IT'S COMING..... GETTING READY FOR THE SNOW SEASON
So we've like just been sitting around hating erythang, getting fat, and punching ourselves in the face all summer. It's pretty cool - pretty cool time.
In three months hopefully the gods will open up the skies and dump that white white all over da place. It's hard to start planning when it's like 12,000 degrees, but you might need some time to sell all your neighbors stuff and do whatever degrading thing you have to do to save some loot. Also, passes and deals tend to be way less expensive this time of the year. So here are some ways to help you get after it next season:
The season pass
If you know that a resort is your joint - like it's the closest hill - or your favorite terrain and you know you can get at least 15 days at that place, you should get a season pass. Most passes are around $1,200, but with lift tickets $90 and above - a season pass will pay for itself before you know it. There are usually a couple of types of season passes: the one with all the bells and whistles (big money/ no blackout days/ any age), midweek pass (considerably cheaper with no weekends or holidays), college pass (usually super cheap - usually have to be a full time student), senior passes (basically no money/ lucky old people), and a kid's season pass (this pass is like a quarter of the price of an adult pass). Some resorts have young adult passes (cheaper/ under 30), family passes (entire family season packages), lift only (cheaper/ if there's a tram), military passes (cheaper with tickets for fam. too) & an early/late (good before Christmas and then mid March till closing). Most hills have a spring pass for a couple of hundred dollars starting mid-March till the end of season and most resorts also have a 20 or so day pass to be used on non-blackout days. This would be the best if you know you can't get on the hill much or are traveling until March - then you could get a 20 day pass and then buy the spring pass. Boom.
If you know you're only going to ride/ski one area - sometimes resorts in the same area have duel/triple passes. Here are some examples:
These guys aren't all close to each other, might be more of a multiple resort pass (see below). Unlimited days at four resorts on this pass. All Cali babies - Mammoth, June, Snow Summit, and Big Bear. There are three different Cali4onia passes. The premium pass is $949. It comes wif seven friendo tickets, early ups, resort discounts, and half off tickets at Mountain Collective resorts. Mammoth is usually open till end of May, so if you're an LA head this is a no brainer.
Ski Big 3 (AB)
The Adult Big3 Season Pass is $1,604. If lift tickets were $80 a pop, you would only have to go 20 times before you were skiing/riding for free. This pass gives you unlimited days at Lake Louise, Mt. Norquay, and Sunshine Village. There is night skiing at Mt. Norquay in January and February, there are free shuttles from mountain to mountain, and half off lift tickets to all Mountain Collective resorts - a sweet way to ride Alberta.
Ski 3 Pass (NY)
The Olympics are your jam, you live in NY, and you plan to hit the slopes more than nine times - this is your pass. The Adult Ski Three Season Pass is $799 until 8/12/16. Then the price goes up to $929. This pass gives you unlimited days at Whiteface (host of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games), Gore, and Belleayre. Get it before Friday!
The multiple resort pass
This is a sweet option that enables the pass holder to visit multiple resorts. More and more resorts have been doing this in the past couple of years. It's fun to tour around, and it helps with the chasing of the snow. Here are the one's we know about:
This pass is probably the most well known. There are 13 different types of Epic Passes, so we're just going to talk about the big boy one. Right now it's $809 until 9/5/16. Unlimited days at: A-basin (CO), Afton Alps (MN), Beaver Creek (CO), Breckenridge (CO), Heavenly (CA), Keystone (CO), Kirkwood (CA), Mt. Brighton (MI), Northstar (CA), Park City (UT), Perisher (Australia), Wilmont (WI), & Vail (CO). This is a popular pass if you live in the Denver or Tahoe area. Check out all the different Epic Passes if you are visiting these areas for a week or more - sometimes it's less expensive to buy an Epic Pass than going with a resort deal. Vail Resorts usually stops selling this pass around Thanksgiving - gobble gobble.
Five days at 26 resorts - that's 130 days if you can get it. Woof. Roll call: Alyeska (AK), Big Sky (MT), Blue Mountain (Ontario), Boreal Mountain (CA), Boyne Highland (MI), Boyne Mountain (MI), Brighton (UT), Buck Hill (MN), Copper Mountain (CO), Crystal Mountain (WA), Cypress Mountain (B.C.), Killington (VT), Lee Canyon Resort (NV), Loon Mountain (NH), Mont Tremblant (Quebec), Mt. Bachelor (OR), Pico Mountain (VT), Snowshoe (WV), Solitude (UT), Steamboat (CO), Stratton (VT), Sugarloaf (ME), Summit at Snoqualmie (WA), Sunday River (ME), Wachusett (MA), Winter Park (CO). The pass is $649 for adults. If something horrible happened, and you could only go 10 times - you would still just pay $65 per ticket. You could also buy this pass, quit your job, and go on tour.
This collective has 17 resorts - Aspen (CO), Banff/Lake Louise/Sunshine (AB), Jackson (WY), Mammoth (CA), Queenstown/Coronet Peak/The Remarkables (NZ), Snowbird (UT), Squaw/Alpine (CA), Stowe (VT), Sun Valley (ID), Taos (NM), Thredbo (AU), Whister/Blackomb (BC). The pass comes with two lift tickets from each of the 12 resort/groups. After you use the two tickets it's half off at those resorts/groups. The preseason pass is already sold out - it was $375. They will release another pass soon that should be a little under $450. The giant got this pass last year and it worked out, even though he only used it at Sun Valley and Stowe. He got two free days at Sun Valley, and then paid 1/2 off for the next four days - later he got two free days at Stowe. If he was paying full price for those lift tickets it would have been around $960 for eight days - instead he paid $615 for the eight days and pass ($77 per day). If you have a fancy (the most expensive) season pass from any of the Mountain Collective resorts you get half off lift tickets at the other Collective resorts without buying a Mountain Collective.
All east coast goodness with this pass. There are five different kinds of Peak Passes - we will tell you about the money pass. The Explorer Peak Pass gives you unlimited days at Attitash (NH), Big Boulder (PA), Crotched (NH), Hunter (NY), Jack Frost (PA), Mount Snow (VT), and Wildcat (NH). This is a great pass for those of you that live in the city - Big Boulder/Jack Frost and Hunter are close to NYC, and on your way to your NH destinations you can stop at Mount Snow. Perfecto. The Explorer Pass is $799 until October 18th 2016 and super worth it - after eight days you're riding/skiing for free.
This one isn't really a pass, it's a perk if you have a season pass from one of the resorts in the alliance. If you have a season pass from Angel Fire (NM), Arizona Bowl (AZ), Bridger (MT), China Peak (CA), Crested Butte (CO), Kiroro (Japan), Mountain High (CA), Ski Bowl Mt. Hood (OR), Schweitzer (ID), Sierra-At-Tahoe (CA), Silver Star (BC), Snow Basin (UT), Steven's Pass (WA), Timberline (OR), or Whitewater (BC) you automatically get three days at all the other resorts listed. You just show up at one of these resorts with your season pass and they give you lift tickets. So RAD.
If you live in CO and want to be different. You also know you're going to shred in Japan and New Zealand - lucky. This pass is for you. You get AK lift tickets too. There are eight different versions of this pass. The deluxe pass is $589. Unlimited days at Copper (CO), Eldora (CO), & Winter Park (CO). Seven days at Alts Bandai (Japan), Cardrona Alpine (NZ), Mt. Ruapehu (NZ), Nekoma (Japan), & Tomammu (Japan). Six days at Steamboat (CO). Three days at Alyeska (AK) and Crested Butte (CO). Tons of perks come with this pass - 20 friends and family discount tickets, discount lessons, discount lodging, and discount gear.
Squaw rules your world - we get it. The Gold Pass is $849. This gives you unlimited days at Squaw, unlimited days at Alpine, four days at Sierra, four days at Sugar Bowl, and half off tickets at all the Mountain Collective resorts. There are three other Tahoe Super Passes - they just slim them down a little to make them less expensive. If you go for the gold it's only nine days until it pays for itself.
Discount sites save lives. They usually have apps so you can look up a resort, look at a calendar, and get the least expensive tickets. We love these:
Liftopia - we love Liftopia. You can almost always get discounted lift tickets on this site (if the resort participates). The tickets need to be purchased 24 hours in advance. They have $29 days randomly (so cool/great reason to call out of work), they have contests, and they give out Liftopia credits. Get their app.
Ski Coupons - we have won lift tickets from here multiple times! They have contests all the time and discounts on their site too.
Mountain Sports Club - it's around $25 to join this club and they have discounted lift tickets from the east and west.
If all of these passes are too much loot and I'm making you depressed - don't steal your friend's pass, lock them in a closet, and change your face to look like theirs. There are more options:
Many resorts sell discounted four packs before the season starts (like Sugarbush). Just join the resort's newsletter and they'll let you know.
Other mountains (like Whistler) have incredible deals if you book early. You can usually find stay/ski packages for $120 a night and lift ticket.
In some places Costco has discounted lift tickets.
Check your local shop - resorts have local shop days with discounted lift tickets.
This obviously can't be dealt with in one tiny paragraph, but take an avalanche course and go with those who know.
Hope this helps you on your way for a sickening season. Let us know in the comments if you have additional tips, deals, or ways around the monies. We will be in touch, as usual, with all the deals we find. Happy dreams of shredding.