Each fall as the days grow shorter and the kids go back to school, we buy our ski passes. Yes, we buy one for each of us, but we also end up buying passes, as in more than one each. Why? Because as much as we’d love to profess our love to one mountain, we can’t. We are so not “locals.”
I would love to be a local. I would love to be one of those moms who drops the kids off at school, cleans the house, writes for an hour, pays the bills and still has time to ski all afternoon — precisely because the lifts are only 5 minutes from her house. I would also love to ski over a 100 days a year without it interfering with the rest of my life (you know… family, dog, laundry, food…).
The reality is that I am not a local — anywhere. During a good snow year, I can cross-country ski right out my back door (and during the rest of the year I’ve got endless hiking and biking trails from which to choose). But if I want to alpine ski, I’ve got to get in my car and drive.
On the flip side, once I’ve made the commitment to drive, I’m free to roam. I’m an omnimountainvore. I can follow the snow, find the best deals, meet up with friends and drag my family around the Rocky Mountain West. Last year, we skied at 15 resorts in Utah and Colorado. This year, who knows? Maybe we’ll only ski at five resorts, maybe 15 again. Maybe we’ll branch out and go north or west. Since it doesn’t make sense to buy one season pass at one resort, we don’t commit until we’ve seen the best fall deals.
We’re not locals. But we are citizens of Ski Country. Who am I to complain?
They’re out there. Here are some examples of what is for sale in Colorado. Similar deals abound at almost every resort in every state and province. Check the resort websites where you want to ski and check with your state’s skiing trade association, too.
5th/6th Grade Pass: This pass offered by Colorado Ski Country USA to Colorado residents is the best deal around. Just for signing up, 5th graders get a pass that provides them with three free days of skiing at 21 resorts for the entire ski season. 5th graders who haven’t skied or snowboarded before can also get a free lesson and a free equipment rental during the month of January. 6th graders have to pay $99 for their pass, but they get 4 days of free skiing at each resort. Applications for the 5th and 6th grade passes are available online in September and will be issued until they run out.
Similar programs exist in states such as Idaho, Utah, California, New York, Vermont, Michigan and Wisconsin. And if you live in a different state that has a similar program, please let me know!
School of Shred: This is the Vail Resort’s version of the 5th and 6th grade pass. Take a 5th or 6th grade report card to any Vail Resort ticket office or to a Vail Resorts sales event in the Denver metro area beginning September 2 and if your child is currently in 5th or 6th grade you’ll get a pass for 4 free days of skiing at each Vail Resort (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Arapahoe Basin). A first-timer lesson and rental is also included.
Colorado Gems Card: Deals aren’t just for kids. Once again, Colorado Ski Country USA is offering a $10 Gems Card with great deals at nine of Colorado’s smaller resorts: Arapahoe Basin, Echo Mountain, Eldora, Loveland, Monarch, Powderhorn, Ski Cooper, Sol Vista and Sunlight. A complete list of the discounts is found here.
Colorado Ski Country USA Gold Passes: Okay, so let’s just pretend that you’re not a local anywhere (like me) and you want to ski all over our fair state. You also plan to ski at least 100 days. For $3000 you can buy a Colorado Ski Country USA Gold Pass and pay only $30 per day. Not bad. In addition to lots of days of skiing anywhere in Colorado, passholders get direct-to-lift access at most resorts and there are no blackout dates. The pass is also fully transferable, although only one person can use it at a time.
Multi-Day Tickets: You know the deal. A four-pack of tickets here, a six-pack there. Buy multiple tickets before the season begins and save big. Obviously the best place to look is on your favorite resort website, but in the interest of efficiency Colorado Ski Country has grouped together links to season ticket and multi-day passes at 21 Colorado resorts. Just click here and start buying.
You may not be a local, but you can ski anywhere.
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