Ski Cooper Bulks Up Partner Network Via Powder Alliance


The nation's most robust season-pass partner network just got larger, as Ski Cooper has joined the Powder Alliance.

By adding on 15 Alliance resorts in the West to its reciprocal package, Ski Cooper now has 69 resorts around the U.S. that accept the Colorado's mountain's season pass for three days of skiing and riding -- the majority of which have no blackouts. The Alliance requires a season pass from one of its 63 members to be shown at another mountain to get three free days.  

Currently, the Ski Cooper adult season pass for the 2023-2024 costs $379. It is scheduled to go up to $479 on August, and finish off at $579 on Oct. 1.

The new Alliance members of the Ski Cooper pass portfolio include Sierra-at-Tahoe in California; Silver Mountain in Idaho; Timberline Lodge in Oregon; and White Pass in Washington. Also in the package will be Alberta's Marmot Basin. Previously, three Alliance resorts already accepted the Ski Cooper pass.

With these additions, a Ski Cooper pass covers six mountains in each of Colorado and Wyoming; five in California; four in Idaho; three in each of Oregon, Utah, New Mexico, Washington and Montana; and one in each of Alaska, Nevada and Arizona.

The remainder are sprinkled across the Midwest (17), East (14), Canada (2), New Zealand (2), and Spain (1). Earlier in the year, Ski Cooper announced the addition of 11 mountains to its network, the bulk of which were in California and up the West Coast.

In the limited-days pass market, the Ski Cooper pass directly competes with the Indy Pass, which is not attached to a particular resort but is accepted at for two days at 120 resorts around the world.


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The Roster Of Season-Pass Partnerships In West Expands For Next Season


The Powder Allianceand dozens of mid-sized ski and snowboard mountains in the West have essentially created mega-passes through reciprocal lift ticket arrangements that mean anywhere from one to three free days at dozens of similar resorts.

The idea of tacking on free days at other mountains onto season passes has been building for more than a decade -- especially in response to mega-passes like Ikon and Epic -- and now stands firmly as an alternative to second-tier, multi-mountain independents like Indy Pass and Mountain Collective.

The first king of reciprocals was Monarch. About five years ago, the Colorado day-mountain burst out with some 40 partners in the U.S. and overseas who gave Monarch passholders three free days on their hills. For the 2023-2024 season, Monarch has signed up some 20 U.S. partners -- so far -- including a new bunch from the Power Pass network.

Not to be outdone, Ski Cooper dove headfirst into the reciprocal fray and now has 60 resorts on its benefit page. The Colorado mountain's season pass means three days at a dozen mountains in both the Northeast and Midwest, and more than 20 in the West.

Other resorts in the West with extensive partner lists include Loup Loup in Washington with diverse arrangements with a half-dozen partners, and Idaho's Lookout Pass that includes a half-day, early-season ticket at Jackson Hole. Buy a season pass at Nevada's Lee Canyon and get not only Power Pass resort access but two dozen others around the country.

With six resorts, the Powder Alliance debuted in 2013 as part of the first wave of season passes including reciprocal days at an array of partner-mountains.

Fifteen of the Alliance's 22 resorts reside in the West, making the reciprocal arrangement attractive to those who catch the wanderlust for the Rockies and Sierra. California is home to the most (5), while plenty spread around the Pacific Northwest, Idaho, even New Mexico.



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From North To South, California Resorts Join New Cali Pass


In spite of buying a mega-pass, folks who can't wander too far too often still have to pay the same price as those who can travel far and wide -- making regional passes like the new Cali Pass a good deal.

Born out of the 2022 purchase of China Peak by owners of Dodge Ridge and Mountain High, the new regional pass covers unrestricted access to the three primary resorts for the remainder of this season and throughout the 2023-2024 season. Because of previous partnerships, the Cali Pass also includes three days at all Powder Alliance resorts -- including Sierra at Tahoe and Mount Shasta Ski Park -- plus an add-on for the two-day Indy Pass.

The Cali Pass and affiliates stretch from Mount Shasta in the north to Mountain High in the south. Cali Pass purveyors tout the proximity to California's major populations, diverse terrain and "old school" vibe as reasons to forgo sprawling mega-pases and to lock in skiing and riding closer to home.

The new consortium connects a trio of western Sierra resorts that attracts skiers and riders from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Plus, it puts more skiable terrain (about 2,300 acres combined) within a day's driving distance of these major metropolitan areas.

Mountain High, one of California's oldest ski mountains and an hour's drive from L.A. basin, and Dodge Ridge, which draws from San Francisco and Stockton markets, will now bracket China Peak and its Fresno following under a single season pass.

Powder Alliance membership means the Cali Pass is honored for three free days at any of 21 U.S. resorts, and the Indy Pass add-on gives two days free at any of its 18 West Coast mountains and 120 worldwide.

Combine the Cali Pass with the consolidation of SoCal's Big Bear, Snow Summit and Snow Valley under one season pass and the Ikon Pass, and California skiers and riders have plenty to choose from as the early-season pass sales get underway.




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Dodge Ridge, Mountain High Add China Peak, Promise Regional Pass


The owner of two California ski and snowboard mountains have acquired China Peak and plans to create a season pass for alll three mountains.

Mountain High -- one of California's oldest ski mountains and an hour's drive from L.A. basin -- and Dodge Ridge, which draws folks for San Francisco and Stockton markets, will now bracket China Peak and its Fresno following under single ownership.

The purchase should be good news for Central Valley skiers and snowboarders. The new consortium connects a trio of western Sierra resorts that attracts skiers and riders from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Plus, it puts more skiable terrain (about 2,300 acres combined) within a day's driving distance of these major metropolitan areas.

Ownership told The Storm Skiing Journal that they will issue a multi-mountain season pass either this winter or for next season. All three are members of the Powder Alliance -- a season pass at any of 21 resorts is honored for three free days at others -- and the burgeoning Indy Pass that gives two days free at any of its 18 West Coast mountains and 120 worldwide.

As each opened this season, snowmaking topped the what's-new list at each. Mountain High added state-of-the-art snow guns and snow cat, and expanded snow play area. Dodge Ridge -- three hours from S.F. and two hours from Stockton -- will be testing its first snowmaking system at the base this season. And, China Peak became a top-10 California snowmaker this offseason, as well upgrading food service.



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Like The Mythical Phoenix, Sierra-at-Tahoe Rises From The Ashes


A little more than a year after a forest fire ravaged Sierra-at-Tahoe, the 2,000-acre mountain south of Lake Tahoe is up and running for 2022-2023.

In August 2021, the Caldor Fire roared in from the southwest and onto the trails, slopes and glades of "Sierra," abruptly ending any chance of a 2021-2022 winter season. Once the fire was extinguished and hot spots were doused, work began in earnest to mitigate terrain damage and repair chairlifts -- all with an aim of getting a portion of the mountain open again this season.

Mission accomplished, as mountain managers dropped the ropes for a new season on December 3 with a surprising amount of the trail map open. Late fall storms blessed the Sierra with several feet of base layer, with Sierra-at-Tahoe reporting that about 90 inches have fallen prior to opening day.

Skiers and riders familiar with Sierra will find a radically different look this season. While the trails off Grandview Express are ready to be opened, all the forested areas -- including the famed glades between runs on the east side of the mountain -- will remain closed. Unpatrolled steeps in Jack's Bowl are expected to be opened when conditions permit.

The West Bowl -- a popular blue-black network of trails and tree islands -- is now wide open and treeless. The fire hits West Bowl hardest, and crews concentrated on removing damaged trees and spreading wood chips in order to get West Bowl ready and safe for the season. Mountain managers call the mitigated terrain the "hidden backstage in the trees that is now your stage to perform."

Off Grandview chair, upper-ridge easy cruiser Sugar 'n' Spice and its "mellow yellow" fingerlings opened on time along with a dozen other designated trails, but any treed areas will be roped off.

The gentle trails on the Backside, served by two fixed-grip doubles, are expected to open when conditions allow. A passel of blues and greens off Grandview and Nob Hill chairs are listed as open. But all the gladed terrain in between the named trails will remain closed.

Sierra-at-Tahoe is a member of the 21-resort Powder Alliance; merely show a season from a member-resort and get three days free.

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Multi-Mountain Passes Line Up For 2022-2023 In The West


We are entering the final period for discounts on multi-resort passes in the West, so let's take a look at what's new for the five nationwide players in the multiple mountain game.

The roster for the two-days-at-each Indy Pass continued to grow domestically this summer, with an eye for close-by pairings. The latest to join up are California's Mountain High -- creating a pairing with nearby Snow Valley above L.A. -- and Dodge Ridge in the Central Sierra, close to Indy partner China Peak.

Earlier this summer, Mt. Hood Meadows became the fourth Indy resort in Oregon. With five in Washington, the road-trippin' Indy Pass now boasts 28 full-on partners in the Rockies, Sierra and Cascades. Just show your pass at the ticket window, and head to the lift.

The unlimited-access Ikon Pass now covers 24 resorts in the West. Last spring, Utah's Snowbasin and Idaho's Sun Valley joined up and later, Panorama on Canadian Rockies' Powder Highway -- bringing Ikon's international presence to 10 countries. The pass also added 2- and 3-day options to its short-term Session Pass.

The Powder Alliance requires showing a season pass from any of its 21 resorts to get three free days at Alliance partners. The pass beefed up its international portfolio this summer with the addition of two New Zealand resorts on the flanks of the nation's largest volcano: Tūroa Ski Area and Wakapappa Ski Area. The rest of the Alliance's roster, including 17 in the West, remains the same.

Mountain Collective passholders now have Snowbasin and Sun Valley in the U.S., and Canada's Marmot Basin and Massif de Charlevois to put on their itinerary. Skiers and riders get two days at each of 11 resorts in the West, seven in Canada, and six others around the globe. Just show proof of purchase of the Mountain Collective pass and head to the hill.

After a decade of frenetic acquisitions, Vail Resorts only added Andermatt-Sedrun in Switzerland to its Epic Pass. Now, the industry's first multi-mountain pass has 37 resorts in the U.S., including six resorts in the Rockies (plus limited-days partner Tellluride), four on the West Coast, and western Canada's Whistler-Blackcomb.

Epic and Ikon passes also offer a variety of more restrictive passes for local areas or regions, limited number of days or late season, and special groups such as seniors, college or military.



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California Independents Make Season Pass Partnering A Priority


Season passes for 2022-2023 are beginning to come onto the early-season market for California's 38 independently owned ski and snowboard mountains.

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Blacktail Mountain Joins Powder Alliance


Montana's Blacktail Mountain is joining the Powder Alliance reciprocal lift pass program for next winter's 2022/23 season, which allows for three free days of skiing and riding at 17 winter destinations spanning three countries on two different continents.

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Powder Alliance Resorts Reach Out To Passholders Of Sierra-at-Tahoe


A half-dozen resorts of the Powder Alliance have provided pass holders at fire-damaged Sierra-at-Tahoe free access to their trails and slopes until the resort gets back on its feet.

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Multi-Resort Passes: Sales Are On, Changes Announced For West Skiers, Riders


The first round of 2021-22 multi-mountain season pass sales is underway, with a few changes from this past season in the works and price competition that continues to heat up.

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Skiing Just Got Cheaper - At The World’s Best Ski Resorts


Finally, some good post-vaccination news for skiers and snowboarders after two rough pandemic winters that greatly disrupted ski vacations, travel and the snow sports industry. Unlike just about everything else we enjoy in travel and recreation, the cost to go skiing has actually dropped in recent years, mainly do the prevalence of multi-resort unlimited ski passes. But as of today it is going down even more, at dozens of the most popular and desirable ski destinations in the world.

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Western Multi-Mountain Passes For 2019-2020 Already On Sale


With a boffo snow year all across the nation, the multi-resort season passes earned their keep in 2018-2019 as skiers and riders hop-scotched around. Now, those same passes are up for sale for next season.

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Powder Alliance Adds Loveland, Sugar Bowl To Resort List


Powder Alliance, the so-called “off-beat” combined pass, is now a partnership of 19 resorts in U.S., Canada, Japan and Chile with the addition of Sugar Bowl, Loveland and two mountains in the Canadian Rockies.

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Insider’s Guide To Timberline Lodge


Iconic mountain lodge has it all. (Timberline Lodge/Facebook)

Only one resort in North America spins its lifts in all four seasons. That’s Timberline Lodge Ski & Snowboard Area, hard on the slopes of Oregon’s Mount Hood and beneficiary of both high elevations and the largesse of the Northern Pacific storms. 

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Combo Passes Offer Deals, Delightful Dilemma

Combo Passes Offer Deals, Delightful Dilemma

Scenes like this one at Mammoth make combo passes enticing. (Sean Engie)

Thanks to ski-resort consolidations and new partnerships, there are so many combo or multi-area season passes now that it can be delightfully difficult to decide which pass to get.

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More Water Storage Upgrades Snowbasin’s Ability To Make Snow crews at Utah's Snowbasin have built a new reservoir on the mountain this summer to solidify snowmaking at the northern Wasatch resort.

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Multi-Resort Pass, Day Ticket Options Expand For 2015-2016; Buy Now To Save

VailBargains abound for skiers and riders who can hit the road to get on the slopes at a variety of resorts next season. Also for those with itchy feet, a trio of multi-resort, multi-day passes give riders and skiers up to five days at a variety of resorts in both the East and the West.

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SnoCountry’s Best Reciprocal Pass Deals

Winter Park

It started in the 1990s in Colorado when ski areas like Winter Park and Copper Mountain, in a bid to stay competitive with a rapidly expanding Vail Resorts conglomerate, started experimenting with discounted season ski passes.

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Cool Partnerships, Passes Still Available – But, Don’t Wait

College kids Waterville ValleyThe hot trends in lift tickets are cool college and partnership passes that can be found countrywide. But, time is running out to buy them.

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Utah Resorts Spruce Up For Season; New Quad At Snowbird

Snowbird lift install

While lawsuits and lobbying have dominated summer headlines, many of Utah’s resorts have spend time and money on the mountain and behind the scenes to upgrade their facilities and programs.


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