This headline shouldn't shock anyone. If anything, it should have been expected as online passes are pretty much EA's MO. Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning will have an online pass, we all know Mass Effect 3 will have an online pass, the Madden games require an online pass, so why wouldn't EA slap an online pass on SSX?
Even though EA hasn't come out and said, "Yes, SSX will have an online pass," the proof has come in a SSX video that Giant Bomb posted earlier last week. In this video, the online pass option can be seen in one of the game's menus:
Since EA hasn't made a formal announcement as of yet, we can only speculate what the online pass will unlock, but I think we can assume it will grant access to online multiplayer gameplay. In other words, it will grant players access to pretty much the only feature anyone who plays SSX cares about.