The economy is in the toilet, we get it. Jobs are scarce, understood. These days we are all having to make tough decisions about where to spend our already limited discretionary dollars.
That said, Colorado has nearly a half million skiers and riders living in the state, and having world class skiing and riding in our back yards is one of the reasons many of us live here. That’s why this year, Colorado Ski Country resorts are working hard to come up with creative ways to make it easy to get some good skiing in this winter.
There are lots of options out there for getting on the slopes. Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) resorts are offering a diverse menu of lift ticket and pass options, including flexible payment and added perks, with the purchase of a pass. Many resorts are also holding the line on pricing to help skiers get on the hill.
But you’ve got to do your research to reap all the rewards. Pay attention to promotion dates and deadlines and you can score well with a pass that will do your budget good, do your schedule good, and do your skiing good.
Below are some of the pass products, lift ticket options, and ways to pay for them that skiers can expect for the coming season:
Flexible Payment and Discounts
Aspen/Snowmass is offering a payment plan for the first time ever for two new passes, the Flex Pass and the Escape Pass. The two passes have a reduced upfront cost and then a pay-as-you-go component for guests to add on skiing as they like. The Escape Pass is just $299 up front through December 18th, and offers direct-to-lift pay-as-you-go access to all four Aspen/Snowmass mountains for $49 per day.
The Flex Pass costs $874 if purchased by November 13th and offers one day of skiing or riding each week of the winter season (20 weeks) on all four of the Aspen/Snowmass mountains, plus the flexibility to add days any time for $49 per day.
Copper, Winter Park, and Steamboat are coming together to offer a new discounted pass this season, a $339 College Pass, which contains all of the benefits of the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus at a discounted price. Full-time college students are eligible to purchase the pass when they present a valid college ID and current schedule in person at participating Front Range Christy Sports locations. Of course, the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus is already a deal at its normal price of $449, offering unlimited skiing at Copper and Winter Park, plus six unrestricted days and unlimited free Friday afternoon skiing at Steamboat.
Pass deals sweep through other ski areas too, with Echo Mountain boasting the cheapest season pass in Ski Country for the 2009-10 season. Denver’s closest, cheapest, and freshest ski and snowboard area is offering an unlimited 2009-10 season pass for $169. The pass has no blackout days. Echo’s proximity to Denver means that, with a season pass, locals can hop up to the mountain after work for night skiing any day of the week.
Two other Colorado resorts are freezing prices on lift tickets for the coming season. Powderhorn Resort and Ski Cooper are helping their guests afford skiing in the 2009-10 season by holding the cost of lift tickets and season passes at last season’s levels. In addition, Powderhorn offers a Buy One, Get One Free deal through a partnership with Suncor. When guests purchase $10 of gas or more at any Phillips 66 station, they can receive buy one, get one free lift tickets.
To celebrate 70 years of continued operation, Wolf Creek is also holding its lift tickets and season pass prices at last season’s levels. Adding to the fun, the resort has scheduled 14 “Local Appreciation Days” when adult lift tickets will be on sale for $31 and child/senior lift tickets for $18. No ID required. In addition, college students and faculty can take advantage of $31.00 lift tickets on College Day at Wolf Creek when they present a current college ID.
Sunlight Mountain Resort joins Powderhorn, Ski Cooper, and Wolf Creek by also holding steady on its pass prices for this season. Besides the everyday affordable pass prices, there is a slew of savings to be found among Sunlight’s many pass options. Guests can take advantage of discounts until October 31st on most pass products, including $90 off of an unlimited season pass. Of note as well is Sunlight’s “Learn to Shine” Pass that gives pass holders three lessons and a five-day pass for as low as $250 until October 31.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort released an unprecedented selection of passes for this year, offering 10 passes specially tailored to different types of guests. These passes include special prices for weekday skiers, college students, grade-school students ages 13 through 12th grade, seniors, and families who buy adult and child passes together. On top of these, Purgatory also offers a Flex Pass, where skiers buy a pass for $109 and then get discounts on lift tickets all season long. The first day that Flex Pass holders use the pass is completely free.
Silverton Mountain is “all thrills, no frills”, with lift ticket and pass options to match that attitude. This year Silverton will be offering $49 unguided lift tickets for guests to experience the mountain’s all-natural advanced and expert terrain. For those guests wanting a guide to show them the untouched powder caches that abound at Silverton, the ski area has private and group guided skiing options available.
Steamboat is bringing back its popular Ski Free package this season. With the Ski Free lodging package, guests who book three nights of lodging through Steamboat Central Reservations receive free lift tickets with access to the legendary Champagne Powder(tm) snow, epic trees and the #1 Family Resort in North America. Ski Free package is valid November 25- December 18, 2009 and April 4- April 11, 2010.
Telluride’s pass sale lasts online through October 30th and at various ski shows through November 29th, with prices at 2008-09 levels for individual purchasers and the opportunity to sink prices to 2007 levels when four adults purchase their season passes together. This could mean season-long Telluride passes for $998 per person, a savings of nearly 50% from the normal season price. Telluride offers great deals for kids with season pass prices at $125 for six to 12-year olds, $175 for 13-18 year olds and $299 for college students. Six and 10-day passes can have adults skiing Telluride for as little as $49.50 a day and the $60 Telluride Card gives a card holder the first day of skiing for free and 25% off the adult window rate through the entire season.
Winter Park Only season passes are now on sale for $369 for adult passes and $129 for a Winter Park Four Pass, which is good for four lift tickets. Each day of skiing with a Winter Park Four Pass comes down to $32.25 per day.
Arapahoe Basin has loaded its season passes with more added benefits than ever before. For $349, the A-Basin Bonus Pass gives guests unlimited, unrestricted access to A-Basin for the entire 2009-10 season plus five bonus days that can be used at four other Colorado resorts (restrictions apply). The ski area also offers a child bonus pass with the same benefits as the adult pass, for $259 (prices subject to change). All A-Basin pass holders receive other season-long benefits including one discounted half-day lesson, 10% off on food and beverages (excluding the 6th Alley Bar), 10% off in Arapahoe Sports and Black Mountain Sports shops, one unguided day of skiing at Silverton Mountain, discounted A-Basin lift tickets for friends and family, and $10 off of performance tunes for the entire season.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s (CBMR) Mountain Cards also heap on added benefits this season, offering flexibility for those who come to Crested Butte as a regular hot spot for downhill exhilaration and small town relaxation. At $45, the CB Card gets guests 25 percent off adult single day lift tickets and includes one free day of skiing during the 2009-10 season, with no blackouts. CBMR’s popular X Card includes skiing or riding on any six days of the season for $275, with no blackouts. In addition, CBMR’s Child Season Pass, also without blackout days, is one of the best deals in the Ski Country for kids age seven to 12, at $109. All CBMR season pass holders receive 15 percent off lodging through Crested Butte Vacations.
Loveland Ski Area Season Passes and 4-paks offer skiers and snowboarders some of the most affordable options in Colorado too. The ski area has held the line on 4-pak pricing from last season, offering a bundle of four lift tickets for $119, or $29.75 per day. Discerning Loveland skiers will also find 4-paks on sale at Front Range ski shows, including the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Expo, for $109. Added benefits abound at Loveland too—now all Loveland season passes come with three free, unrestricted days at Monarch Mountain, plus discounts throughout the ski area on food, lessons, rentals, child care, and sport shop purchases and discounts with other Loveland partners like Tommyknocker Brewery and Beau Jo’s.
Monarch passes are now good for skiing at 10 other mountains, the most added mountains of any Colorado resort’s ski pass. In Colorado, Loveland, Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, Sunlight, and Powderhorn are offering Monarch season pass holders three free days of skiing this year. Silverton Mountain is providing one day of complementary skiing during their “Unguided Season.” This is on top of other free skiing days at resorts in three other states.
Be sure to learn more about Colorado Ski Country USA resorts at coloradoski.com.