After three-straight “pineapple express” winters in a row, which brought wet and inconsistent conditions to our southern rocky mountains, I desperately needed a change of scenery and snow-pack. However, like most Southern Californian skiers and snowboarders, I knew my prospects were limited when looking for an annual pass for the 2014/2015 season.
Did I really want to shell out the cash for one resort’s season pass and pigeon hole my prospects for pristine conditions to a single mountain? Another option was to dig deeper into the savings account and buy an EPIC Pass with more flexibility, yet zero access to my favorite hometown mountain.
In a perfect world, I wanted to buy a pass that included multiple days at many of the best mountains in North America at a price that won’t completely destroy my bank account. Is that really too much to ask?
My dreams were answered in early February of 2014 when Mammoth sent out a newsletter about their partnership with Liftopia’s Mountain Collective. Initially I was in disbelief that a pass like this existed and had to read the fine print 5 times before realizing it was no gimmick.
$369 for 2 days at each of 6 of North America’s finest resort families, plus 50% off on any additional day thereafter? What a steal! I immediately bought my pass, thinking it wouldn’t last long. Much to my disbelief, they continued to sweeten the deal after I bought the pass, adding 2 days at a 7th resort combination in Banff, Canada, with an additional day at any mountain of my choice.
And just like that, a Mountain Collective road-trip was born. The following are a few reasons why the pass was right for me.
1. The Mountain Collective Pass allowed me to live out the road trip I’ve always dreamed about, while helping me cross several things off my bucket list.
Being a sucker for a good deal, I immediately started to think about how I could squeeze the most value out of this pass as possible and hit every one of the resorts in one season.
With a quick consultation from Google Maps, I traced a large oval around the Rocky Mountains, with a starting point in San Diego. To my amazement, all the Mountain Collective resorts were contained within this powder power alley. Next, I hastily outlined a list of goals for the trip, which included:
- 20+ days of riding in only 2 months
- Hit at least 10 different resorts (with only a couple not on the Mountain Collective Pass)
- Meet up with as many friends at different resorts along the way as possible
- Chase the snow to enjoy the best conditions at each location
- Do everything in one continuous loop of under 6,000 miles
- And finally, to not cut the trip short in any way, especially due to injury
2. The Mountain Collective Pass motivated me to become independent & mobile so I could spend more time doing the things I love.
Obviously, this mission would be more difficult if I had a typical 9-5 job, so I had to become fully independent and mobile. I had quit my job in finance at the end of 2013 so was already on my way to freedom. However, my consulting business was by no means to the point where I could sustain it successfully while on the road.
The Mountain Collective Pass gave me the much-needed shot in the arm to outsource and streamline my business so that I could be ready for some of life’s best adventures.
With these tangible goals in place, I spent the 1st part of 2014 getting my ass in gear. Long hours turned into results quite quickly though and I was untethered to an office by late July.
To celebrate, I decided to ride my bicycle across Europe visiting friends and family while getting my legs in shape for a long winter of boarding. Ultimately, that trip took 3 months and covered 2,000+ miles from Dublin to Stockholm (I kept an adventure blog of the trip on “velogrinds.com”). Returning in time for the holidays and sporting two freakishly oversized legs, I couldn’t wait to get started on my Mountain Collective Road-Trip.
3. I got a few days in at my home mountain… but that was only the beginning!
Over Thanksgiving dinner, my family decided the first stop of the trip would begin the day after Christmas at Snowbird and they would all join in seeing me off on the mountain. However, in early December, Mammoth was graced with the first big storm of the year and I couldn’t resist interjecting 3 days before the trip “officially” began.
Only a 6 and a half hour drive from downtown San Diego, Mammoth has long been my “hometown mountain” and is always a great place for a last minute, snow-chasing trip. With over 3,500 acres of skiable terrain, a ton of vertical, and many top-flight parks, I have never been bored at Mammoth even when the snow forecast leaves much to be desired.
I was ecstatic when it snowed over 16 inches during my brief 3-day trip, but knew this was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to how epic this winter was shaping up to be.
Over the next two months, I would enjoy 23 days of unbelievable conditions across the best mountain resorts North America has to offer. Further, the 5,700+ mile loop that I traversed covers some of the most breathtakingly beautiful vistas in North America, let alone the world. We are truly blessed to have such majesty at our fingertips and the views alone would be worth the trip.
Have you completed all destinations to the Mountain Collective Pass? What was your experience like?