Obviously a seasons pass (or lift pass) is one of the most important things you need to plan for if you want to do a season in Whistler!
There are essentially 3 different ways to get yours hands on a season pass:
A Standard Season Pass… buy it yourself. (You must buy it before the start of the season)
A Spirit Pass… buy it through your local employer.
A WB Staff Pass… work or volunteer for Whistler Blackcomb for a free pass.
You will also need to decide what type of seasons pass you want to get:
An Epic Pass - ONLY AVAILABLE BEFORE THE START OF THE SEASON!
An Unlimited Pass
A mid-week only pass
A 15-day pass
Whistler Blackcomb is now, Epic
With Whistler Blackcomb officially joining the Vail family of ski resorts, we have now been given access to their Epic Pass. This pass gives you unlimited access to Whistler and Blackcomb as well as 11 American and 1 Australian ski resorts. These resorts include greats such as Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Park City and Heavenly, just to name a few. It also gives you limited access to a number of European ski resorts. If you are looking to explore America during your time in Whistler, this pass is for you! This pass is paid for in American dollars so the price does fluctuate with the exchange rate of your local currency. It also does not have all the same perks as the Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited pass so make sure you research both before deciding which one is best for you! It is only available before the start of the season so make sure you buy it before you arrive.
How to get a pass:
Standard season pass:
If you are planning to do a season in Whistler without working, this is the only way to get your hands on a season pass. You need to pay for it in full, before you can go skiing. You can buy it online, over the phone or in person when you get to town.
Whistler Blackcomb offer discounts to people who book their season pass early – the dates below vary from year-to-year, but to give you a general idea:
Super-Early-Bird Rate… available before the end of the previous season.
Early-Bird Rate… available before Canadian Thanksgiving (usually early October)
Regular Rate… available from Canadian Thanksgiving until the start of the season.
This pass gives you exactly the same perks as a standard season pass, you just pay less for it! The only drawback is that it’s not entirely controlled by you (so don’t call in sick on a pow day whilst using this pass to go skiing – your employer will probably fire you!).
The spirit pass is available to anyone working for a company in Whistler that is registered with the local Chamber of Commerce. The idea behind the spirit pass is to create a core group of local skiers & riders who understand the rules of the mountain, and are dedicated to upholding the “spirit” of Whistler – basically being very friendly, informative and accommodating to tourists. You will have to attend a half-day course that gives you a little general history on Whistler and makes sure you know the core values of this resort town (they make it pretty entertaining, it’s no math lecture).
Some employers will pay for your spirit pass if you work for them for the whole winter, or they will negotiate out a deal where they deduct $x amount from your pay-check each week towards the cost. Other companies will make you pay the entire amount upfront yourself.
If you can afford to, we recommend you buy a standard season pass at the early bird rate, then if you get a job in Whistler that can offer you a spirit pass, you can apply for a full refund on the standard seasons pass you bought. If you used your standard seasons pass before becoming eligible for a spirit pass they will decrease your refund for each day used, usually around $83 a day.
Vail resorts STaff pass
The staff pass cannot be bought – it is only available to employees and their spouses, & volunteers of Whistler Blackcomb AKA “The Mountain”. It will be revoked if you stop working for them, and if you are caught breaking any rules you will lose your pass & your job.
The mountain tend to pay pretty poorly but, if you take full advantage of your perks (especially the free ski school), you can easily make up for that. If you look at how much it costs to buy a Spirit pass, and divide that by the number of hours you will probably work in a season, a free staff pass is worth approximately $1p.h. in wages… so if you don’t manage to get a job with a free seasons pass, you are probably going to be paid at least $1p.h. more than many WB employees… so you’re not really missing out.
We recommend the same plan here as for those aspiring to get a spirit pass; buy a standard season pass at the early bird rate & you will be refunded if you get a job with the mountain. If you haven’t used it at all you will get a full refund, or about $60 will be deducted for each day of skiing you got in.
Types of passes
Gives you unlimited access to the hill all the time, all season. 2013/14 rates for an unlimited pass:
Spirit Pass Rate… $1,249 plus 5% tax + $30 admin fee
Super-Early-Bird Rate… $1,330 plus 5% tax
Early-Bird Rate… $1,489 plus 5% tax
Regular Rate… $1,795 plus 5% tax
Spring Pass Rate… access from mid/late-April onwards – rate not released until April ($229 for the 12/13 season).
Fairly self explanatory – it gives you unlimited access to the hill Monday-Friday with the exception of 4 blackout days (December 27th – 30th) when you can’t use it to go up the hill.
It’s perfect for people who work weekends (which is common in a resort town) or for people who don’t want to ski/ride on busier days anyway… why wait in lift lines when you can ride in peace all week?!
Spirit Pass Rate… not available
Super-Early-Bird Rate… not available
Early-Bird Rate… $1,129 plus 5% tax
Regular Rate… $1,449 plus 5% tax
This pass gives you 15 days of skiing throughout the season, with no other restrictions. If you want to use more than 15-days you can pay for additional days at the “Edge Card rate” which should always be the cheapest day rate available.
If you are coming to stay with us for only a month, this could be an appropriate choice for you.
Spirit Pass Rate… not available
Super-Early-Bird Rate… not available
Early-Bird Rate… $1,019 plus 5% tax
Regular Rate… $1,159 plus 5% tax
All season passes, whether 15-day passes or unlimited passes, offer you the same perks (listed below). WB staff passes offer higher discounts on products sold by WB, and free ski/snowboard school.
20% off food in most WB restaurants
20% off skis, boards, boots, bindings, accessories, apparel & outerwear
MAX4 Lessons for $70 a day
$50 off other snow school products (e.g. Roxy camps)
$100 off Whistler Heli-skiing
20% off Fresh Tracks Breakfast Tickets
15% off Moguls Clinics
15% off Scandinave Spa baths
20% off Hot-drinks on the mountain
20% off equipment rentals from WB
Discounted single day tickets for friends
50% of Tube Park Tickets
50% of Cultural Centre Tours