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SAM Magazine—Broomfield, Colo., March 21, 2022—Vail Resorts (VR) unveiled its 2022-23 Epic Pass lineup today, increasing prices slightly over its significantly reduced 2021-22 offerings.epic pass 2122 web New this year, the company also introduced a monthly payment plan and a cheaper tier of the Epic Day pass, with location-restricted access.

On a quarterly earnings call last week, CEO Kirsten Lynch said the company would continue to be tactical in its pricing decisions following the “strategic reset” in pass pricing in 2021-22, when VR dropped the cost of its entire product suite by 20 percent and sold a reported 2.1 million passes. The 2022-23 strategy includes a nominal pricing increase across season pass products:

  • The Epic Pass with unrestricted access to VR’s 40 North American resorts and restricted access to 40 partner resorts worldwide, will begin at $841, up from $783 for the 2021-2022 season;
  • the Epic Local, with unrestricted access to 29 VR resorts and restricted access to others, will begin at $626, up from $582; and
  • the Northeast Value pass, which includes VR’s three new Pennsylvania acquisitions, will retail for $514, up from $479.

The Epic Day pass, which offers one to seven days of skiing or riding, will have a new lower-tier option this year that provides access to 22 of VR’s North American resorts—primarily in the Midwest, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania. Prices for that restricted pass will start at $44 for one day. Epic Day access comes with blackout dates; buyers can add holiday access for an additional $63.

The other new offering is Epic FlexPay, which will allow passholders to pay in monthly installments. The FlexPlay includes zero down payment, no interest, and if purchased during the early buying period, comes with zero payments until September.

VR increased season passholder visits over the pre-pandemic season by a significant margin with its 2021-22 sales strategy. "For the season-to-date period ending March 6, 2022, 69 percent of our visits came from season pass holders compared to 56 percent of visits in the same period in fiscal year 2020,” said Lynch in the Q2 report.

Although overall season-to-date total skier visits rose only 2.8 percent and weekend and holiday visitation were flat to 2020, the company’s customer service was criticized this year, amid complaints of crowding and disrupted operations at several of its resorts.

Chief marketing officer Ryan Bennett aimed to address that in the 2022-23 Epic Pass pricing announcement, saying “We will not waiver in our commitment to continuously reinvest in the ski and ride experience … We are making bold investments to ensure we have a fully staffed team of passionate, engaged employees and adding 21 new lifts across 14 of our resorts to help skiers and riders get up and around the mountains faster and easier.”

Last week, ahead of the Q2 report, the company committed to raising its minimum wage to $20 per hour across all of its North American resorts and increasing current wages by an average of 30 percent to alleviate the staffing challenges experienced this winter, which it has said contributed to the guest experience issues.