Free Skiing!

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
The Downhill Report, December 1996

Free Skiing!

And a slew of other ways to hang on to your cash
By Meg Lukens Noonan

The next time you hear someone gripe about the high cost of skiing, speak up. You could say, "Only a chump walks up to a ticket window and pays full price." Which is true. Or, if tact is an issue, try, "Yo, hayseed, may I alert you to the fact that with minimal know-how, you can save major ducats?" These days, the ski industry is making like a boiler room full of time-share salesmen: ready to deal. You just need to sort out who's offering what.

For instance, in Colorado, Crested Butte (800-754-3733) offers free skiing from November 27 to December 20 and again April 7 through 20. At Telluride (970-728-4424), you can choose free skiing, free lessons, free child care, or free lunch when you stay at a participating lodge from November 28 through December 20 or March 31 to April 13. For Vail/Beaver Creek (800-525-2257), buy a $15 Vail Valley Club card and get $5 off lift tickets and other perks. At Copper Mountain (800-458-8386), tickets cost $33 for adults and $12 for kids--a $4 savings--if purchased by phone before February 14.

In Utah, Park City (800-453-1360) offers free skiing from opening day through December 20 if you book at least four nights at any one of 18 lodges. Snowbird (801-742-2222) lets two kids 12 or younger ski free with a paying adult.

In Vermont, students who pay $25 for Okemo's College Card (800-786-5366) get free skiing on their first midweek visit, half-price midweek tickets after that, and $10 off on weekends and holidays. Regulars at Stratton (800-843-6867) who purchase the $39 Frequent Skier card can save $10 to $17 on lift tickets. Or earn points toward a free ticket when you ski at any American Skiing Company resort (207-824-3000), including Killington and Sugarbush in Vermont and Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine.

In California, join the Ski Club at Lake Tahoe's Heavenly Valley (916-541-1330) for $40 before December 22 and receive $9 off lift tickets all season. At Kirkwood (209-258-6000), the Avid Skier program offers a free day for every four paid. Farther south, spend $60 to join the Mammoth Club (888-462-6668) and get $10 off lift tickets and discounted lodging and dining.

Finally, in Oregon, Mount Bachelor's Inside Edge Card ($59; 800-829-2442) saves you up to 35 percent on lift tickets. And on January 31, anyone who donates food or clothing at the ticket window skis for an indisputably cool price: $0.

Filed To: Snow Sports

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