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Listen up, mountain lovers, because we’re about to remind you that embracing the stoke – that adrenaline-fuelled endorphin rush that jolts us to life when we’re charging down powder-blanketed mountainsides with our buddies – gets a whole lot easier when you’ve got an Ikon Pass. This travellers’ essential won’t just provide easier access to North America’s best ski resorts, it will also save you hard-earned cash and supercharge your lust for high altitude fun.
Our favorite thing about the Pacific Northwest? The easily-accessible Crystal Mountain Resort, just 76mi (122km) from Seattle. With your trusty Ikon Pass you can carve up its 2,600 acres (1,058ha) of terrain, which you’ll find in the northeast corner of Mount Rainier National Park. It’s a fantastic resort for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, although for some super-sized stoke, head to the Northway trail for great bowls, chutes and tree runs.
There are endless ways to supercharge the stoke in California. Head to Mammoth Mountain, where your Ikon Pass not only provides hassle-free access to 3,500 acres (1,416ha) of terrain, it has historically unlocked discounts at dozens of restaurants, too – when the mountain opens fully again, we recommend the Melt House and Boundary Bar for superb grilled cheese sandwiches. Other reasons Mammoth Mountain ranks as one of America’s best resorts? It has one of the longest ski seasons in the US – the slopes are often still crowded on 4 July – as well as brilliant snow cover, thanks partly to its status as California’s highest resort at 11,053ft (3,369m). Ikon Pass holders should also check out Squaw Valley, which hosted the 1960 Winter Games. Hop on the KT-22 ski lift, otherwise known as the Mothership, to tear up some of the resort’s toughest runs.
As an Ikon Pass holder, you can get your stoke on easily in Colorado, thanks to the accessibility of its resorts. During a normal year, when everything is up and running, you can hop on the Winter Park Express from Union Station in Denver, which will take you straight to Winter Park. Meanwhile the snow at Steamboat Ski Resort has its own special quality. Thought Japan was the home of champagne powder? Think again. Local skier Joe McElroy coined that phrase here in the ’50s, and now the expression is synonymous with Steamboat’s white stuff. Apparently, its fluffiness is down to a high water content, and Steamboat’s snow even has its own trademark. Another fantastic Colorado resort is Aspen Snowmass, which celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2021, making this spring the perfect time to visit. It comprises four mountains, each with its own distinct personality. The common denominator? Bucketloads of stoke.
For a stoke-fuelled ride on the wild side head to Big Sky, a beautiful resort near Yellowstone National Park known for its powder-blanketed steeps, spectacular scenery and wildlife. There’s never been a better time to visit, since the 200 rooms at the resort’s New Huntley Lodge have recently been refurbished, and winter 21/22 will see the unveiling of the Swift Current 6, which will be the fastest six-person chairlift in North America. The best bit? Ikon Pass holders have historically been able to save up to 25 percent on accommodation at Big Sky.
This spring, use your Ikon Pass to crank up the stoke in Snowbird, which has some seriously challenging terrain. Its countless Double Black Diamond runs attract the world’s best skiers and snowboarders. It’s a laid-back resort with just four hotels, of which our favorite is the Inn, where in normal circumstances, you can enjoy a post-session soak in the outdoor hot tub before toasting Snowbird’s steeps at the Lodge Bistro. Base yourself here and you’ll also have easy access to Alta, a neighbouring ski-only area that covers just 4sqmi (10sqkm) but has runs for all abilities, ranging from the beginner-friendly Crooked Mile to the more advanced Wildcat Area, with its ferocious descents and powder-filled bowls.
Killington, in Vermont, is a fantastic resort that offers a range of extra activities like spa days and tubing. With an Ikon Pass you almost always get huge discounts at its restaurants and bars, discounted lift tickets for friends, and free mountain bike rentals on certain days. This is a mountain lovers’ mecca – a large, high altitude resort known for the diversity of its terrain, which has hosted the Audi FIS Ski World Cup, Fox US Open of Mountain Biking, and Rails 2 Riches freestyle event.
Revelstoke is a stoke-inducing winter paradise where you’ll find the longest vertical drop of any ski resort in North America. The resort is quickly becoming one of Canada’s best, with the December 2020 opening of a new hotel, Basecamp Revelstoke, quickly followed by the revamp of its lift network – the Revelation Gondola, Stoke Chair and Ripper Chair recently had capacity upgrades, and the new Stellar Chair makes getting to the resort’s best green runs a breeze.
Tremblant is a brilliant example of the diversity of resorts covered by the Ikon Pass. This Canadian winter wonderland, just two hours’ drive from Montréal, has a huge range of runs and a picturesque town center filled with boutiques and bars. You’ll need to wrap up warm here, although a great way to get the blood flowing is with a high-speed descent of Versant Nord, reached via the Telecabine Express. After a day on the slopes, when everything is open as usual, you’ll be able to treat yourself to some traditional Quebecois cuisine at one of Tremblant’s many restaurants. La Savoie, with its fragrant raclettes and stone-grilled meats, is a great place to start.
Want your very own stoke-filled adventure and access to North America’s top ski resorts? Secure an Ikon Pass at ikonpass.com