If you’re planning a ski trip in BC, there’s a chance you’ve asked yourself: “what ski pass should I buy?”. Most of the time, there’s not a simple answer. There’s several different multi-resort passes on the market. Lift tickets, especially at popular resorts like Whistler Blackcomb and Kicking Horse, can quickly climb well above $200 if you don’t plan in advance.
In this blog, we’ll show you how to get around the inflated prices. With some advance planning, you can quickly get your daily ski price well under $100. One of our team members skied 40 days on his pass last year, so each day on the slopes came out to only $21.
Your main takeaway from this article should be to buy a pass by mid-November. The closer you get to ski season, the more expensive passes get. Many aren’t sold past early December, so lift tickets will be your only option if you don’t plan ahead.
Now, we’ll start breaking down every pass you could use for your BC ski trip, and help you decide which one will be best for you.
Unlimited pass price: $929 USD (~1200 CAD)
Kid’s Price: $473 USD (~640 CAD)
If you’re planning to ski Whistler Blackcomb, this will be your best option. This pass also provides limited access to a few RCR (Resorts of the Canadian Rockies) resorts, most notably Kicking Horse, Fernie Alpine, and Kimberly.
The Epic Pass is owned by Vail Resorts, giving access to more than 30 resorts in North America, 5 ski areas in Europe, and more. There’s a good chance you live a day trip away from another mountain on the Epic Pass, so you can use it outside of your trip to BC.
You can purchase an unlimited pass, or buy a pass for a set number of ski days. Either option will be less expensive than buying lift tickets at Whistler Blackcomb, which cost as much as $250 during peak season.
Kicking Horse, Fernie, and Kimberly Alpine are owned by RCR, so you’re limited to 7 total days of access on these mountains through the Epic Pass. Access to these mountains is available if you buy an unlimited or daily pass. Some passes, like the Epic Local Pass, will not give RCR access.
The Epic Pass is only sold in USD, so expect currency conversion charges if you live outside the United States.
Price: $1,669 CAD
Kids Price: $569 CAD
Revelstoke, Sun Peaks, Panorama, and BIG3 (in Alberta) are among the popular mountains available on this pass. You’ll get seven days at each of these resorts through the Ikon Pass, which can make for a great trip.
We’ve run the numbers, and this pass is only worth it for adults if you’re planning to ski 11 or more days on it. The Ikon Pass gives access to 39 mountains globally, so there’s a good chance you can use it at your local mountains as well.
Ikon also sells 2, 3, and 4 day passes, but they aren’t worth it for BC. If you’re skiing for a few days, the most cost-effective option will be to buy your lift tickets online, in advance. There’s a considerable discount (~25%) that you’ll get if you book lift tickets online at Ikon’s resorts.
Price: $856 CAD (changes based on availability)
Kid’s Price: $272 CAD
If Whistler Blackcomb isn’t a must-visit for your BC ski trip, then this pass is likely to be your best option. The Mountain Collective gives access to Sun Peaks, Revelstoke, and Panorama in BC, and Lake Louise, Banff Sunshine, and Marmot Basin, just across provincial lines in Alberta. You’ll get 2 days at each mountain.
The catch with the Mountain Collective is that you can’t just stay at one mountain your whole trip, as you only have two days of access at each of the 6 resorts. If you like to see different mountains and mix up your ski days, it’s a great option.
Another pro of this pass is it’s much less expensive than its competitors. This pass is a good deal even if you’re only planning to ski for five or six days.
Like Ikon and Epic, this pass also provides access to a number of mountains outside of BC, so you may be able to use it in your own backyard.
Price ~$600 CAD for 7 days of skiing (based on 2022-23 pricing)
If you’re a resident of Canada, Montana, Washington, or Idaho, you’ve got one of the best passes waiting for you. The RCR pass gives access to Kicking Horse, Fernie Alpine, Kimberly Apine, and Nakiska (Alberta), and is one of the most affordable options.
This pass is a bit funky. While 23-24 pricing hasn’t been released yet, the RCR card typically costs about $150 to purchase. Your first, fourth, and seventh days on the slopes will be free. On days two, three, five, and six, you’ll get a discount on the lift ticket price (TBD for 23-34). When you run the numbers, it’s typically about as cheap as seven days of skiing gets in BC.
If you’re looking to ski at these resorts for 15 or more days, you can also buy an RCR season pass for $1,859. That’s a longer ski holiday than most of us can pull off, so we typically only recommend this pass for locals.
This pass doesn’t give you access to many mountains outside of BC and Alberta. Stoneham and Mount Saint-Anne in Quebec are the only other mountains on this card.
Please remember that pricing hasn’t been announced yet for 23-34 and this section of the blog will be updated accordingly when the RCR Card goes on sale.
Many of BC’s best mountains, including RED, Whitewater, and Big White, aren’t on any of these multi-resort passes. They prefer to remain “fiercely independent”, and they stay away from the ski pass game. But there’s still some ways to save if you plan to ski at these mountains.
Several mountains also have their own three or five day ski passes. Here are a few notable options:
Big White Powder Card
Silverstar 5/4 Pass
Whitewater Legend 5 Day Pass
Sun Peaks Alpine Card
If the mountains don’t have a multi-day discount, buy online in advance. You’ll always save by doing so, and you can get steeper discounts if you book a few days in a row. BC’s independent mountains are also generally much less expensive than Whistler, with daily prices often being closer to $125-$150 CAD.