How sweet it is: A new ski pass, ski resort renos for Colorado
L-R: Liz Birdsall, Colorado Tourism Office; Kristin Rust, Alterra Mountain Company; Sara Stookey Sanchez, Snowmass Tourism; and Annika Klint, Klint + Associates Inc.

How sweet it is: A new ski pass, ski resort renos for Colorado

TORONTO — They say that everything is a little sweeter in Colorado because of the altitude – the food, the wine and yes, the deals.

A delegation of Colorado tourism representatives was recently in Toronto to share the latest news from the Rocky Mountain State, which include a major renovation to one of its top ski destinations and a brand new, multi-destination ski pass that Canadians in particular will value.

Speaking to Travelweek exclusively, Liz Birdsall, Market Manager – Americas, Asia & Australia of the Colorado Tourism Office, said that Canada is consistently one of the state’s top two international markets (along with Mexico), with numbers growing year over year. In 2017, a total of 190,933 Canadians came to visit, a 6.5% increase from the year before, and 2018 is projected to be even better.

In Snowmass, part of the Aspen/Snowmass ski resort complex and considered the second largest ski resort in Colorado after Vail, a US$600 million renovation of the resort’s base is well underway. Phase one was completed in December 2018 and included the new 99-room Limelight Hotel, a new skating rink that’s free for guests to enjoy, and the mixed-use Lumin building featuring condos and retail space. Additional residences will debut next winter season with the ONE Snowmass building.

How sweet it is: A new ski pass, ski resort renos for Colorado

Snowmass Village

Kids on Snowmass Hills

The enhancements come just in time for the upcoming launch of the IKON Pass by Alterra Mountain Company. Created in 2017, Alterra comprises 14 North American mountain destinations throughout North America, including Blue Mountain in Ontario and Tremblant in Quebec.

The IKON Pass, anticipated to go on sale some time in March, offers skiers and riders access to 38 destinations across three continents for an all-in price of US$1,049 per adult. An IKON Base Pass will go for $749 per adult, still offering access to all 38 locations but with less rides at select resorts.

Kristin Rust, Director, Public Relations at Alterra Mountain Company, suggests purchasing the pass in the spring, when the price is at its lowest. “The pass will go up in price later on the in the season, anywhere from around $100 to $150,” she tells Travelweek. “So the earlier you buy, the more value you get.”

Rust adds that what Alterra is hoping for is that Canadians who frequent Blue Mountain and Tremblant will purchase the pass and be inspired to travel to and ski in Colorado, too.

“Colorado is only a three-hour flight from Toronto, it’s so easy to get to,” she says. Adding that both Air Canada and WestJet offer direct flights to Denver from Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. “Access is never going to be a problem for Canadians.”

Of course, Colorado isn’t only about skiing, a message the Tourist Office is actively pushing to travellers and travel agents. In Snowmass, Sara Stookey Sanchez lists a wide array of summer save-the-date events and activities, including its Summer Free Concert Series (Sting is set to perform this year), the Rendezvous Craft Beer Festival, and Yoga on the Mountain.

Elsewhere in the state, which is widely regarded as the fittest state in America, visitors can enjoy a wealth of outdoor fun and cultural offerings. Here is Colorado by the numbers:

  • 4 National Parks: Get back to nature at Rocky Mountain National Park, Mesa Verde, Great Sand Dunes and Black Canyon.
  • 8 National Monuments: Eight additional spots in the state have been preserved for their beauty and historic significance, including the newly added Browns Canyon National Monument.
  • 10 Scenic & Historic Railroads: Many of the state’s historic rail routes offer fun themed trips, such as photo excursions, mystery trains, dinner treks and more.
  • 30 Hot Springs: One of Colorado’s most popular and relaxing natural features are its naturally heated hot springs.
  • 42 State Parks: Located in every corner of the state, these stunning parks boast crystal-clear lakes, campsites and hiking trails that lace through the backcountry.
  • 960 Wildlife Species: A visit to Colorado can be handsomely rewarded with a sighting of a bighorn sheep, the official state mammal.
  • 1,500 Ghost Towns: Mysterious remnants of Colorado’s 1800s Gold Rush can still be seen today.
  • 6,000 Miles of Rivers: Home to the headwaters of seven major rivers, Colorado has rapids and fishable waters for days.
  • 330 Breweries, 140 Wineries and 90+ Distilleries: Millennial culture is alive and well in Colorado, with much focus on farm-to-table cuisine.

For more information visit and For details about the IKON Pass, go to

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