When Zach Ornitz was considering what pass to buy for the 2018-2019 ski season, the choice was easy. It was a “no brainer" for Ornitz — a resident of Ward, Colorado (20 miles northwest of Boulder) — to snap up an Ikon Base Pass, which includes his home resort of Eldora, where he previously bought a season pass.

The benefits of the Ikon Pass, which is good at 38 destinations worldwide including several within easy driving distance of Colorado’s Front Range, are obvious.

“Although I bought it because Eldora is my go-to mountain, based on proximity, I’ve been to Steamboat, Copper, and Winter Park already this season,” says Ornitz. “And I’m planning trips to Aspen and Banff this year because of it.”

Having Aspen Snowmass in the mix of resorts on the Ikon Pass really sweetened the deal for Ornitz, who for the past several seasons has also purchased a Classic Pass.
“This made Aspen even more affordable and accessible for me to return to,” says Ornitz, who used to live in Aspen. “Aspen Snowmass is hands down the best resort in the state. It has steeps, deeps, trees and nightlife. The drive is worth it because the I-70 corridor resorts are crowded, and the distance you have to travel to get to Aspen drastically cuts down the lift lines.”

In addition to shorter lift lines and thus, more time spent skiing, Aspen Snowmass offers abundant terrain across four distinct mountains. For the adventure-minded, there’s nothing quite like the steep, hike-to terrain of Highland Bowl; or you can add a day on the hill without punching your pass by trying uphilling, along one of several designated routes across all four mountains.

When it comes to off-hill activities and après-ski, Aspen Snowmass is second to none. Along with abundant restaurants and nightlife, your options after the lifts close might include a world-renowned jazz artist, dance troupe, classical concert, visual artist exhibition, or author talk.
Ikon Pass at Aspen Snowmass
Ikon Pass at Aspen Snowmass

Want to get the most bang for your buck on lodging? Central reservations agency Stay Aspen Snowmass offers packages and deals for Ikon passholders. And it’s worthwhile to bring the whole family: Kids 6 and under always ski free while the Kids Ski Free lodging package offers complimentary lift tickets to children ages 7-12 with a rental package from Four Mountain Sports. Not to mention the myriad events and activities Aspen Snowmass has to offer for families and kids of all ages, including the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, tubing, snowcat dinner rides, and VIK Snowmass — daily programming (most of it free) that’s sure to delight and engage your Very Important Kid.
Ikon Pass at Aspen Snowmass
Ikon Pass at Aspen Snowmass

Although the destination is the main attraction, the journey to Aspen Snowmass can also be enjoyable. Stop in Frisco for breakfast at the Butterhorn Bakery, or, just past Vail, in the historical gem of Minturn for lunch or dinner. Enjoy glittering stretches of the Colorado River and the majestic, near-vertical walls of Glenwood Canyon, where — if you’re lucky — you’ll spot bighorn sheep.

You can also use the journey time (if you’re a passenger) to sign onto the Aspen Snowmass app, where you’ll be able to check out mountain conditions, the weather forecast, and events and activities during your stay.

“Aspen has such a cool reputation as a town and as a ski resort,” says Eric Riles, an Ikon passholder from Fort Collins.

“I see having this pass as a great way to visit Aspen or other places that maybe I wouldn’t otherwise go to. And hopefully I’ll be able to check out the international destinations someday.”

About the Author

Catherine Lutz
Catherine Lutz


Catherine Lutz is an Aspen-based freelance writer and editor who helps craft stories and content for the Aspen Institute, Aspen Sojourner magazine, Powder magazine, and many others. An avid skier, paddleboarder, and mountain biker, she’s now vicariously experiencing a second childhood through her two young children in one of the best places on the planet to raise a family.

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