Snowpass season ski pass launches

Snowpass.com today announced their initial ski resort listing for their new European season ski pass, with nearly 100 areas in nine different countries included.

The pass, which was launched last week, is offering a limited number of tickets at a discounted price of €395 (versus a ‘normal’ price of €895). The passes go on sale later this month with a number of resorts in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland still to be revealed. Negotiations, say the company behind the pass, are still ongoing with a number of ski areas before they are added.

Interesting new concept

The concept of a European ski pass – a version of the popular North American Ikon and Epic passes, if you like – is an interesting one.

However, it faces competition from local multi-resort season passes, such as the Tyrolean Regio Card or Freizeitkarte. which are squarely aimed at locals.

And the concept of jetting between countries with different entry requirements and languages for ski breaks over a season is slightly different to travelling between ski resorts in Colorado and Utah.

Initially underwhelming choice of resorts

Of course, given the competition and the price point, the choice of ski resorts included on the ticket is crucial.

And here the Snowpass falls down with its initial offering. It has a number of resorts that seasoned skiers might regard as interesting, rather than essential, such as Isola 2000 in France or Galtür and See in the Paznaun valley of the Austrian Tyrol.

But Tyrolean residents, for example, can access the Arlberg resorts, the much larger Paznaun valley area of Ischgl and many other bigger and more interesting local resorts at a cost which is not much more expensive than the initial ‘special offer’ from Snowpass.

The other Austrian resorts include Rauris in the Hohe Tauern area of Salzburg and the under-rated Tyrolean ski resort of Lofer.

Things are slightly more interesting over in France, with Isola 2000, Les Orres and Auron in the southern Alps while Pralognon-la-Vanoise is not far from the popular and more crowded Tarentaise resorts.

Switzerland’s biggest included ski resort is probably Hohsaas (near Saas-Grund and Saas-Fee) and, yes, that is probably the best-known of the Swiss selection.

Over in Italy, Aprica stands out as a ski name that foreigners would recognise. Otherwise there is quite a big selection of smaller ski resorts in the Friuli Venezia mountain region above Udine and Treviso (Piancavallo and Tarvisio are probably the best-known).

Outside the main ski countries, the most interesting area on offer is probably the Sierra Nevada above Granada in Spain, with its 21 lifts and 124 runs.

Germany is represented by Todtnauberg, one of the winter resorts in the southern part of the Black Forest, and a number of small regional areas. Five Polish resorts and one each from Slovenia and Portugal help round out the number of resorts and countries on offer from the ski pass.

More information at www.snowpass.com