Only weeks after announcing its takeover of North America's biggest and best-known ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, the American ski resort and hotel operator Vail Resorts has continued it purposeful expansion programme by including access to key European resorts in its popular Epic season ski pass.
Although up to now the Epic Pass has been most useful for dedicated US skiers and snowboarders, who have benefitted from its unlimited season-long access to US resorts, the big news for snow fans on this side of the pond is that this is the first season pass which includes access - albeit limited - to resorts in all four of the main skiing and snowboarding alpine countries in Europe.
Already the Epic Pass allows access to world-class ski and snowboard destinations in the US like Vail - which is the most popular resort in the States, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Heavenly as well as the US's biggest ski resort Park City.
Also included in the Epic Pass for the 2016-17 season, are Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, Northstar and Kirkwood at Lake Tahoe; Wilmot Mountain in Wisconsin, Afton Alps in Minnesota, Mt. Brighton in Michigan; and Perisher in Australia.
Starting next season (2017-18) the pass will also include British Columbia's Whistler Blackcomb across the border in Canada, which is North America's biggest and most popular resort.
This new deal adds limited inclusive access to Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d'Isere in France, Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta in Italy, 4 Vallees in Switzerland, and Arlberg in Austria to the pass starting from this season. Although it would take some planning to use it all, the inclusive access adds up to 17 days of skiing or snowboading in some of Europe's top resorts.
The Epic Pass is available at a price of US$829 (that's just £625) for adults, and can be bought on the Epic Pass website.
A children's pass (ages five to 12) costs US$429 (£322).
Epic Pass Europe Details
French ski resorts included in the Epic Pass
Area: Les 3 Vallees, Paradiski and Tignes-Val d'Isere
Access: 6 days of free skiing with 2 days of skiing at each resort area
Includes: Les 3 Vallees (Courchevel, La Tania, Meribel, Brides les Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Bellevelle, Val Thorens and Orelle), Paradiski (Les Arcs, Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne), and Tignes-Val d'Isere
Italian ski resorts included in the Epic Pass
Area: Skirama Dolomiti Adamello Brenta
Access: 3 days of free skiing
Includes: Madonna di Campiglio, Pinzolo, Folgarida-Marilleva, Peio, Ponte di Legno - Tonale, Andalo - Fai della Paganella, Monte Bondone and Folgarida - Lavarone
Notes: Epic Pass holders must email
Swiss ski resorts included in the Epic Pass
Area: 4 Vallees
Access: 5 consecutive days of free skiing
Includes: Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz and Thyon
Notes: To redeem lift access, 2016/2017 Epic Pass holders are required to present their valid Epic Pass hard card, as well as a valid photo ID, to the resort's Ticket Office. Offer valid when booking in-resort lodging
Austrian ski resorts included in the Epic Pass
Includes: Lech, Zurs, Stuben, St. Christoph and St. Anton
Notes: Offer valid when booking in-resort lodging (details and participating hotels can be found at epicpass.com). Epic Pass holders must book their lodging directly with the property and the property will deliver the passes to the guest upon confirmation of their Epic Pass