The Ride's More Fun
When You Pay Less
Photo Courtesy of
Powderhorn Mountain Resort
Why not save some dollars to channel into more ski days or more fun afterwards in town? Or maybe paying for a whole family at $100+ per lift ticket has you intimidated by the cost. Here are key cost saving ski tips to cut those costs…
1Buy a Season Pass – If you expect to ski more than seven days in a season, you’d be losing big if you don’t buy a ski pass. Most states have dozens of ski pass options, from individual resort season passes to those that allow multiple ski days at various resorts. The best value depends on where you want to ski and how often. And be aware of the timing as you often have to buy passes early in or before the season.
– – Colorado Multi-Mountain Passes – – Colorado Individual Resort Passes
2Buy Lift Tickets Online in Advance – The absolute worst thing a budget-conscious skier can do is buy lift tickets at the resort window. Most major resorts offer real discounts to anyone who buys online and (usually) a week in advance. Failing to take advantage is like throwing money away. Buy Here.
Buy Lift Tickets for Multiple Days Know the resorts you want to ski and do your homework on what multi-day discounts they offer. For instance, at Arapahoe Basin lift tickets can be under $60 if you purchase multiple days one week in advance. At Aspen/Snowmass, if you purchase at least two days of skiing in advance you save ten percent. You can find similar discounts at many of the other major resorts. Explore Here.
4Consider a Smaller Resort – They don’t get the press of the big resorts like Vail and Aspen, but some of the smaller resorts offer spectacular skiing at prices up to 50% less for lift tickets, equipment rentals, food and more. Smaller resorts also means smaller crowds. And the diversity of their terrain ranges from the advanced steeps to the family-friendly hills. Colorado’s Smaller Resorts.
5Fly in to a “Hub” Airport – A “hub” airport means that airlines use it as a transfer point for passengers connecting to almost anywhere. Denver is a “hub” airport, the fifth-busiest airport in the world. With lots of airlines stopping here, flights are cheap, especially from major cities. You can fly direct to Aspen for convenience, but you might pay twice the price.
6Find Where Kids Ski Free Longer – Most resorts won’t charge for kids on the lifts until they’re five or six years old. But some resorts do better. At Aspen and Snowmass for instance, they don’t charge for lift tickets until kids are seven. At Steamboat, they offer tweens (under the age of 13) a free pass with each parent who buys a pass for five days. See our Lift Tickets Table for resort ages for kids skiing free.
7Search for Special Deals – Special discounts and deals are offered at many resorts for the right types of skiers. For instance, if you’re a senior (age 70+), Loveland offers a full season of skiing for $89 – less than the cost of a two-day lift ticket. If you’re active military (with I.D.), Eldora and Ski Granby Ranch offer lift ticket discounts of 40-to-50%. Keystone promotes free kids’ lift tickets when you book at least two nights in the resort’s lodging. Steamboat has a kids’-ski-free deal for parents buying 5-day lift passes. And if you’re a local with a flexible schedule, last year Copper Mountain’s $99 “snow day” pass got you into the resort anytime a flurry dumped four or more inches of snow. With a season averaging roughly 30 such “snow days,” we’re hoping they continue that offer this and every year.
8Ski Low Season – Especially at major resorts, many boost their lift ticket prices during high-demand seasons around Christmas and New Year’s, President’s Day and spring break. If you’re concerned about cost, avoid these days like the plague. Not only are the mountains much more crowded then, if you’re staying overnight, the lodging is at peak prices too.
9Park Early – Even the resorts that charge $25 a day to park most likely have some free parking, and the early-birds get those spots. If money’s an issue, drive in the dark if needed and ask or follow the locals to find the best free parking. Along with the parking you’ll have the shortest “free” walk to the lifts and get in the first run of the day.
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