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CBMR looking at options after Rocky Mountain Super Pass is discontinued

No definitive plan yet to be part of Ikon or Epic pass

By Mark Reaman

As the world of the mega ski pass gets shuffled around with the recent introduction of new products and new partnerships, Crested Butte Mountain Resort appears to be waiting on a date. The Aspen-based Alterra Mountain group last week unveiled a new season ski pass clearly designed to compete with Vail Resort’s very successful Epic Pass, and Crested Butte is not on the list.

Called the Ikon Pass, the 23-resort season pass includes a collaboration of ski resorts ranging across Aspen Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Alta, Steamboat, Deer Valley and Eldora.

“The Ikon Pass is a collaboration of like-minded mountain destinations across North America where incredible terrain, unique character and local traditions are celebrated,” said Erik Forsell, chief marketing officer for Alterra Mountain Company. “We’ve curated a community of iconic destinations.”

The Ikon replaces the Rocky Mountain Super Pass, which over the last several seasons had become a big driver in attracting skiers to Crested Butte. That could have a negative impact for local skier numbers. CBMR said that due to “confidentiality agreements” the exact number of super pass users in Crested Butte could not be divulged.

When the Ikon pass was announced last week at the Outdoor Retailer show in Denver, CBMR immediately put out a statement about the move. “We have been aware of the upcoming announcement of the Alterra Mountain Company coming out with a new pass that wouldn’t include the Rocky Mountain Super Pass+,” said CBMR senior marketing manager Erica Rasmussen. “We are currently considering our options for future pass partnerships that will continue to add value for our pass holders and drive visitors to come ski and ride Crested Butte Mountain Resort.”

Vail’s Epic Pass has become a huge seller with more than 700,000 such passes sold every year. It includes Vail-based resorts such as Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, A-Basin, Tahoe, Whistler Blackcomb and Park City. In a surprise move this week, Telluride Ski Resort, which is not owned under the Vail banner, was included in next year’s Epic Pass as a seven-day partner.

“Telluride is on the bucket list of skiers and snowboarders around the world and we’re delighted to offer this iconic mountain resort as part of the Epic Pass experience,” said Kirsten Lynch, chief marketing officer of Vail Resorts, in a press release.

This week, Rasmussen emphasized that CBMR was pursuing alternatives but she was not at liberty to go into specifics.

“Due to confidentiality agreements, we cannot comment on skier visit numbers and how they relate to our Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus agreement. Two of our key pass partnership programs, the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus and M.A.X. Pass, have been discontinued due to the changes regarding Alterra Mountain Company and their Ikon Pass announcement,” she explained.

When asked how many Rocky Mountain Super Pass holders have come to CBMR the last couple of seasons, Rasmussen said skier visit numbers were not allowed to be released so it was “presently too soon to tell” how much the loss of the passes would impact local skier visits next season.

When asked if CBMR was in talks with other resorts, she said, “Unfortunately we are unable to comment on specific plans at this time. Since last year’s announcement of KSL/Aspen Ski Company’s joint venture we have wanted to have a proactive game plan should their pass programs impact ours. We continue to maintain a diligent strategy in working toward plans for next season.”

Rasmussen said she couldn’t comment on whether Alterra contacted CBMR about being part of the new Ikon pass and, when asked if CBMR wanted to be part of the pass, she said, “Our product, character, and location set us apart and it’s our job to figure out how to best align ourselves for success and the right fit moving forward.”

She had the same response when asked if CBMR was interested in following Telluride and participating in the Epic Pass. “Unfortunately we are unable to comment on specific plans at this time,” she reiterated.

The specific details of the cost and availability of the Ikon pass at the various resorts are still being worked out.

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