Tips for shredding the slopes, saving a buck this ski season


Collegian | Milo Gladstein

Ryoma Kimata grabs his board off one of the kickers in the men’s slopestyle finals at Dew Tour Dec. 18.

Jeremiah Janzen, Sports Reporter

As the heart of the winter season approaches, skiers and snowboarders are anxiously anticipating peak shredding season. While Fort Collins may not be home to any mountain resorts, there are still plenty of places within reasonable driving distance that students along the Front Range can enjoy during this special time of year.

For avid skiers and snowboarders who are looking to make multiple trips throughout the season, the best bang for your buck comes from purchasing either an Ikon Pass or Epic Pass. Single-day lift tickets are also available for those who may not be able to commit to as many trips. However, each pass provides access to different mountain resorts — both in Colorado and worldwide — while also possessing a unique set of benefits for its owners.


Ikon Pass owners are afforded a similar experience to that of the Epic Pass; however, the included resorts are for completely different locations.

The Epic Pass allows unlimited access to several Colorado resorts, including Vail Mountain, Keystone Resort, Beaver Creek Resort, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Crested Butte Mountain Resort. This pass also allows up to seven days to enjoy the Telluride Ski Resort and provides a half-off discount any time after those seven days have been used.

Both skiers and snowboarders receive a variety of discounts and benefits as part of purchasing the Epic Pass. Food, lodging, lessons and rentals are all available at a 20% discount for pass holders. Epic owners are also provided with a 50% discount for gear tuneups and one free waxing per year. The fun doesn’t stop at the slopes, though; Epic Pass holders receive a 20% discount at qualifying golf courses, as well as 20% off bike rentals at certain resorts.

Ikon Pass owners are afforded a similar experience to that of the Epic Pass; however, the included resorts are for completely different locations. The Ikon Pass provides access to Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Aspen Snowmass, Copper Mountain, Eldora Mountain Resort, Steamboat Ski Resort, Winter Park and more.

Benefits include early bird specials before the lifts open, lift ticket discounts for non-pass holders and a variety of food and lodging discounts. Those who have an interest in climate change policy will be happy to hear that Ikon Pass provides a $50 membership to Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit organization focused on nonpartisan climate change policy.

While Colorado State University students may worry about the somewhat lengthy excursions to these destinations, a campus program known as SkiSU may help ease those concerns. SkiSU is a shuttle service that hosts 12 different trips throughout the semester to a total of five different ski locations. Round-trip transportation for students is only $23 per student, with buses departing from Fort Collins at 6 a.m. and leaving the resorts at 4 p.m.

Key Tips:

  • Get to the resorts as early as possible. Parking lots fill up fast, and the best parking spots are often ones that allow you to ski right up to the lift.
  • Prepare for the conditions. Certain resorts, such as Eldora, have parking lots that are not paved and are more dirt-style lots. This dirt becomes super muddy as the season begins to warm up, so bring some shoes that you don’t mind muddying up before you put your boots on.
  • Keep slope difficulty in mind. Some resorts provide more challenging slopes than others. Certain resorts will provide a better experience for you based on your experience and skill as a skier or snowboarder. Crested Butte and Telluride are known for their difficult runs, while Eldora and Copper Mountain may be better suited for beginners.

Reach Jeremiah Janzen at or on Twitter @JeremiahJanzen.