Prior to turning 65, New Hampshire skier Pete Cohen was asked by family members what he wanted for his milestone birthday. A lifetime skier, Cohen quipped, “Nothing extravagant. Just get me a midweek season’s ski pass to Cannon Mountain.”
Suppressing a smile, he knew quite well that seniors 65 and older ski for free any midweek day of the season at the Franconia resort. As New Hampshire’s only state-owned ski area, Cannon Mountain’s offer is written into state law. Seniors currently also have the option of paying a $39 processing fee to get a free midweek season pass printed so they don’t have to stop by the ticket window.
Cannon’s is not alone in offering free skiing for seniors, but the offerings vary wildly across North American ski resorts. Interestingly, there’s no clear trend or consensus among the major season passes, either. Vail Resorts’, for instance, has senior pricing on its Epic Passes, from the full pass all the way down to the regional passes. Alterra, on the other hand, leaves it to the individual resorts to dole out free or discounted skiing for seniors.
Cannon Mountain isn’t alone in its policies of rewarding seniors who helped build and sustain the ski industry over the last 50 years. According to the National Ski Areas Association, currently 90 of their U.S. member ski resorts offer free skiing for seniors, a number that can fluctuate intermittently due to various factors.
On the day of Pete Cohen’s 65th birthday his family presented him with a card that contained a homemade voucher. It read, “This entitles you to free midweek skiing at Cannon Mountain.” He grinned and replied, “It’s exactly what I wanted.”
This is not an exhaustive list, but here’s a cheat sheet on where seniors skiers can shred for free or super cheap next season.
North American Ski Resorts Where Seniors Ski Free
Cannon Mountain, N.H.
The state-owned ski area is mandated by state law to offer free skiing for seniors 65 and over. The catch is that you have to be a New Hampshire resident. Find the details here.
Monarch Mountain, Colo.
At Monarch, age 69 and up, or “super seniors,” can ski all season for $25, and tickets for skiers between 62 and 68 years old start at $69/day.
70 and up
Skiers 70 and older reap the benefits of nearly-free skiing with Gunstock’s $49 Golden Pass. “We love offering 70 and older skiers a discounted season pass because they are our most loyal skiers,” says Kristen Lodge, sales and marketing director. “We find that the 70 and older skiers come midweek and love to reminisce about when we were called the Belknap Mountain Recreation Area and had a single chair lift.” Other Ski New Hampshire Senior Deals are similarly enticing.
Seniors 70 and over can ski free at this community-minded mid-Atlantic ski area. “We want our skiers to be able to enjoy skiing for as long as possible and hopefully bring future generations skiing as well,” explains Rachel Wyckoff, Shawnee Mountain Ski Area’s marketing director. “It is our way of thanking them for keeping the sport alive and to offer an affordable way to continue as well.”
Mountain High, Calif.
Pay the $10 processing fee, and skiers who turned 70 by January 1, 2022 can snag a season pass valid every day of the week at this SoCal ski area. Redeem your pass here.
75 and up
Pajarito, Sipapu, and Spider Mountain
Mountain Capital Partners, the largest ski area collective in the southwest, offers free skiing for guests 75 and older. “Our philosophy is to give people the freedom to ski, and rewarding guests who are skiing and boarding over 75 is a pleasure and a joy for us,” says Christiana Hudson, marketing director at Pajarito, Sipapu and Spider Mountain. “In addition, we discount our 65-74 year-old range passes on par with many of our young adult passes.”
Swain Resort, N.Y.
The oldest independently run ski resort in New York State provides free lift tickets to seniors 75 and older along with $10 season passes (covers processing) should they want to skip the ticket window. The resort also offers discounted lift tickets at $29 to seniors 65 and older on Thursdays. Marketing director Suzy Male explains, “We try to offer a variety of discounts to targeted demographics, including seniors and college students. This offer helps them to take advantage of a hobby that they still enjoy and gives back to a generation that has given so much to our current society.”
Mt. Hood, Ore.
Seniors 75-plus ski free all season at Mt. Hood, while skiers between the ages of 65 and 74 get discounted tickets.
80 and up
Taos Ski Valley, N.M.
Seniors 65 to 80 years old enjoy discounted rates at Taos Ski Valley, N.M., while those over 80 ski free any day of the week. The resort also offers discounted day ticket rates for seniors 65 to 80, where they can purchase a Midweek Pass for skiing or riding Monday through Thursday with holiday blackouts.
Alta Ski Area, Utah
Skiers need to reach octogenarian status in order to ski for (close to) free at Alta. A blackout-free season pass costs $50, and includes parking as well as a UTA bus pass. You just need to have hit the big 8-0 by the day your pass is issued.
Mammoth Mountain, Calif.
Hit 80 years old and you’ve earned free skiing any day of the week throughout the season at Mammoth. Stop by the ticket window, show your ID, and off you go. Or pay a $25 processing fee for a pass so you can bypass the window.
90 and up
Senior skiers at the ’Bush really have to earn those free turns. Skiers who reach 90 years old can ski free, although there’s a discount for skiers between 80 and 89, as well as a $219 midweek option, the Sugarbush Boomer Pass, for folks over 65. “We have always felt that if you’re still skiing at the age of 90 you’ve absolutely earned the right to ski for free here indefinitely,” notes John Bleh, public relations and communications manager.
More Senior Skiing Coverage From SKI
The Number of Senior Skiers Is At An All-Time High, And We’re Here for It
Planning to Ski ‘Til You’re 100? Here’s Some Inspo.