How to save on ski tickets with the Mountain Collective Pass?

Recently I posted a video on Youtube talking about my ski experience at Banff during the 2020/2021 ski season. In this post, I want to dive a little deeper on the Mountain Collective Pass.

What is Mountain Collective?

Like all the other ski passes, you pay 1 price and get access to different resorts around the world. This year, Mountain Collective offers 23 Destinations around the world:

  • 12 Resorts in the United States

  • 5 Resorts in Canada (+1 Bonus resort not listed)

  • 1 Resort in France, and yes it's Chamonix

  • 1 Resort in Japan

  • 1 Resort in New Zealand

  • 2 Resorts in Australia

  • 1 Resort in Chile


You get 2 day tickets to each of the 23 resorts, so total 46 days of skiing or snowboarding. Additional days are 50% off, and there are NO BLACKOUT DATES. It's actually pretty sweet!


Bonus Resort: Many people don't know, because it's not advertised on the Mountain Collective site, BUT you have one free day at Norquay Banff. All you need to do is go to the counter at Norquay and tell them you have the Mountain Collective pass, and they will give you a free lift ticket for the day!



Mountain Collective vs. Ikon vs. Epic

There are many posts out there that go through the comparison between all three passes, like CNN, The Points Guy, NY Time, The Clymb to name a few. For myself, the reasons why I picked Mountain Collective are simple:

  • No blackout dates (You need to pay a premium for Ikon or Epic for no blackout)

  • Has all the good Canadian resorts...out West (sorry, Blue Mountain!)

  • and most importantly, IT'S THE CHEAPEST!

Except for Mountain Collective, all the other passes are going to run you up to ~$1K, which is a bit too much money for a Bougie Cheap girl like me!



How much do you actually save?

Quite a bit actually. Typically if you use 4 free days at 2 Canadian resorts, you usually make your money back. For us, we skied 2 days at Lake Louise and 2 days at Sunshine and basically is $1 shy from making our money back already. Meaning if we were to go to any other destinations to ski this season (please don't be a bitch COVID), the tickets would basically be free!



When to Buy the Pass?

For the past 3 years, I've purchased the Mountain Collective Pass at a particular time of the year. For context, the Mountain Collective pass is sold in USD, and being Canadians, we need to add a whooping 30% on the dollar (1 USD = ~1.3 CAD) plus the foreign exchange fee on our Canadian credit cards. However, every year around November, right before Black Friday, they usually have an "at-par" promotion. Meaning you can use pay the USD price in CAD, which is basically a 30% savings + foreign exchange fees saved!

Reminder email from Mountain Collective on the at par offer


This year we got our pass for $489 CAD! Last year our pass was $508 CAD and the year before was $475 CAD. The reason why the price fluctuates is because the pass itself has tier pricing, based on the number of pass sold. So the price depends on when you buy. When the pass first becomes available for sale (usually summer time), the pass is at its cheapest, think early bird pricing. Once they sell out the set number of passes at the early bird pricing, the pass price goes up to the next tier. Once they sell out the set number of passes at that price, it goes up again. Until they sell out of all the passes. So if you are in anywhere but Canada, it's best to buy the ski passes as early as possible. If you are in Canada, waiting for the at par pricing is still better than the savings from early bird pricing.


Are you allowed to share the pass?

Well, that's a no. Have I tried, you ask? 😏


Since you bring the purchase confirmation email to the ski resort to pick up the pass the day of, I've given my email to my friend's wife who was going to Niseko in Japan. I also gave her a picture of my driver's license since they sometimes do ID check. It worked like a charm! However, I would be careful though as if they catch you not being the passholder, they have the rights to terminate and deactivate your pass immediately and for the rest of the season.


What's new with Covid?

This year, you have the option to get some of the lift tickets shipped to your house from Mountain Collective. This is partly because they want less people crowding the service desk, picking up the passes at the resorts. I also heard that many of the season passes issued by the resorts themselves have been sold out, so maybe another reason for them to better control the crowd indoor.


Many of the ski resorts also have new operational guidelines. For example, you have to wear a mask at all times, both indoor and outdoor. This wasn't too big of an issue because I normally wear a balaclava anyway when I ski. Of course, 2 meters apart while waiting in line for the ski lift or gondola. Oh yeah, and now you can refuse to share the lift or gondola with other skiers and boarders if you don't feel comfortable, without feeling bad at all!


I think everyone had the same idea to stay outside during Covid, so during the weekend, there are a lot of people. Like A LOT! The video below is 9:30am at Lake Louise, just 30 minutes after they opened. The amount of people waiting in line to go up the gondola was insane! So make sure you go right when they open to avoid the crowd!



The cafeteria situation is also not great yet. I don't think they have fully figured it out yet, operationally. With limited seating, the number of people that are allowed indoor reduced significantly, meaning you have to wait up to 30 minutes outside in the cold just to get in, just to line up again to buy food. And then line up again for a seat. So lots of time wasted if you didn't bring your own food and have to eat at the chalet.


At the Temple Lodge at Lake Louise, they actually started using QR Code Menu, like many restaurants. And you can order and pay directly online. Then the waitress would bring the food to you, meaning once you sit down and remove your mask, you don't need to get up at all until you're ready to head back to the slopes. I thought that was pretty neat.


Conclusion

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed using my Mountain Collective at Sunshine and Lake Louise in Alberta. Even though I'm not sure if I can ski again during this season with the rising numbers of the cases in Canada, it was nice to enjoy the mountain for a few days. And of course the best part is that I've made my money back on my Mountain Collective!



Have you been on any ski trips recently or planning to ski this 2020/2021 season during the pandemic? Be sure to leave me a comment to let me know which ski resort you're planning to hit up. Also, don't forget to subscribe and be a part of the BC crew! Remember, Bougie on the Cheap, Keep your pockets deep!

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