A Whistler Season Pass
Does It Make "Cents" For You?
"How many days per season would I have to ski before it makes sense
to buy a Whistler season pass?"
It seems I revisit this question each year when it comes time to
renew my Whistler Blackcomb Edge Card
and I'm dreaming about someday
getting 30 or more
days on the mountain in a season.
I mean, who wouldn't want to get up here...
Dad and the boys, top of Jersey Cream Chairlift,
as many times as they want each winter without having to worry about
going here first each time
they arrive at the mountain...
Whistler Blackcomb ticket window circa 2008 (and
yes, the prices have gone up since then!)
So, back to my original question...
"How many days on the mountains
does it take to make it financially beneficial to buy a Whistler
seasons pass?" Well, although there is not a "definitive" answer (it
depends on your age, when exactly you ski/ride, and how you buy your
among other factors),
with a little number crunching and a few assumptions we can certainly
arrive at an educated guess.
Our Family's First Whistler Season Pass
The 2011/2012 season marked a bit of a milestone in our family as
our oldest boy Callum (he's 11) was the first of our clan to get a
Whistler Blackcomb season
pass. Here he is with his younger brother enjoying his first day of the
season (mid December) with his new pass on Blackcomb Mountain.
Callum on Blackcomb Mountain enjoying his first
day of skiing using his Whistler Blackcomb season pass. Lucky for us,
his brother is still young enough to ski for free!
Why a season pass for our son and not us? Well, our family drives up
from Vancouver and skis about 10 to 12 days per winter. When we
crunched the numbers, a season pass was the best bet for my son, but
not for my wife and me.
Are you curious if it makes sense for you or
someone in your family to purchase a Whistler season pass?
Alright then, let's take a closer look at Whistler Blackcomb season
prices for the different age groups, look at the alternative Whistler
ticket options available, and try and come up with the "magic number" of ski
days it takes to make a season pass make "cents".
**Note: The following prices have been updated for the 2012/2013
season and do not include any applicable taxes (add 12%).
Adult (19-64) Whistler Season Pass
Magic Number: 20 Days
- Midweek Whistler Blackcomb Season Passes are valid Monday to
Friday, except from December 27-30
- Whistler Parent Passes can be shared between two parents and must
be purchased along with a Child Season Pass, a Tot Pass or a Whistler
Kids Program Pass
I calculated this "magic number" as follows: I subtracted the price of
a 10-day edge card ($599 if purchased before the first week of May for
the following season) from the lowest season pass price of $1,249. This
leaves $650. Then I divided $650 by $83 (the discounted cost to
ski/ride per day during regular season after the pre-loaded days are used up on the edge
card). This gives us the number 7.8 (let's call it 8). In other words,
if you skied 8 more days after your edge card ran out you would end up
paying roughly the same amount as you would have if you had purchased a
Whistler season pass.
But wait a second you say, wouldn't the magic number of days be 19, not
20? Well, with the 10 day edge card you get a free early season (before
December 21) day included making it an "11" day edge card in reality.
Hence the "20 day" magic number.
Seasons Pass For Seniors (65+)
Magic Number: 15 Days
- Midweek Whistler Blackcomb Passes are valid Monday to Friday,
except from December 27-30
A similar calculation to the one used for the adult season pass was
used to calculate this "senior magic number" as well.
Student (17-29) Whistler Season Pass
Number (19-29 years old): 9 Days
- Valid everyday during ski season except Dec 27-30
To calculate this magic number I subtracted the cost of a 5 day early
bird adult edge card ($335) from the early bird student season
pass price ($469) which leaves $134. I then divided the $134 by $83
(cost of skiing or snowboarding extra day) which is about 2 days of
skiing. Add the free early season day you get with the edge card and
you are up to 8 days to break even. Therefore, your 9th day and onward
on the slopes is clear sailing.
Number (17-18 years old): 10 Days
This number was calculated the same way as the magic number for the
19-29 year olds, but using "youth" edge card pricing (which is cheaper)
rather than adult pricing.
: in order
to qualify for this Whistler season pass you must meet the following
- you must be between the ages of 17 and 29 when you apply
- you must be a full-time student (3 or more courses) at a post
secondary school located in either Canada, Washington State or the
state of Oregon.
- you must show a copy of your current course curriculum along with
valid student and government identification when you pick up your pass
- you must apply online
- passes are non-transferable
Youth (13-18) Season Pass
Number: 13 Days
A similar calculation to the one used for the adult season pass was
used to calculate this "youth magic number" as well. And if you are 17
or 18 and a full time post secondary student, you may want to look into
a student season pass to save a couple of hundred dollars. (see above)
Child (7-12) Whistler Season Pass
Magic Number: 12 Days
To arrive at this "magic number" I subtracted the price of a 10-day
edge card ($299 before first week of May for next season) from the
price of the season pass ($339) which leaves $39. The discounted cost
per day to ski after the pre-loaded 10 days is $43 during the regular season. But like the adult
10 day Whistler edge card, it comes with a free early season day,
effectively giving you 11 days of skiing for the 10 day price.
Therefore, the magic number becomes 12.
Child (6 and under) Season Pass
Children under 7 years old ski and ride free all season. However, they
must still have a ticket in order to get onto the lifts (likely for
insurance reasons). The daily lift tickets are free from any ticket
window and if you are going to be on the mountain for consecutive days
you can get a multi day ticket. This saves you going back to the ticket
window each day.
Alternatively you can buy a "Tot Pass" for $15, which is like a
Whistler season pass for little ones. Again, this just saves
you the hassle of going to the ticket window every time your child
heads to the mountain.
Whistler Summertime (Peak 2 Peak) Season Pass
If you do choose to purchase a Whistler season pass in order to take
advantage of unlimited skiing and riding during the winter, then you
can also ride the lifts on Whistler and Blackcomb (and the Peak 2 Peak
in between) for free all summer. Otherwise, prices are as follows:
Further Discounting Your Family's Whistler Season Passes
Our family's goal is to "someday" be skiing enough days each season so
that a Whistler season pass makes sense for everyone in our clan. And
the 10% family discount will help us get there sooner. How does this
work? Simply purchase an adult or senior season pass along with either
a youth or children's season pass and you get a 10% discount on both
passes. This will help knock a few days off the "magic numbers" above.
Here's to hoping that I can take advantage of this before I'm old
enough to qualify for a senior pass.
Other Benefits Of A Whistler Season Pass
In addition to unlimited days of riding and/or skiing during ski
season, the Whistler season pass offers many other perks and
privileges to those who purchase one. Here are a few samples of these
- 20% off on food at the on-mountain restaurants
- 2 for 1 Fresh Tracks Breakfasts
- 50% off at the tube park
- up to 65% off on ski and snowboard lessons
- 10 to 20% off at certain retail shops in Whistler BC
- free lift access in the summer for sightseeing
- $100 off at Whistler Heli Skiing
And those are just a few of the perks that are available.
Did You Find Your Whistler Season Pass "Magic Number"?
So what's your
for a seasons pass at Whistler Blackcomb? Not quite there yet? Well
don't give up! We're not...
"The Boys" heading down Blackcomb Mountain after
another awesome day of sun and snow.
Want to make sure you end up with the perfect Whistler lift tickets
this season? Take a ride on our Whistler
Lift Ticket Wizard