Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock it will have been hard to miss the ski and snowboard industry buzzing about Vail Resorts recent purchase of Whistler Blackcomb for a whopping $1.4 billion.

Vail Resorts’ chief marketing officer, Kirsten Lynch, said “With more than 200 trails, 8,100 acres of terrain and 16 alpine bowls, Whistler Blackcomb offers Epic Pass and Epic Local Pass holders even greater choices in skiing and riding this winter with the best of North America”. But what does that really mean?

Here are answers to the top 5 questions our guests have asked about the merger of the Whistler Blackcomb season pass and the Epic Pass:

1. What is the Epic Pass™?

In a nutshell the Epic Pass is unlimited and unrestricted access to all Vail Resorts worldwide, and for the this year’s 2016.17 winter season this will also include 5 free days at Whistler Blackcomb.

Snow.com, the Epic Pass website, says that the 2016.17 Epic Pass (priced at US$849) pays for itself in just over four days of skiing or snowboarding.

Unlimited access to Whistler Blackcomb (as well as all other Vail Resorts) will be available to Epic Pass holders for the 2017.18 season.

2. When will Whistler Blackcomb officially be part of the Epic Pass?

Vail Resorts’ acquisition of Whistler Blackcomb was announced as complete on October 17, 2016, and Whistler Blackcomb is now officially part of the Epic Pass line-up.

This move to include Whistler in the Epic Pass means that for the 2016.17 winter season Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited season pass holders can also get 5 free days to be used across all Vail’s US resorts.

3. Can Epic Pass holders ski for free at Whistler in the 2016.17 season?

They sure can! Vail Resorts aren’t holding out on us for the 2016.17 winter season:

  • Epic Pass holders can enjoy 5 free days at Whistler Blackcomb
  • Whistler Blackcomb Unlimited season pass holders (and Sea To Sky pass holders) can enjoy 5 free days at any of the US Vail resorts named below.

A small number of restrictions apply to when the 5 free days can be used. See the list here at Snow.com/EpicPass

4. How many resorts are included in the Epic Pass?

One Epic Pass gets you access to 5 days at Whistler Blackcomb (unlimited access for 2017.18 season), and unlimited and unrestricted skiing and riding at over 35 resorts across the US, Europe, and Australia.

The Epic Pass list includes: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, and Arapahoe Basin in the US. Plus 30 European resorts across Austria, France, Italy, and Switzerland, and Perisher in Australia.

5. I want to ski mostly at Whistler, should I get an Epic Pass?

2016.17 will be the last year of the Whistler Blackcomb season’s pass – next year (2017.18) it will be absorbed into the Epic Pass. So, if you want to ski mostly at Whistler in winter 2016.17 you should by a Whistler Blackcomb season’s pass which will also get you 5 free days to use across Vail’s other resorts.

If you want to ski mostly in the US, Europe, or Australia in winter 2016.17, you should by an Epic Pass which will also get you 5 free days to use at Whistler Blackcomb.

In 2017.18 you will only need one pass, the Epic Pass, to ski or ride unlimited days at any Vail resort.

Now all there is left to do is shred. Anywhere you like!