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You may be dreaming of hitting the slopes. However, skiing or snowboarding is expensive, with ski lift tickets costing an average of $100 a day in the US. But as there are several hacks to getting free or cheap ski lift tickets, paying for a snow holiday doesn’t have to cost too much. Find out how to get seriously discounted ski lift tickets.
- Choosing to ski at unpopular times such as midweek can net you significant savings. Otherwise, go for non-holiday weekends, as holiday weekends have the highest lift costs. Night skiing (from 3 pm or 4 pm till around 9 pm) is less popular and, therefore, often cheaper.
- Spring passes are priced relatively low and offer unlimited use at some mountains. Depending on how far north you ski, spring passes can last pretty far into the year, and some even offer US citizens a chance to ski in Canada. You may even get free lift tickets for skiing soon before closing day.
- Buying ahead of time gets you better discounts – always buy your ski lift tickets online and print them as e-tickets to save money. Buying day-of-lift tickets at the mountain is highly expensive. Monitor prices at your preferred destination to establish the best-price window (at some centers, it’s a week out, while at others, it’s as little as three days).
- Early or late-season days are often substantially cheaper (at least 30 percent less) than peak season, as some lifts and runs aren’t open. However, you should buy in advance to take advantage of these deals.
- Buying through discount and coupon sites, either general ones such as Groupon or ones specifically targeting the skiing market such as Liftopia can net you substantial savings on ski lift tickets.
- Buying multiple days can result in a reduced price per day. It may even make sense to buy a season pass.
- If you are a senior, inquire whether there are special ticket prices available for the ski center in question. Senior passes are available for ages 65+, 68+, and 70+, and some resorts offer super-senior (75+) passes, too.
- If you are a veteran, inquire about military discounts. Depending on your service, these can be pretty generous.
- If you study or work at a university, you may get substantial savings on ski lift tickets for local resorts via student services or the outdoor activities desk. Students may also get discounts on season passes from the resorts.
- January is Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month, and many resorts offer generous savings to newbies during this month. If you are new to these sports, start learning in January to save money.
- Frequent skier programs offer window discounts, friend discounts, and even free visits. Take advantage if you have a buddy with such a program or a season pass providing discounts for buddies.
- Volunteering or working part-time at a ski center may offer the perk of discounted or free tickets. This option may be ideal if you live close to a good ski mountain and have the time.
- Certain airlines offer ski lift passes at resorts near to airports they service. Particularly notable in this regard is Alaska Airlines.
Where To Get Free Or Cheap Ski Lift Tickets
If you want to hit the slopes but find the cost of ski lift tickets prohibitive, don’t worry. We’ve found various sources for cheap or even free tickets.
Some of these ways of getting discounts on tickets may involve you skiing more to recoup your spending and make it work out economical. However, we know you won’t think that skiing more is a hardship. Other ways may require you to be flexible in where you ski or to search for deals, but we’re sure you’ll find it worthwhile.
Let’s look at where to get free or cheap ski lift tickets.
Liftopia is a discount site explicitly aimed at skiers. Buy your tickets in advance to score savings of 60 to 90 percent of daily prices. Not only does it offer deals on ski lift tickets, but you can also get discounts on lessons, rentals, and lodging.
Choose the region (Liftopia covers more than 250 mountains across North America and worldwide), the date, and the number of days you will be skiing. You will get detailed information on the ski center and the deal it is offering.
Remember that Liftopia doesn’t offer refunds, although resorts may offer vouchers if inclement weather forces closures. Take your time to search for deals, and book them when you see them, as good deals sell quickly.
The discount site, Groupon, is still going strong despite the pandemic, and you can get deals on just about anything. Search ski and snowboard for your region to find excellent savings on skiing holidays. Check the terms and conditions on these deals, as there may be blackout dates and other restrictions.
3. Mountain Sports Club
Mountain Sports Club offers a year’s membership that is good each season, providing coupons to save on various outdoor activities in mountain areas across North America. While many of their coupons are outside the purview of this post, this page offers personalized coupons to save on lift tickets at ski resorts.
Premium membership offers buy one, get one, or two-for-one deals on lift tickets at centers across North America throughout the year. They constantly add new and updated offers, and if you want to participate in mountain sports other than skiing, you will find this an attractive option.
Snow.com offers deals at 34 resorts and regional ski areas in super terrain, with luxury resorts or mountain lodges with outstanding service. You can save 15 percent with three days of skiing during a four-night stay.
5. Ski Free Deals
Ski Free Deals offers buy one, get one deals on lift tickets for purchasing gasoline at participating retailers in Wyoming or Colorado. Buy at least 10 gallons of gas in exchange for a voucher. Get the voucher signed and turn it in when buying tickets.
Be aware that you must buy tickets at the ski center’s ticket window, both people must arrive at the window, and certain restrictions may apply. However, as you will fill up with gas anyway, you may as well take advantage of this deal.
6. Get Ski Tickets
Get Ski Tickets shows you deals on lift tickets, season passes, and packages in the US and Canada. Even at expensive resorts such as Sun Valley in Idaho, you may be able to save around 20 percent on multi-day passes.
REI provides discounts for members of 15 to 54 percent on ski lift tickets for centers such as Big Bear, Solitude, and Killington if buying online. If you go to the store near the resort you’re skiing, you may find other deals. Deals cover various types of tickets, and some include ski rentals.
According to Tripadvisor reports, Costco outlets near a particular ski center often offer discounted lift tickets. Although these deals are not as common as they used to be, they would be worth checking.
9. Epic Pass
If you are going to ski a lot and want access to premier mountains, consider a multi-area pass. One of the best-known is the Epic Pass, which offers unlimited access to resorts across North America (including Vail, Whistler Blackcomb, and Breckenridge) and worldwide at substantial discounts for a given season.
10. Ikon Pass
The Ikon Pass offers a season pass to 50 ski destinations worldwide, with unlimited access to as many as 14 mountains (depending on which tier you purchase). If you travel for the winter and do a lot of skiing, this would be an excellent way to save.
11. Salt Lake Ski Super Pass
The Salt Lake Ski Super Pass offers discount lift tickets at Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. In addition to savings on lift tickets, you get free transportation to and from resorts and discounts on rentals. The pass is good for an entire season, with some restrictions.
12. New England Pass
The New England Pass provides unlimited cheap skiing at three premier New England resorts. Depending on the tier you select, there may be blackout dates. However, if you accept that, you can get substantial savings.
13. Mountain Collective Pass
The Mountain Collective pass gives two free days at each of 24 luxury resorts across North America and internationally. Once you have used your two free days, you get 50 percent off window rates for lift tickets. If you are going to ski multiple resorts on a road trip, this pass is worthwhile.
14. Colorado Gems Pass
The Colorado Gems Card gives you discounts at 11 smaller ski areas in Colorado, including Cooper and Echo Mountain. Get two 30 percent off ski lift tickets, or two buy one, get one, or mix-and-match one of each. Although the price of this card varies throughout the season, you will save considerably.
15. Powder Alliance
Powder Alliance gives you 51 free days to ski at 18 resorts in the western states, Alaska, Canada, and Japan: three days at each. If you are up for some traveling, this pass can net you substantial savings at some excellent resorts.
16. In Idaho
InIdaho.com, a hub for accommodation and activities in Idaho, gives deals on skiing in Sun Valley (usually quite expensive). You may get free ski tickets for kids with paid adult tickets or free or discounted adult tickets. However, restrictions such as blackout dates apply.
17. Alaska Airlines
You can ski for free with Alaska Airlines. Use their boarding passes to redeem excellent ski deals such as free lift tickets at resorts near airports they service, including Big White in British Columbia and Schweitzer in Idaho.
18. Learn To Ski And Snowboard
If you are a beginner to snow sports, you can get extremely cheap lift tickets, lessons, and rentals in January, national Learn to Ski or Snowboard Month. Visit their deals page for savings of 50 percent or more, but ensure you can make it to the mountain when it’s time for your lessons.
19. Kids Ski Free Programs
Look out for discounts or free ski lift tickets for kids if you have little ones. The Epic SchoolKids pass gives four free days at Vail Resorts’ centers in Colorado. But as these are highly popular, you will have to plan.
Many resorts offer free lifts and other benefits to kids, with parents paying for their own tickets, provided you stay for a certain length of time. Steamboat was the pioneer in this regard. Statewide programs in the northeast and some western states allow fifth graders to ski free and sometimes extend these offers to kids in other junior grades.
20. Ski Local Resorts
If you are looking for truly impressive savings on ski lift tickets, head to the smaller ski areas that are typically favorites with the locals instead of being popular tourist destinations. They often give more personalized attention and a family-friendly atmosphere (and family-friendly prices, too).
Although you won’t get fancy restaurants and lodging, you will get superb skiing and excellent discounts.
For example, head to Pico instead of Killington if you’re in Vermont. In Colorado, go to Copper Mountain instead of Vail. You can pay prices that are 25 to 50 percent lower than you would at the big-name resorts.
While some resorts are more expensive, the average price for a single-day adult ski lift ticket in the US during the peak season is around $100.
Multiple factors contribute to the price of lift tickets. Climate change is reducing the skiing season and water availability for snow. Rising electricity costs are also making it more expensive to make snow.
You can get cheap ski lift tickets by booking in advance through coupon sites, buying multi-area passes if you do a lot of skiing, or skiing at smaller resorts.