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Vail Resorts honors legacy and the U.S. Armed Forces

Military Epic Pass and donations to the Wounded Warrior Project

The Peak 2 Peak gondola at Whistler is one of the benefits of the Military Epic Pass. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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In 1957, World War II veterans Pete Seibert, who served in the 10th Mountain Division, and Earl Eaton, an Army engineer, climbed to the top of Vail Mountain and decided to build a ski resort. Sixty-one years later, Vail Resorts includes 12 world-class mountain resorts and three urban ski areas. To honor this legacy, the company is offering Military Epic Passes for $129, which is almost 90 percent off the cost of a regular season pass. In addition, they will also donate $1 to the Wounded Warrior Project for every season pass sold during the 2018-2019 season. Based on last year's sales, this has the potential to raise more than $750,000 for the charity.

For military families stationed in this area, two resorts are included that are perfect for weekend ski trips. Whistler Blackcomb, located in Whistler, British Columbia, is one of the top ski resorts in North America and is about a five-hour drive. This is an upscale luxury resort with a vibrant village with tons of great restaurants, museums and hotels. Whistler is pricey during peak season even with your American discount (the exchange rate works out to an almost 30 percent discount). Opening weekend falls on American Thanksgiving and is one of the most economical times to visit, just don't expect any turkey dinners. Also watch for Black Friday deals. Early December weekends are also more reasonably priced. For non-skiers, a season's pass gives you access to the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, a ride between two mountains which is an attraction in itself. Two rides equal the cost of the pass.

A little bit closer is Stevens Pass Ski Resort, which is a two-and-a-half hour drive. This popular local place to ski was just acquired by Vail Resorts. The cute faux German Town of Leavenworth is about a 45-minute drive to the ski resort. It makes a good base for a ski weekend with the benefit of German food and beer for après ski. Opening is tentatively scheduled for the Thanksgiving holiday. Beginning Dec. 14, when peak season begins, you can ski until 10 p.m.

If you are willing to venture a little further, there are three resorts in Lake Tahoe, Heavenly, Northstar, and Kirkwood. Park City Mountain is the closest ski resort to an international airport. Fly into Salt Lake City and you can be on the slopes in 40 minutes. It is also the largest ski resort in the United States. New this year is a High Meadow Family Fun Zone, which is a dedicated learning area for beginners, families and children.

Winter Ski Season is rapidly approaching, and if you love to ski, the Military Epic Pass is the way to go. Priced at the cost of one day's skiing at most resorts, and with resorts not far away, you will definitely get your money's worth.

The Military Epic Pass is available to active-duty and retired military and their families. For more information, visit:

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