Skiing your brains out has its rewards

Traveler's Almanac, 1999 Annual Travel Guide

Deals
Frequent Freebies
Skiing your brains out has its rewards
By Peter Oliver


Skiing is going corporate. In the past three years, large conglomerates have been swallowing up independent resorts at a dizzying pace. What's in it for you? Perhaps the best payoff comes in reward programs for frequent skiers. Ski a lot at a resort near you and earn free or dirt-cheap lift tickets (and other discounts) for your vacation. Here's how the programs stack up:

American Skiing Co.

Resorts: Attitash Bear Peak (NH), The Canyons (UT), Heavenly, Killington, Mount Snow (VT), Steamboat, Sugarbush, Sugarloaf/USA, Sunday River
Program: Get a free ticket with as few as five visits to ASC resorts.
Payoff: By definition, people who go on a Sierra Club trip are attuned to the outdoors. And on any given trip, half of them come alone.
The Catch: Roughly twice as many points are awarded for midweek ticket purchases as for weekend and holiday purchases.
Info: 800-668-7669; www.peaks.com

Booth Creek Ski Holdings, Inc.

Resorts: Bear Mtn. (CA), Cranmore (NH), Grand Targhee, Loon Mtn. (NH), Waterville Valley, The Summit at Snoqualmie (WA), Northstar-at-Tahoe, Sierra-at-Tahoe
Program: Earn freebies by purchasing lift tickets with the company's Vertical Value Card.
Payoff: Get a free ticket after the first five visits and subsequently after every three visits.
The Catch: There is a one-time enrollment fee of $9.95.
Info: www.boothcreek.com or any Booth Creek resort

Boyne USA Resorts

Resorts: Big Sky, Boyne Highlands (MI), Boyne Mtn. (MI), Brighton (UT), Crystal Mtn. (WA)
Program: Season-pass holders get free lift tickets or discounts at companion Boyne resorts.
Payoff: Get as many as 10 free tickets per pass.
The Catch: You have to be a pass holder at one of the Boyne USA resorts.
Info: www.boyne.com or any Boyne resort

Intrawest

Resorts: Copper Mtn., Mammoth Mtn., Mountain Creek (NJ), Panorama (BC), Snowshoe (WV), Stratton, Tremblant (QUE), Whistler/ Blackcomb, Mont Ste. Marie (QUE)
Program: Season-pass holders at any Intrawest resort earn generous ticket discounts at other Intrawest resorts.
Payoff: Fifty percent off lift tickets at all Intrawest resorts.
The Catch: You have to be a pass holder somewhere in the Intrawest world to cash in.
Info: www.intrawest.com or any Intrawest resort

Vail Resorts

Resorts: Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Vail
Program: Earn points in the Peaks program with lift-ticket purchases, private ski lessons, and rooms and meals at participating lodging and dining establishments.
Payoff: Sample payoffs: 10 lift tickets — or five lift tickets and five private lessons — earn a freebie.
The Catch: Only four resorts are in the program, all in Colorado. Also, nothing in Vail comes cheaply. Expect to spend $400 or more before earning a freebie.
Info: 303-504-5870; www.snow.com   

Copyright 1998, Outside magazine

Filed To: Snow Sports
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