This season looks like it will be a good one for those of us who pine away the warmer months hoping for snow. Many of the ski areas are getting real snow in addition to the man made stuff and that makes for many happy riders. But while it increases the urge and opportunity to get out there, it does nothing to make the activity more affordable. We want to provide you with a variety of options to help you find discounted lift tickets so you can get out and play more.
Some of the options are
- Online outlets like Liftopia
- Facebook and e-mail lists
- Season passes
- Bus trips
- Frequent skier cards
- Ski & stay packages
- General strategies to keep costs down
Online discount lift tickets
There are online outlets that offer discounted lift tickets. Liftopia is probably the best known of these. Liftopia provides discounted tickets at a wide variety of resorts throughout the country and beyond, with offerings in Canada and Europe. Savings vary from resort to resort and from day to day, but deals can be found from 5% to 76% off and everything in between. You can find discounts on single day or multiday tickets, lift ticket and rental packages and some even include vouchers for lunch. It is an easy site to navigate and purchasing on it does not require any advanced degrees. Some resorts require you to have a printer to print the offer out, others allow you to just bring the e-mail on your phone. Getskitickets is another, similar website with some good deals, but with many fewer options than Liftopia.
Living Social and Groupon have also advertised lift ticket discounts and learn to ski and ride packages recently. They can be worth keeping track of since usually they are offered at half price.
Facebook and e-mail lists
If you have a favorite resort (or a few of them), giving them a “Like” on Facebook and signing up for their e-mail lists can result in some pretty great deals. A couple of deals I have seen have been, purchasing a block of tickets in advance for ½ the regular price, and food drive days when you bring a specified number of canned goods you can get a ticket in the neighborhood of $35. There are also other discounts offered to e-mail list subscribers like super cheap lessons and lodging deals.
If you have a favorite resort you might want to look at the cost of a season pass. Some of the season pass deals give you the best discounts on tickets. Most resorts have a variety of pass options and if your schedule is flexible, you can get some unbelievable deals. If you can ride midweek, or only on Sundays, or if you don’t care about being on the hill during the busiest holiday times…you could find yourself some great prices on passes. If you are a student most season passes are so much less expensive it makes me consider enrolling in school again. Many student passes also give you access to a variety of resorts, which brings me to my next point…passes that have deals with other resorts. In New England some of those multi-resort passes include the value pass good at Okemo, Stratton and Sunapee (and if you purchase it through Okemo you also get 3 free days at Crested Butte in CO.) A pass from Loon is also good at Sunday River and Sugarloaf and will get you discounts at other resorts owned by Boyne…including Big Sky, Montana. Attitash and Wildcat also share a pass. There are similar passes in CO that are good at a variety of mountains and snow.com offers deals for select CO and CA resorts. These can be the perfect way to mix it up for a one time investment. Another advantage of the season pass is direct lift access…no stopping at the ticket window and waiting in line.
If one day trips are more your speed, bus trips offer possibly the best deal going. Usually the cost of a bus trip is in the neighborhood of $80 (it depends on the destination and the date). That gets you the bus ride to and from the resort and a lift ticket. Many of the resorts that are frequented by bus trips cost more than that for a lift ticket alone. So if you don’t get car sick, check out local bus trips…all you have to do is show up for the bus…sleep the whole way there…ride your butt off all day…get back to the bus for the departure and sleep the whole way back. Let someone else do all the work and you can have all the fun.
Frequent skier cards
Frequent skier cards will give you a predetermined discount every time you ski at a particular resort and sometimes the discount increases with the number of times you visit the particular resort. Some even include a free day with the purchase of the card, which means that you risk nothing by getting it. If there is a specific place you like to visit, but are not interested in the commitment of a season’s pass, this can be a great way to snowboard cheap.
Ski and stay packages
Ski and stay packages can also offer great value. Many resorts offer these deals right on their property. This is the ultimate in convenience-ski in, ski out…all for one price. But if you are not set on staying right on the mountain, you can often find ski and stay packages at hotels and inns in the surrounding area for an even better deal. If there is a hotel in the area where you are thinking of riding, give them a call or check their website for any potential deals.
Some basic strategies for getting the best prices focus on going at off peak times. Midweek and non-holidays are usually the best value (and are more fun because there are no crowds!) Also early and late season trips will usually result in better prices…less terrain, but again usually fewer people and less expensive tickets.
The important thing is that you get out there! Hopefully some of these tips will help you find discounted lift tickets so you are able to get out and ride more this year. New England is a very pleasant shade of white right now and the outlook is good for a lot more of that this year. Make the 2012-2013 season the year you get to log more days!
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