Epic Pass to Launch New Gear Membership
The pass rivalry continues as Vail Resorts drops another benefit, this one aimed at vacationing skiers looking to simplify the gear equation.
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The renting vs. buying skis debate is one of the longest-running in the ski universe, and one of the most commonly asked questions regarding ski travel. After all, we can’t all afford—or have room for—a quiver of skis for different conditions, and we don’t all ski enough to warrant it anyway. If this sounds like you, then Vail Resorts’ new My Epic Gear membership program might be for you.
My Epic Gear, which is launching as a pilot program for a limited number of Epic Pass holders next ski season at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone (with plans to expand to Whistler Blackcomb, Park City, Crested Butte, Heavenly, Northstar, Stowe, Okemo, and Mount Snow for the 2024-’25 season), is like a season-long demo program that you can use as much or as little as you like. For an initial $50 fee, Epic Pass skiers unlock the ability to choose any ski they want, on any day they ski, delivered to them slopeside, for $50 a day. (Demo skis at the popular Vail ski shops are about $80/day, with discounts for renting online and for multiple days bringing that price down to $70 or so a day.)
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The gear membership will be managed exclusively through the new My Epic App, also launching next season—the one that will eliminate the need to get a printed pass, if you so choose. Skiers will open the app and arrange each day’s demo from there, including ski size, delivery address, and duration of the rental. Boots are included in the price, but skiers can opt out if they have their own, bringing the price down a bit.
So, is this a good deal? That depends. Here’s a quick look at the program’s benefits.
My Epic Gear Membership Details
- Choose a ski at the beginning of a season, and that model is guaranteed to be available any day of the season, fully tuned.
- Or choose a different ski, based on availability.
- Choose from the most popular and latest skis and boots (specific brands and skis not yet announced).
- Get fitted for high-quality ski boots with customized insoles, or opt-out if you have your own.
- Free in-resort delivery and slopeside pick-up and drop-off every day.
- Manage everything through the My Epic app.
It’s clearly aimed at vacation skiers who might not find it worthwhile to own their own skis depending on where they travel and the conditions when they get there. Traveling with skis is a hassle, and can be an added expense. And when you’re flying to Heavenly to snorkel in their record-breaking powder, schlepping your 82mm underfoot frontside cruiser that’s perfect for Vermont corduroy won’t result in the best on-slope experience. After all, they make powder skis for a reason.
Another person who might like My Epic Gear is the ski shopper. With demo days not being as widely offered as they used to be, getting the chance to try different brands and models for under $50 a day is a pretty decent deal. Add in the convenience of having each ski brought to you, fitted to your boot sole, and tuned for the conditions, and we can see the benefit here. That said, reps from Vail Resorts said that they can’t yet share which brands or ski models will be included.
At the end of the day, it’s an added benefit on the Epic Pass that skiers will have the ability to opt into. Or not.
“Having the right gear is essential to the experience of every skier and rider,” said Kirsten Lynch, Vail Resorts’ chief executive officer. “However, the traditional model of gear ownership and gear rental has not changed in decades. My Epic Gear reimagines gear ownership and gear rental, whether guests want the certainty of their own gear for the season or for the day, transforming the quality, service, convenience, and cost of one of the most critical parts of the mountain experience.”
Look for the My Epic Gear program on the app when it launches in the fall.