Some of the Best Deals in Skiing You Might Not Know About
Just when you thought you knew about all the ways to save, we've uncovered a handful of sneaky savings to add to your bag of tricks.
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It’s no secret that skiing isn’t a pastime for the cheap or frugal. Between the equipment, lift tickets, lodging, lessons, and off-slope activities, getting hooked on this sport is a major investment. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t deals to be had, especially if you’re new to sport or getting a family onto the slopes.
Also Read: 9 Resorts Where Beginners Can Ditch the Base Area and Enjoy Mountain Views
We’ve been at this long enough to have uncovered a few tricks to save a bit of cash here and there. From free and discounted lift tickets to hot deals on lessons, here are some surprising ways to keep costs down.
5 Ways to Save on the Slopes
Passes Good for This Season and Next
Typically, when pass sales end in December, you’re out of luck if you didn’t buy one. But there are some ski areas that not only keep their passes on sale later into the season, but add in next season, too. Monarch’s Wings Pass is one of them. Monarch is one of those throwback mom-and-pop type ski areas with a friendly vibe and far fewer crowds thanks to its off-the-path location in the central Rockies. Their $659 season pass is good at the Colorado ski area for the rest of the current season as well as next ski season, and it also includes three free days at a long list of partner resorts, including Loveland, Copper, and Arapahoe Basin.
Resorts That Throw in a Season Pass With Lessons
With ski school costing what it does these days, these deals are next level. Take Loveland’s 3-Class Pass: You get three full-day group lessons and a season pass for $607 for adults and $567 for kids. (For comparison’s sake, one group lesson at one of the big resorts down the interstate runs about $250, and doesn’t even include a lift ticket.) What’s more, rentals and lunch are also included. Another good one is Snowbasin’s Learn & Earn series, which takes a long-range approach. The three-year program includes three full-day lessons in years one and two, and a one full-day private lesson in year three, plus a season pass each year, starting at $799. In Idaho, Bogus Basin’s Passport Package might be the best deal of all. For $399, beginner skiers get four lessons, rentals, and a season pass. Enroll in a spring session, and your season pass is good for the 2023-’24 season, too.
State-Based Ski Passport Programs for Kids
If you have kids, signing them up for the passport programs wherever you ski the most is a no-brainer. Depending on the program, you don’t always have to be a resident of that particular state. There are too many to run through here, but most are pretty similar, offering a few days at each ski area in the state for kids in certain grades. For example, Colorado Ski Country’s passport program is for 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders, and gets them four days at 20 different ski areas for a $59 processing fee. You don’t need to live in Colorado to get one. Vermont’s passport is for 5th graders only, and offers three free days at 19 resorts for $20. Registration for these typically opens in October or November for the upcoming ski season.
Airline and Airport Ski-Free or Cheap Promotions
Various airlines have rolled out lift ticket promotions over the years, but most have since gone away. However, Alaska Air still offers its Fly Alaska, Ski Free program, where the airline throws in a free day of skiing at one of its eight partner resorts—including Steamboat, RED Mountain, Schweitzer, and Marmot Basin—when you fly one of its ski town routes. Another flight-related way to score a discounted lift ticket is with the Reno-Tahoe airport’s partnership with Mt. Rose. Present your same-day boarding pass from an arrival into or departure out of Reno-Tahoe at the ticket window and ski for $69.
Resorts That Offer Free Skiing For Older Kids
At most resorts, kids can ski free up to 4, 5, or 6 years old, but need to buy a season pass or lift ticket after that. But with a Power Kids Pass, groms can ski free up to 12—and parents don’t even need to buy an adult pass to take advantage of it. The Power Pass is good at nine ski areas, including Purgatory and Arizona Snowbowl. Epic Schoolkids is a Vail Resorts program for children in kindergarten through 5th grade that gets them four free days at each Vail-owned resort in their respective region. There are Epic Schoolkids programs in Colorado, Utah, and B.C. Registration opens in the fall and does sell out quickly, so keep your eyes peeled.