September means cooler mornings, golden aspens and the countdown to the next ski season.  Last year the Colorado ski season began two weeks before Halloween and with the cool, very wet summer we have experienced this year – we may match or even beat that early date.

So, this is the time when excited skiers begin considering the multitude of passes which offer significant savings.  Epic Passes are offered at $729, and you get unlimited access to Colorado resorts Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, plus beyond Colorado destinations Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton. It also includes five days at Niseko United, Japan, and up to five days at Verbier, Switzerland, and Les 3 Vallees, France.

The Epic Local is a $549 adult pass or a $429 teen pass (if you’re still 18), with unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton. Then there are 10 restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, plus limited restrictions at Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.

A Keystone/A-Basin Pass provides access to the neighboring mountains for $289. Similarly, the Summit Value Pass will get you Keystone, A-Basin and limited access to Breckenridge for $469.

The Rocky Mountain Super Pass, which this year includes Eldora, is available for a $399 college student pass or a $529 adult pass, that also includes Copper Mountain and Winter Park, with restricted access to Steamboat, Crested Butte and New Zealand’s Mt. Ruapehu.  A full pass just for Eldora is $399, with an off-peak option for $339 and a super value option for $269.

And the Arapahoe Basin pass costs $279 and includes automatic enrollment in the A-Basin Club, which provides special discounts and offers. You also get three days at Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, one unguided ski day at Silverton and discounted single-day lift tickets for friends and family.

So here is the overview of ski passes available for Colorado skiers – with the caveat that when you buy a ski pass, other than a day pass, you will release many of your legal rights if injured by the negligence of the ski area operator or its employees.  These releases always accompany the pass purchase agreement as well as ski equipment rental agreements.  And they are enforced by Colorado courts, so read the fine print and consider your stomach for risk – every year we hear from skiers seriously injured by ski area negligence but who have no recourse because of a signed release.

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