Last year I decided to splurge and buy both major season passes available in Colorado: EPIC, which is Vail’s offering and includes access of some kind to A-Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek; and Rocky Mountain SuperPass (RMSP), which is good at Eldora, Winter Park, Copper Mountain, Steamboat, and Crested Butte.

Of course, just as I decide to do that, we get one of the worst snow seasons on record. We are worried about water supply in the summer, as the snow melt is going to be insufficient, but right now I am more concerned about the tree stumps that are not covered and the runs that didn’t open until well into February.

Also, any crap season is good enough to throw the world of ski resorts into major turmoil. Whether that’s the problem or something else I cannot say, but I ended up buying the last RMSP season ever issued. RMSP is dead, as well as another competitor, M.A.X. They are replaced by a brand new pass that takes into account the shake-up in the industry.

What happened is that Vail Resorts (of EPIC) bought Whistler-Blackcomb from Intrawest, which runs Winter Park and Steamboat in Colorado. To make things more confusing, Intrawest renamed itself Alterra and is now a private company, still headquartered in Denver. And to top it all off, Alterra is co-owned by the company that runs Aspen, and synergies seem to emerge.

The end of all confusing happs is the emergence of a duopoly that is reflected in season passes. The old EPIC pass will continue, and will doubtlessly continue to be very popular. In fact, it snagged not only Whistler-Blackcomb, but also Crested Butte in its lineup. The pass will continue to offer some of the finest mountains in North America, including Whistler and Vail, two of my favorite three.

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