Indy Pass Adds Big White, Largest Ski Area in Austria for 2023-24 Season

67 views 4:29 pm 0 Comments October 10, 2023

At 2,650 skiable acres, Big White is now Indy’s third largest North American partner resort.

The Indy Pass has some notable new partners for the upcoming season—for those who can get their hands on such a pass.

First off, the multi-resort pass issuer, which offers two days of access to dozens of independent, chiefly-North-American ski resorts, is adding Big White, Canada to its roster. Up until now, this 2,650-acre British Columbia mountain was the largest ski resort in North America with no major multi-resort pass affiliation. With this addition, Indy will now have five North American mountains that are over 2,000 acres in size, with Big White joining Powder Mountain, Mount Hood Meadows, Castle Mountain, and 49 Degrees North*.

In addition, Indy has scored a major European mountain—its first on the continent. The pass issuer will be adding Ski Welt, the largest ski resort in Austria, for the 2023-24 season. This ski area dwarfs all of North America’s resorts, with a whopping 90 lifts and claimed 168 miles of ski trails.

All in all, Indy is adding 28 new full alpine partners (including upgrading four previously “allied” partners to full memberships), two new “allied” alpine partners, and 24 new cross-country resorts.

The Indy Pass has also made a few other changes for 2023-24. The pass will now have a physical card, whereas previously, Indy members would have to go to the ticket window at each mountain to redeem their days. In addition, blackout dates at certain mountains have been tweaked slightly, with some increasing the restrictiveness, and others loosening it.

*Castle Mountain and 49 Degrees North’s skiable acreage measurements have not been independently verified by PeakRankings.

Indy Pass 101

The Indy Ski Pass is a budget alternative to the better-known Epic and Ikon season pass products. Unlike its more expensive counterparts, Indy only offers two days at each full partner resort. However, the list of partners is lengthy, with at least 116 independent resorts across the East Coast, Midwest, Rockies, and West Coast, 12 in Japan, and now one in Europe. Indy also features a list of eleven “Allied” resorts; access to these mountains is not fully included on the pass, but is significantly discounted.

The base Indy Pass offers two days at each partner resort with some notable blackouts for $399, while the Indy+ Pass will offer the same product with no blackout dates for $499. This is a notable price hike from last season, when the base pass started at just $279 and the Indy+ cost $379, and two seasons ago, when the base pass started at just $199 and the Indy+ cost $299.

After closing sales in early spring, Indy has re-opening pass purchases—but with a catch. Indy products are not available to purchase immediately, and prospective buyers will need to join a waitlist for a chance to buy one. Indy says they will email permission codes to people on the waitlist as “space opens up.”

Ski Welt, Indy’s first European offering, boasts a whopping 90 lifts and 168 miles of runs.

Our Take

Big White

Not only was Big White the biggest North American ski resort with no pass affiliation prior to today*—it was also the highest-scoring mountain in our North American rankings that had historically passed over this type of partnership. But now that Indy has signed Big White, it becomes the best Indy Pass mountain we’ve reviewed so far, just edging out Powder Mountain in Utah. It’s worth noting that Whitefish, Montana is now our highest-ranking ski resort with no pass affiliation.

With Big White now on Indy, it makes the pass even more appealing for the Interior British Columbia region—the resort has a well-rounded footprint for all abilities, desirable ski-in/ski-out lodging, and family-friendly activities onsite. Combined with the seven other BC mountains on the Indy Pass—including four others that were added today—Indy can make for a solid road trip pass for this region.

Like several other larger mountains on the pass, Indy access to Big White comes with a huge catch—severely restrictive blackout dates on the base pass. All weekends and holidays during the core season are excluded from the base pass, although Indy+ purchasers will not have any blackouts. This could make it pretty difficult for Indy base holders to use their days at Big White.

*Whitefish, Montana claims a larger skiable footprint than Big White, but we only found 2,295 of Whitefish’s acres to be skiable.

Ski Welt, Austria

While we haven’t expanded into Europe yet, Indy’s coup of Ski Welt has the potential to broaden the appeal of this historically North American and Japan-centric pass. Whereas Indy’s typical offerings are small, regional hills, Ski Welt has true destination bonafides—and gives Indy a competitor to the European offerings on Epic, Ikon, and Mountain Collective.

However, since Ski Welt is so big, we doubt anyone will be able to cover the full resort in the two days included on the Indy Pass (and would be incredibly impressed if anyone were to achieve such a feat). We’re curious to see how many people use Indy to access Ski Welt next winter—especially since it’s unclear how many folks will even be selected off the waitlist to buy an Indy product.

Indy Pass in General

Indy continues to lead in terms of available partners on their passes. However, the blackout dates on the base pass continue to be severely restrictive, making it really difficult to access the most desirable mountains on the pass. In addition, with Indy’s pass rate now going for $399 for the base product and $499 for Indy+, the cost is creeping close to Mountain Collective territory, which, for just $150 more than the Indy+ Pass, offers two days of access to a much more destination-focused roster of mountains than Indy does.

It’s also unclear just how many people will even be able to buy this revamped Indy Pass in the first place. The pass isn’t publicly available, and it’s unclear how long prospective purchasers will need to remain on the waitlist before getting the all-clear for the purchase. Ultimately, we’ll just have to wait and see.

For more information on the Indy Pass, check out our breakdown of Indy vs. Epic, Ikon, and Mountain Collective in video form below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *