Choosing between ski resort passes has largely been based on your plans for the future. Now, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision might be based on what happened in the past. 

On Monday, Vail Resorts, which offers the Epic Pass, announced it would join Alterra Mountain Co. (Ikon Pass) in offering credits and rebates for pass holders who had their ski season cut short. All 2019–20 season holders of Epic Pass or Edge Card will receive a credit of at least 20 percent to apply toward the purchase of a season pass for 2020–21. Depending on how many days holders got in during the past season, credit can reach as high as 80 percent.

Those who held passes last season have until Labor Day (September 7) to apply their credit to a 2020–21 season pass, which still includes 10 buddy tickets.

Although resorts are not offering refunds for the disruption of the 2019–20 season (hence lawsuits filed by pass holders against both Vail Resorts and Alterra Mountain Co.), updates to Epic Coverage for the 2020–21 season cements a very deliberate refund policy. Not only is the coverage free, but it stipulates that if the entire season is lost due to COVID-19-induced closures, pass holders with Epic Coverage will receive a 100 percent refund. If the same were to occur for a portion of the season, refunds would be offered at an amount based on the closure’s length of time (as well as resort preferences holders made for their personal Epic Coverage).

On April 14, Alterra became the first to offer some sort of coronavirus markdown by offering at least a $50 discount for pass holders who renew for the 2020–21 season. Like Vail, Alterra also eliminated its early purchase April deadline, and is now offering an “Adventure Assurance” program, which will let skiers get a full refund before December 10 if it appears that the 2020–21 ski season will be impacted by COVID-19.