questions pertaining to how Epic passes work. Surprisingly, Epic’s help documentation does not do a good job at all of answering these questions. I figured that since I’m familiar with how the Epic passes work, I probably should share my knowledge!
Is The Epic Pass a Physical Card?
Yes, the Epic Pass is a physical card that skiers and snowboarders use to access the resorts in the Vail Resorts network.
This card is the size of a credit card, and is sent to you in the mail 14-21 days after ordering it online. The time is needed to validate your identity, print your card, then ship it to you.
Do You Need to Activate Your Epic Pass?
No. The pass is ready to be used the minute you get it in the mail. Since the pass can take up to three weeks to arrive, you can also go to the customer service desk at your local Vail-owned ski resort to ask for them to print a new card for you.
Are Reservations Needed to Use the Epic Pass?
Reservations are not required to use the Epic Pass at most, if not all, ski resorts in the Vail Resorts network.
The reason this question is often asked stems from the fact that EPIC did have a reservation system in place in the earlier days of the pass. However, starting with the 2021/22 ski season, Vail decided to discontinue the reservation system it had in place.
It’s worth noting that the Epic says that the pass does not guarantee access to the mountain if the resort has reached its capacity or if there are other restrictions (like for Covid) in place. However, I have no idea how they’d ever stop you, since one of the largest benefits to the Epic Pass is that you skip the counter, and go straight to the lifts.
How is the Epic Pass Scanned?
The Epic Pass is an RFID card, which means it has a radio frequency identification chip embedded in it that allows it to be scanned at the lift gate. Generally, you’ll only be checked for it at the lower lifts with access to the parking lots.
Simply place your Epic pass in a zippered pocket (I use the one up on my chest), and the lift operator will just scan you from a distance. It scans just fine through your jacket or pants material. You do NOT have to remove it from your pocket for it to work. In many cases, you don’t even know the scanning is happening, since they scan you from a distance.
Keep your Epic pass in a different pocket than your cell phone or other credit cards, as it can mess with the scanning process.
It’s worth noting that – while uncommon – some resorts in the Vail Resort network may require skiers and snowboarders to have their Epic Pass scanned and activated at the resort before they can use it. Skiers and snowboarders should check with the individual resort they intend to visit for more information on how to activate their Epic Pass.
Does the Epic Pass Have an App?
There is an app called Epic Mix, but it is more for ski mountain information. The pass provides weather conditions, open slopes and lifts, and live lift wait times.
While you need to sign in to the app with your Epic account, it only shows your basic account information and that you have a valid pass. It will NOT work as a scannable alternative to your actual RFID-enabled Epic pass card.
Personal note: The app is a bit underdeveloped. Vail just bought my three home ski resorts in PA, and they are not on the app yet. I’ve also heard that the lift wait times aren’t entirely accurate sometimes.
Can You Visit Nearby Resorts on the Same Day?
You can, but it would use up an extra day on your Epic Pass. Two Resorts = Two Days, even if you visit both resorts on the same day.
How Many Days Do You Get With the Epic Day Pass?
If you purchase a 7 day Epic Pass, then you get 7 days (that do not need to be used consecutively), in the ski season that you purchased it in. You do NOT get 7 days at each resort listed. However, you can mix and match your days at any resorts that your pass has access to.
While I haven’t tried, I do believe that you can only use one resort each day. For instance, if you try to visit two different Epic ski resorts in the same day, my guess is that it would count 2 days against your pass.
How Are the Epic Pass Days Counted?
Epic Day Pass can be purchased for anywhere 1-7 days. These days do not need to be used consecutively. If you run out of ski days on your Epic pass, a perk of the pass is that you’ll have the opportunity to purchase additional days at a discounted rate.
Since you have to create an account when purchasing your Epic Pass, the RFID scanning keeps track of the days you use. However, Epic amazingly doesn’t show you how many you’ve used.
This is actually the most confusing part of the pass, and a place where Vail could really stand to spend some development time. It appears that you simply need to keep track of your days as you use them. Vail/Epic surely is tracking them as well, but they don’t surface this count anywhere within your Epic online account.
Can the Epic Pass be Used Any Day During the Season?
It depends. Epic has a number of different pass types. Each one has an option to include or exclude certain blackout dates. Passes that are subject to blackout dates are cheaper than those without.
Epic Pass blackout dates encompass just about every holiday during the ski season. This includes the full week in between Christmas and New Years, but amazingly not New Years Day.
Is the Epic Pass Card Reusable?
Yes, Epic passes are reused from one year to the next. Epic will reuse your pass if you elect the auto-renew feature when purchasing your pass. This means that you’ll need to keep track of your Epic pass between seasons, since they will not send you a new card when your account renews.
However, it is possible to get a new card printed at participating ski resorts. You’ll just need to stop in at the customer service office after arriving at the ski resort. Just be sure to bring proof that you have an active pass and a valid Photo ID. Proof of active pass can include your confirmation email, pass number or screenshot of your Active Pass in your online account.
Is the Epic Pass Transferrable?
All Epic passes are non-refundable and non-transferable.
During the purchase of your Epic Pass, you provide them with a photo of yourself, birthday, and other identifying information (address, phone number, etc).
However, Epic Coverage is a benefit that included at no charge with all passes and provides protection across a range of Qualifying Personal Events and Qualifying Resort Closures that will protect you against things out of your control.