Lookout Pass has popular Learn to Ski & Ride and Bring a Friend programs that run all season long. (Bob Legasa Freeride Media) There’s never been a better time to find ski/snowboarding discounts, freebies, and deals. The expense of equipment, clothing, and ski tickets can seem intimidating if not prohibitive. But online searches and the following tips illustrate that the cost of Alpine snowsports is really a story of “where there is a will, there is definitely a way.”
Equipment and Learning
“Some of the most affordable ways to outfit children and adults with ski and snowboard gear is to look for equipment at local ski and snowboard swaps. Most resorts will post their community’s ski and snowboard swap on their Facebook pages,” notes Chloe Elliott of Ski Vermont.
“Another option would be to look into affordable beginner packages such as Ski Vermont’s Take 3 Package, where $129 gets purchasers three days on the mountain with full gear, lift tickets and lessons,” Elliott told SnoCountry.com.
January Learn-to-Ski or Snowboard Month brings low-cost lift ticket, lesson, and equipment packages that are huge deals for first-timers.
The Bring-a-Friend campaign sports a free lift ticket for anyone bringing a beginner to a ski area for a learn-to package .
At New Hampshire’s Ragged Mountain, the Bebe Wood program offers free beginner lessons to ages 7 and up and a $69 season pass after the third lesson.
The Sugarbush First-Timer to Life Timer program rewards the learner with a free season pass upon completion.
Elan, Rossignol, and Burton are innovative learn-to- partners at participating areas with free equipment given to those completing three- or four-day programs.
Lucky Kids Passports
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Idaho, Colorado, Michigan, Washington, and Utah offer a Winter Passport program for kids. The Passports include one, two, or three days of free lift tickets at each of a state’s alpine and/or cross-country ski areas and often come with coupons for discounts.
“The Passport program offers a great way for families to enjoy healthy outdoor fun together. Parents can share their stoke of skiing or snowboarding with their children, while helping to develop an interest and appreciation for outdoor recreation, in one of the prettiest states in the country – Idaho”, notes Matt Sawyer of Lookout Pass.
SnoCountry.com has a full list of passport programs.
To learn one doesn’t need the biggest mountain, just a nice beginner slope and a few hours of instruction, whether from a knowledgeable and patient friend or parent or a professional ski instructor.
Local and smaller areas mean less travel time and expense and there’s the excitement of the big trip once one accomplishes the rudiments and saves up for an extra special experience.
Generally, slopeside is more expensive so staying a short drive or shuttle ride from an area can save money.
A weekend or multi-day package with lodging and lift tickets included is often discounted.
Skiing midweek usually brings lower rates and fewer crowds, too, so a non-holiday vacation makes sense and cents where possible.
Joining a group like the New Jersey Ski & Snowboard Council or the 70-Plus Club can bring down costs through group rates. Check out military and college discounts or being a rep for the College 4.0 Pass.
Many areas offer free skiing to those over 70 or 80.
Jobs at ski areas like ski instructor or ambassador also offer a way to ski free for part-time resort work.