Skiing Is Broken. Can Indy Pass Fix It?

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If you ski, you know the problem. If you don’t ski, that problem might be the reason why. Skiing has simply become too expensive, too crowded, too commercial, just too much of what you don’t like and not enough of what you do. With megaresorts dominating the industry, peak-season lift ticket prices next winter will reach $299—per day—at some spots. Pass prices are also going up way faster than inflation, as are prices for everything from parking to pints. And it’s not just the cost. The new business of skiing, with so many resorts under common ownership, is sucking the life out of ski culture at big and small resorts alike.

If that sounds like a rant, that’s because it is. Erik Mogensen doesn’t hold back when he talks about the challenges skiing faces. He has witnessed the current trajectory of the ski industry firsthand, and he hates to see what’s happening to a sport he loves. But unlike most ranters, Mogensen has a solution.

It’s called Indy Pass, and it offers a return to what skiing used to be: affordable outdoor fun that’s accessible to everyone. “Skiing shouldn’t be an exclusive luxury good,” says Mogensen. “It should be a way for all of us to connect more deeply with the natural world and with others.”

Skiing at Mission Ridge
Erik Mogensen skiing at Mission Ridge, one of the nearly 200 independent resorts on the Indy Pass. (Photo: Cameron Hein)

Here’s how it works: Indy Pass has partnered with nearly 200 independent ski resorts. Buy the pass—which costs barely more than a single day at some megaresorts—and get two days of skiing/riding at each destination. That means access to more resorts across the United States, Canada, Japan, and Europe than you could ski in a single season. For beginners and families, it’s priced low enough to make just a couple visits worthwhile. And for skiers and riders looking to go big, it’s perfect for stringing together unique, uncrowded resorts on epic road trips or filling weekends in places like the Northeast, where there are lots of small hills close together. For everyone, it’s a great way to discover real gems, from Mission Ridge in Washington to Jay Peak in Vermont.

But Indy Pass is more than a great deal. It’s also supporting independent resorts and preserving the ski experience. The win-win is accomplished in two ways. First, Indy Pass returns 85 percent of pass sales revenue to resorts, bolstering the bottom line at small operations. Second, the number of passes sold is limited, which prevents overcrowding and all the parking, lift line, and lodge chaos that plagues megaresorts. The pass sold out last spring in ten days.

Indy Pass
A family warms up by a fire at Antelope Butte in Wyoming. (Photo: Indy Pass)

“Indy Pass provides an antidote to the overhyped and overcrowded experience that awaits at larger resorts,” says Mogensen. “It’s also crucial to attracting and retaining new and casual participants, who often feel overwhelmed and even unwelcome amid the mayhem of the modern megaresort experience. Finally, it’s a welcome reminder that an alternative skiing experience still thrives—one that offers thrills and challenges, yes, but that also remains humble, welcoming, and down to earth.”

You could say that Mogensen’s passion for skiing—doing it, teaching it, promoting it, and now rescuing it—is his life’s work. The 36-year-old started skiing at age three at Tamarack, a small resort near Buffalo, New York, where he quickly became a community fixture. By his early teens, he was sleeping in the ski school locker room on weekends. But when Mogensen was 16, Tamarack abruptly shut down, leaving an imprint that drives him today. Preserving similar ski areas, he says, “is what I was put on this planet to do.”

Indy Pass
With Indy Pass, outdoor fun is accessible and affordable at ski destinations like Magic Mountain in Vermont. (Photo: Indy Pass)

Mogensen is well on the way with Indy Pass, which he acquired in 2022. Together with Entabeni Systems, a software company solely serving independent ski areas, which Mogensen also owns, he aims to provide a better experience for skiers and help the resorts he loves thrive.

Priority number one is partnering with even more resorts that deliver the Indy Pass promise: welcoming, uncrowded, independent. Mogensen says the roster of member resorts will be at least to 200 for the 2024–2025 season and will offer refunds if it isn’t. You can even get a refund if your favorite resort drops out of the program. Indy also offers a no bank, no interest payment plan so you can spread out the cost.

So what’s the catch? Only one: pass sales are limited. “It’s the only way to stay true to our mission to preserve the less-crowded nature of member resorts,” says Mogensen. “We could likely sell double the amount of passes then we do, but we won’t.”

That means you better act fast if you want an Indy Pass for next season. The 2024–2025 pass goes on sale March 8, and despite a cap on sales, the price remains wildly reasonable—just $349, which is about what you’d pay for a single day and lunch at some megaresorts.

Indy Pass
Erik Mogensen is on a mission to save independent ski resorts. (Photo: Shane Wilder)

So, as you think about where you want to ski or ride next season, consider what you want your experience to be like and what you want the future of skiing to look like. With Indy Pass, you now have a better choice.

The Indy Pass is the fastest-growing multi-mountain pass in the world. It offers 200-plus alpine and nordic resorts across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, each providing two days of skiing or riding. Indy resorts are independent of any significant corporate ownership, and many are owned and operated by multigenerational families, providing a uniquely authentic and affordable skiing experience.