Last ski season, Vail Resorts was the first to introduce such a pass, offering its Epic Pass that gave buyers unlimited access to 11 Vail-owned resorts around the country, including the Canyons Resort in Park City, as well as limited access to three international resorts.
"It's a great pass," said Caitlin Martz, Communications Specialist for the Canyons. "There's a lot of added value there for our guests."
Several other Utah resorts then began offering similar upgrades to their season passes. Park City Mountain Resort and Deer Valley Resort teamed up with Alta Ski Area and Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort to provide the Wasatch Benefit, which gave season pass holders of each resort three days of access to each of the other resorts.
"If someone is investing in a season pass for our resort, that's a great thing," said Colleen Reardon, Director of Marketing for Deer Valley. "It's nice to be able to provide them with some added value for them to check out these other resorts."
Statewide, there are several other resort partnerships, as well. Susie English, Director of Communications for Ski Utah, said Vail's Epic pass caught the attention of resorts throughout the state, who did not want to lose customers.
"I definitely think the Epic Pass influenced the trend to come to Utah," English said. "With the Epic Pass price being so low, I think there was some (concern) for sure with the response from the other resorts."
Martz declined to speculate whether the influx of resort partnerships throughout the state was in reaction to the Epic Pass, but she did acknowledge that creating the added value of access to additional ski areas is becoming a priority for many resorts, who are attempting to make their passes stand out.
"I think there are a lot of pass options out there in the market," Martz said. "Resorts are doing their best to provide more value for their customers and make sure their passes offer that."
The Epic Pass received strong positive reaction from customers, who were excited to get access to other resorts in addition to the Canyons, Martz said. Vail is offering the pass again this season, at $729 for an adult standard pass.
"We're in a very great position in Utah," Martz said. "We have Colorado to the east and Nevada to the west, both of which are a pretty good distance for road trips. People can take trips to resorts they wouldn't otherwise visit."
Reardon said Deer Valley also saw success with the Wasatch Benefit partnership last season.
"Added value for our customers is a good thing," she said.
Deer Valley plans to team up with other resorts again this year, Reardon said. Details will be available in late September, once the member resorts have been finalized.
When asked if PCMR's highly publicized legal dispute with Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, which threatens to keep PCMR from opening this season, was the reason the member resorts for the partnership haven't been finalized, Reardon said it was a factor, but added that all the resorts "need time to evaluate."
Representatives from PCMR did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Regardless of which local resorts will take part in the Wasatch Benefit partnership, English said it's clear such pass combinations are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
"I think the resorts felt like the passes were really successful," English said. "It's hard to go back when you've given your customers those added benefits."